Information for Families

This is a public book with valuable information for families and students.

5-9 Online Program

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

5-9 Online Program

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: Our Tech department aims to respond to your requests within 24 hours. 


5-9 Online Program

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.
5-9 Online Program

How to Order a Resource for an Online Course


5-9 Online Program

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.

5-9 Online Program

Synchronous Courses 5-9

This page provides information around Synchronous courses that are offered from grades 5-9


Synchronous courses offer the same program of study as an online course, with the added benefit of weekly meetings with a teacher and working alongside a cohort of your peers on the same topics. Synchronous courses provide overall structure for students, with the expectation that they will work to keep up with the schedule set by the teacher for assignments and tests. The accountability of the weekly meeting is designed to help elaborate on challenging topics or concepts, encourage student interaction, and provide a natural place for students to ask questions and develop deeper understanding. This option is the one that is most similar to a face-to-face classroom experience in an online environment.


Synchronous Courses provide regular, required touchpoints where students would meet with their teacher(s) and fellow students. Regularly scheduled times set by the instructor early in September allow students to connect with teachers to receive instruction, clarify assignments, and ask questions on a weekly basis. Synchronous course options allow students the opportunity to connect with their teachers and other students in a more typical classroom style. Synchronous Cohorts provide the chance for students to be known and also increase the level of accountability. Teachers may use the weekly meetings to  pre-teach lessons, answer common questions, clarify assignments, or discuss complex topics or issues.

How Synchronous Courses Function

Student Responsibilities and Expectations

Teacher Responsibilities and Expectations

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does it cost any more to enrol in a synchronous course compared to an asynchronous course? 
    • No, the cost to the student is the same for a synchronous course as it is for any other online course enrollment.
  2. What if I have to miss a meeting for a dentist appointment or other unforeseen conflict? 
    • This should be communicated to your teacher.  Students should arrange activities such as regular piano lessons or sports practices at a time that does not conflict with scheduled class meetings but it’s understood that life happens sometimes.
  3. Can my student take just one synchronized cohort for an online course or do they have to take all across their grade level?
    • Absolutely they can take just one, or multiple synchronous options! Figure out what works best for your child’s learning style, level of independence and degree of desired flexibility?
  4. How does the course schedule work?
    • The meeting times for each synchronous cohort will be posted in SOPHIE. You can see the schedule live here! Your K-9 support teacher or Grad Advisor can also let you know when specific classes are meeting. In addition, there will not be overlap between class time for the different subjects across the same grade level.  This allows students to take all synchronous offerings if they so choose.
  5. How long are the synchronous classes?
    • 20-30  minutes long.  Note: Depending on the topics and assignments some meetings may be longer or shorter than scheduled. 
  6. What happens if my student falls behind?
    • Just like in any classroom environment, things happen.  Students are encouraged to keep attending the class and to work with their teacher to catch up. Teachers are prepared to support students when things don’t go as planned. 
  7. Are teachers available outside of the posted class times?  
    • Absolutely.  Teachers will have availability times posted in their course.  
  8. Are students required to have cameras and audio on?  
    • Yes, this is a basic expectation of a synchronous class.  One of the goals of these classes is community and students are expected to participate in this way.
  9. Are the courses semester or linear pacing?
    • Courses are held over the school year in a linear fashion. Classes start in the 3rd or 4th week of September and are held until the beginning of June.
  10. Do I have to attend the live meetings?
    • Yes! This is the main part of a synchronous class. Of course, there are absences that you can’t avoid, like sickness or appointments - but your teacher will miss you! 
  11. Is there a minimum enrollment necessary in order to have a synchronous course happen?  Also, is there a maximum number?
    • Yes!  The idea of community is important to Synchronous classes so we will require that a minimal number of students enroll.  If we do not get the minimum number of students, the ones that are enrolled will automatically be moved to Asynchronous.  As far as a maximum number, we realize that an online Zoom class can reach a maximum practical size, so if this happens, we will open up a second weekly meeting time to accommodate more students.  
                      5-9 Online Program

                      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:

                      5. Communication: It’s all About Communication

                      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.


                      HCOS: Phase 2 Health and Safety Plan

                      Guiding Principles

                      Parent Initiated Activities

                      Learning Groups School Run Events

                      Back to School Stages: The Provincial Health Office (PHO) and the Ministry of Education have determined that K-12 schools in the province can re-open safely for in-class instruction as per Stage 2 guidelines.

                      Summary of School-Based Control Measures 

                      In Preparation to Attend an Event

                      In accordance with the K-12 Educational Protocols, parents and/ or caregivers are responsible to assess their child(ren) daily, the morning of that date's attendance to a face to face learning opportunity, such as HCOS Learning Camps, Co-ops, and Community Connections using the Daily Health Check. 

                      HCOS Personnel or any other adult participant who has any symptoms of a cold, influenza, COVID-19, or any other infectious respiratory disease, must not participate in face-to-face activities such as HCOS Learning Group events. 

                      The Premises

                      At this time, assemblies, information evenings, open houses and term celebrations will occur in a virtual context where possible.

                      Physical Contact, Cleaning, and Sanitization

                      All members of the learning community are reminded to provide verbal, not physical, greetings to one another. 

                      Learning Groups will work with Coordinators to ensure there are appropriate hand washing routines incorporated for the specifics of their event including: 

                      Where a sink is not accessible for handwashing, students may be asked (or LG) to provide alcohol-based hand sanitizing solution for student use as needed. Students are responsible to bring personal hand sanitizer if allergies present.

                      Cleaning Practices

                      Will be implemented in accordance with the PHO's Covid-19 Public Health Guidance for Childcare Settings.

                      Personal Protective Equipment
                      Providing Names and Contact Information of Participants to Health Professionals

                      For the health and safety of all staff and students, homemade food may not be brought or shared among participants; this includes homemade birthday treats, bake sale items, etc.

                      Please contact Christine Loewen, Director of Learning Groups, or one of our team members at should you have any further questions or concerns. 

                      We look forward to your participation in HCOS LG as we learn together in community!




                      Foundation Skills Assessment - FSA

                      The Foundation Skills Assessment is an annual, province-wide assessment of British Columbia students’ academic skills, and provides a snapshot of how well BC students are learning foundation skills in Reading Comprehension, Writing, and Numeracy. These are standardized tests held for students in Grades 4 and 7. 

                      These tests are not optional unless students meet a very narrow set of requirements for exemption.

                      HCOS will be administering the tests. Here is some information to help you and your child prepare for the tests.

                      There are four categories of testing; the testing in total takes about four hours. Here are the categories which are tested:

                      The reading comprehension and numeracy components consist of multiple choice and written-response questions. The writing component consists of two writing tasks – one extended (longer) piece, one focused (shorter) piece, and a set of math problems, where the child needs to show their work. The multiple choice questions are done online. You will be mailed a booklet with the writing component.

                      The written tests will be marked by teachers from HCOS and the results sent to the support teacher.

                      The results will look something like this:

                      FSA Questions and Answers

                      What does FSA stand for? FSA stands for Foundation Skills Assessment and this test is given to all students in BC enrolled in grades 4 and 7.
                      What subjects are tested? The student is tested in Reading Comprehension, Writing, and Math Numeracy.

                      What is an invigilator?


                      An invigilator is a person responsible for supervising a test. The invigilator for the FSAs is either a teacher (in our case, with HCOS) or any person the administration deems as unbiased. This can be the parent of the child. 

                      What time is involved for each test?

                      The time varies from test to test 


                      • Reading Comprehension 
                        • Part one: Collaboration 10-15 minutes
                        • Part two: 30 minutes 
                      • Writing   
                        • 30 minutes  
                      • Numeracy                                           
                        • 30 minutes 
                      • Online Reading: 60 minutes
                      • Online Numeracy: 60 minutes

                      Total time less than four hours.



                      Interim Grade Reports

                      In addition to two formal reporting periods, Heritage Christian Online School has developed an Interim Grade Report (IGR) to ensure families are aware of any challenges or concerns regarding their child’s progress between reporting periods. 

                      About the IGR:

                      How it will look:


                      Parents will receive an email with a PDF of the IGR when a teacher creates it, and can view it in Encom via the Interim Grade Report Button


                      Parent Sign-off for Student Learning Plans (SLPs)

                      Directions fo SLP Parent Sign off

                      1. Log into Encom. If you have forgotten your password, please choose the "Lost your password?" option.


                      2. Read through your child's Student Learning Plan (SLP) to ensure it reflects your child's learning plan for the year. The SLP is a fluid document and should be updated throughout the school year. 


                      3. Once you've reviewed the SLP, please click the SLP Parent/Guardian Sign-Off.