5-9 Online Program

What you need to know about K-9 online courses.

How to Order a Resource for an Online Course


Accessing Tech Support

If you're experiencing technical difficulties and your Support or Online Teacher is not able to provide the tech answers you need, please contact our Tech Support department using this email address: tickets@onlineschool.ca. Our Tech department aims to respond to your requests within 24 hours. 


Moodle & Interactive PDF Information

If this is the first time your student is experiencing an online course, or if you are new to taking a course with HCOS, we think that you will find the following information a good starting point. 

How to use the interactive PDF assignments

Your course uses interactive PDF documents for all assignments. This ensures that students and teachers can open and complete the assignments, regardless of what computer hardware and software they may have.

Here are a few tips to help you use the assignment PDFs effectively: 
When you click on the word “here” it will automatically download the assignment. You will need to open it using Adobe Reader. See instructions in the next paragraph on how to open the assignment in Adobe Reader.

Open the PDF

It is important to download the PDF before working on it.  The downloaded assignment will usually appear either at the bottom left hand corner of your screen as a little folder or page, or at the top right hand corner as a little arrow pointing down. The image you see will depend on what type of computer you are on. You can open this by right-clicking and select “Open with…” then select Adobe Reader. You can also choose to open automatically with Adobe Reader, and this will save one step in the process in future.

Completing Assignments

As you work through the assignments, be sure to save the PDF on your computer each time you make changes. Each lesson is designed to cover approximately 3-4 activities, 45-60 minutes long each, so make sure that you scroll through and complete all of the assignments gradually over a period of several days. You will hand in the completed PDF once you have filled in ALL of the assignments.


You will notice a field on the bottom of each rubric for “Student Comments.” Your teacher may ask you to write something specific here, but if not, feel free to use it if you want to point-out something in particular on the assignment or you may leave it blank.

Course Extension or Retention Process


It is our intent to:

  • Meet students where they are and provide an adaptation that can help a student succeed.
  • Increase transparency and accuracy in the recording and reporting of a student’s ability level.
  • Celebrate progress, whether fast or slow, and allow children to develop at their own rate.
  • Families see the option to accelerate or alternately lengthen courses as a way to acknowledge that children work at different paces in different subjects areas.

When a student is two months to two years behind in a subject, or when a student’s progress in a course is insufficient to warrant a passing grade, then that student can be allowed more time in a specific subject area in order to complete that subject. Strategies and interventions need to be employed mid-year so that that they can take effect before the year end. Evidence of interventions employed to bring the student up to grade level needs to be recorded. The option of an intentional exception to allow a subject specific retention applies to courses where a student has completed insufficient work (e.g: a student who only completes 27% of the course). It also applies in particular to subjects where skills build on foundational concepts, and missing those concepts could have impact the future success of the student.

Subject Specific Retention Process Individualized K-9 Students
  1. When it is recognized that a student is beginning to fall behind, the Support Teacher needs to refer to and initiate processes laid out in the Incomplete Grades and Assigning F's - K-12 page in SOPHIE, in order to get the student caught up and on track during that school year.
  2. If the student continues to lag behind, then Learning Services (LS) should be made aware and discussions and strategies put in place to help the student to catch up.
  3. As the school year draws to a close, a conversation between the parent, teacher, Learning Services Consultant (LSC), and student needs to take place. Various options would be discussed including:
    1. Moving the subject forward on pace with the other courses
    2. A subject specific grade retention
    3. Remediation options
    4. Having the student receive a failing grade and close the course
  4. The student, parent, teacher, LSC agree on the best course of action.
  5. The teacher will inform their Regional Administrator (RA) and the LS RA of their recommendation.
  6. The RA and LS RA come to agreement and request an exemption from their Divisional Director who consults the Academic Head of School for final approval.
  7. A pinned log entry will be added to the student’s file if subject retention is the final decision.
  8. The course is closed and reopened the following year.
Subject Specific Retention Process Online Courses Grades 5-12

Grade 5-12 online course students are officially provided with 12 months to complete a course. Most students complete a course during a semester term or over the September-June school year. If the student does not meet grade level expectations, they are required to either repeat the course or resubmit assignments until their level of understanding is at the minimally meeting standard.  

Cross-enrolled grade eight and nine online courses should have the 12-month timeline noted in their course introductions so that students are aware that they have a full calendar year to complete their course work.

  1. When it is recognized that a student is beginning to fall behind, the Online Course Teacher needs to initiate processes to get the student caught up during that school year. This includes contacting the student and parent, updating the scheduler, communicating with the Individualized Support Teacher (5-9) or Grad Advisor (GA) (10-12), and adjusting assignments as appropriate.
  2. If the student continues to lag behind, then Learning Services (LS) needs to be made aware and further discussions and strategies put in place to help the student to catch up. As the term draws to a close, a conversation between the parent, teacher, Learning Services Consultant (LSC), and student needs to take place. Various options would be discussed including:
    1. Assigning a passing grade and moving the subject forward on pace with the other courses
    2. Extending the time for the student to complete that subject
    3. Other remediation and completion options
    4. Assigning a failing grade and closing the course
    5. Requiring the student to repeat the course
  3. The student, parent, teacher, LSC agree on the course of action. The teacher will inform their Support Teacher or GA, and the LS RA of their recommendation.
  4. The RA and LS RA come to agreement and request an exemption from their Divisional Director who consults the Academic Head of School for final approval.
  5. A pinned log entry will be added to the student’s file if subject retention is the decision.
  6. The course is closed and the student can apply again following two reporting periods.

Synchronous Cohorts


Traditional asynchronous online courses offer flexibility in timing, scheduling and location. However, some students want additional social connections including touching base with their teacher and building a strong learning community. These students benefit from a synchronous option.


Synchronous Cohorts provide regular touchpoints where students would meet with their teacher(s) and fellow students. Regularly scheduled times allow students to connect with teachers to receive instruction, clarify assignments, and ask questions on a weekly basis. Synchronous Cohorts allow students the opportunity to connect with their teachers and other students. Synchronous Cohorts provide the chance for students to be known and also increase the level of accountability. Teachers are able to preteach lessons, answer common questions and clarify assignments in weekly meetings.

How Synchronous Cohorts Function

  • Students work through the standard online course together with the teacher.
  • The teacher and students meet via Zoom at a scheduled time every week.
  • Weekly meetings create a rhythm and maintain a high level of contact. 
  • Zoom classes are typically 20-30 minutes in length.

Tips for Middle School Online Success

Navigating online courses can be challenging for first time students. Here are a few tips to help your child find success in their online courses.

No one ever sets out to fail! 

We know students want to succeed in their online course.  

1. Role of Online Teachers

We are here to provide a great course and a positive learning experience with a teacher who is ready to support your student and give feedback to their work. Online teachers care about each student. We can only respond to students who show up, submit work, and communicate with their teachers. If your student is struggling, please contact the teacher involved. 

2. Role of Students

Students are responsible for showing up, consistently, throughout the school year. That means being active in their course and being “present” with their teacher through assignment responses, Skype, email. Teachers are teachers because they love working WITH students. They are there to answer questions, to get to know your student as a person and to support your learning, but you must initiate the conversation. Smart kids ask questions, get help when they need it, and recognize that teachers are people too. Greet your teacher by name in emails and Skype, encourage your teacher by responding to emails, and say “thank you!”. 

3. Role of Parents

Parents are an essential part of the learning process. The course and the Online Teacher are there to provide a great learning experience, but you must be involved throughout the school year. Your student needs your encouragement and interest. Plan to sit down together at the computer every week, click on the "GRADES" button and review progress. You will see when the latest assignment was handed in and what the teacher’s response was. Just asking, “Are you done?’  is not enough. It’s easy for a student to say “Yes, Mom” when they are not done at all. It happens all the time.

You are your student’s supervisor and advocate, don't be afraid to ask questions of your student or their teacher. 

4. Getting Started: The Course Home Page

The course home page is your GPS. 

There you will find:

  • Your teacher’s name and contact information
  • An overview of the course
  • Resources
  • Grades - Both parents and students are expected to check grades weekly
  • The lessons and assignments. Different courses are set up in different ways.  If you are taking more than one course, both parents and students need to understand how each course is designed
  • Middle School courses are intended to be completed in the regular school year September till June. Please look over your course and set goals for yourself.

    Complete the Manage Your Schedule file found on the course home page (REQUIRED!).

    For example, English five has 30 weeks. Plan to be finished the first week of June. Where should you be by Christmas break? Spring Break? Be accountable for showing up! Consider creating a calendar with the due dates clearly labelled, post that by your computer, then have a weekly meeting to make sure the student is on track.
  • Daily “class time”: Develop a good work ethic. Students who attend brick and mortar schools are in their desks from 9 – 3. The freedom we enjoy in home school is a privilege to honour. You don’t have to show up at 9, you don’t have to be dressed, but you do have to put in an hour of work on a subject. If you read slowly, if you get distracted by younger siblings, if you start playing a game, that’s not part of your learning hour. Parents and students need to design an effective learning environment. Headphones with music (no lyrics!!) help to block distractions. Ten minute cardio break before you start a new subject helps the brain to focus. Set a timer and be accountable for what you accomplish in that time. 
5. Communication: It’s all About Communication
  • Teachers prefer Skype for all communication. You will get an answer much faster in Skype than in an email. 
  • Use good manners. If you were in a classroom face-to-face, you would address your teacher by names. Please start all communication with a polite greeting.
  • Teachers are committed to answering promptly. Please respect the fact that I may be unable to answer right away.
  • Parents are encouraged to respond to grading comments, to report card comments and to communicate with the course teacher if the student is experiencing problems. The teacher only knows what you tell them.
  • If you find you or your child is becoming overwhelmed by work load, or struggling due to a learning need, remember every course can be adapted to suit your child’s learning needs – a conversation is all it takes to develop a plan for your student. Let’s work together to provide the best possible learning experience.
  • Teachers are human. Mistakes are possible. If your student has an assignment that has not been marked within a few days and the student cannot do the next assignment because of that, students are encouraged to contact the teacher and ask if they could check on that assignment. Occasionally, Moodle skips sending an email notification. The teacher may not even know the assignment is sitting there. A polite request is always welcome and shows initiative.   

HCOS cares about your family's online experience. If you are thrilled with your experience, We would love to hear from you. Likewise, if you feel you are not being well served, please contact, Grant Wardle, the Middle School Online Coordinator.