Guidelines for Engagement and Virtual Attendance

Guidelines for Engagement and Virtual Attendance

Engagement Strategies

It’s important to keep students engaged when they are learning at home. Engagement fosters a love of learning and deepens students’ understanding of the concepts. A successful at-home learning environment shifts the roles for students and teachers. Teachers must set expectations, facilitate student work with regular feedback, and monitor progress regularly. Students will take on more ownership of their learning. To shift into these roles effectively, continue holding high expectations, but be flexible where you can.

To encourage students remotely, consider these suggestions:

  • Teachers and students dually track, monitor, and celebrate student goals. Utilize the Classworks Student Success Notebook to set goals and a plan of action to achieve those goals.

  • Shout out students and celebrations to the whole class within your Learning Management System. Photos and images can be uploaded and shared easily. Consider sharing badges, trophies, and characters earned by students. This will build camaraderie as well as friendly competition.

  • Create a reward system to encourage remote attendance and participation. The more they attend, engage, and earn academic achievements, the more the students earn flexibility.

  • Set up fun, virtual class-wide incentives via Zoom or other video conferencing options that encourage all members of the class to participate. Try this:

    • Share your screen for indoor recess using a program like GoNoodle.

    • Find a how-to drawing activity and have everyone in the class draw along with you or a video.

    • Offer group free time and use Zoom breakout rooms so students get an opportunity to have social time with one another.

Asynchronous Engagement Expectations

Remind students of engagement expectations on a consistent basis. Then, hold students accountable to the expectations you have set for areas such as completing student work, student logins, and attendance logs. Encourage students to strive for a high level of academic performance to receive flexibility from attending live class sessions and asynchronous participation. Modeling clear expectations, daily schedules, and goal setting will help students gain more independence and ownership of their learning.

To remain in good standing, students should meet or exceed expectations in the following four areas:

  • Log in daily

  • Remain on pace with coursework

  • Take all assessments/tests/exams within the stipulated time period

  • Maintaining high mastery

Instructional Time

  • Instructional time can include live virtual class requirements, conferences, assignments, and assessments between set school hours predetermined by the school.

  • A student’s grade level, courses, specific programs, provided services, and their proficiency level may determine the amount of online time required and the structure of that time.

  • Suggested number of hours recommended per school day are as follows:

    • Kindergarten 4.5 hours per day

    • 1st through 3rd grade 4.5 hours per day

    • 4th through 5th grade 5.0 hours per day

    • 6th through 12th grade 5.5 hours per day

    • Time may also include: testing, counseling, health screenings, and extended learning time activities

    • School-sponsored non-instructional activities may count toward attendance hours

  • Consider continuing attendance procedures that follow district daily guidelines. Failure to follow attendance logging procedures may result in withdrawal.

Live Interactive Class Sessions (Synchronous)

  • Synchronous learning is important because it provides students the full benefits of their teacher.

  • Synchronous interaction provides immediate instructor and student feedback, supports SEL with fostering belonging and a sense of community with all learners, and offers a forum for student collaboration.

  • By incorporating live and interactive learning opportunities in the online environment, teachers are leveraging synchronous learning to enhance learning and promote engagement.

  • Synchronous sessions are personalized for the individual learner’s needs. It is important to allow the teacher flexibility to determine what should be covered, what students should be targeted, and when the sessions should be held to reach these students.

Live Interactive Class Sessions: Engagement

  • Provides students with a balance of flexibility and appropriate levels of academic support.

  • Students will be held accountable for attending live class connect sessions based on their individualized proficiency level.

    • Students identified as Beginning or Developing (tier 2 and 3) are required to attend live class connect sessions to receive intensive teacher support.

    • Students in tier 1 have earned more flexibility and are encouraged to attend live class sessions but may watch recordings if that better fits their schedule.

  • Earning more flexibility is a very powerful motivator for students, especially as they enter middle and high school.

  • Important school conferences, events, tests, and meetings should remain mandatory and are not flexible, meaning students must attend during school hours.

  • Recordings are uploaded into the Learning Management System to all students for review; however, live class connect attendance may be required for some students.

  • Consider including attendance into PBIS plans in the case that students miss required sessions.

  • If a student has an emergency that conflicts with a required class session, it is imperative that he or she contact the school as soon as possible.

Once a student is granted flexibility, they must demonstrate the ability to manage that privilege without it negatively impacting their academic performance. They must maintain grade-level proficiency as demonstrated through varying data points, turn all assignments in on time, and take all required assessments or flexibility may be withdrawn.

It is possible for students to earn a great deal of flexibility in how they structure their school day, but there will be times that they are required to be present during the hours of 8am and 4pm.

Whether a student is struggling or typically does well academically, there may be times that extra support is required to master a skill or concept. When students are invited to a small group reinforcement session or tutoring, they are required to attend the live session even if they have full flexibility.

To avoid absences, families are asked to schedule appointments around required class sessions.


  • If a student misses five required sessions, then proceed with an inquiry about lack of engagement and remind them and the parent(s) of expectations.

  • If this continues and it’s evident that students are not participating in remote learning, then further investigation into the child’s situation is suggested for next steps.

  • Set expectations of student engagement to receive attendance for the day such as responding and engaging with all questions and/or prompts from the teacher during the session to the best of their ability. This also pertains to assigned work and deadlines.

  • If a student is unable to attend a ‘required’ session live, they must watch the recording even though that will not necessarily excuse the absence. Consider the option for students to write or record a little summary of the missed lesson and share it back with the teacher. This demonstrates that they are engaged and participating in their learning even if they are engaging asynchronously.

Live Interactive Class Sessions: Conduct for Parents and Students

Guidelines for parents and students:

  • Be prompt to online class connect sessions

  • Ensure that parents and students are clear about the expectations on whiteboard, microphone, and direct messaging privileges

  • All participants should be respectful and courteous to others

  • Students should stay present and participate during calls, if not count the session as an absence

  • If there are multiple students in one home, each student individually needs to log in to his or her session

  • Students should be clear school policies regarding safety and sharing confidential information such as address, email address, or phone numbers in the chat box

If a student is causing a disruption that negatively impacts the learning environment or engages in behavior that is prohibited, they will be removed from the live class session and their parents will be contacted. Please keep in mind that individual teachers may have additional guidelines and expectations that are specific to their classrooms. Have rules and guidelines already in place by the school such as PBIS.

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