• What is the Black Hills Online Learning Community?
    Black Hills Online Learning Community is an online education program using an innovative educational model to provide students with the best learning experience possible. Our program is administered by Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE), which is a subsidiary of the Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, in cooperation with participating public schools in South Dakota.
  • What does it cost to attend the Black Hills Online Learning Community full time?
    There is no cost for families. The program is funded through partnerships with South Dakota public schools. Students must be enrolled in a partnering school district to participate and obtain permission from the district.
    *If a student is not enrolled in a school district and chooses to purchase the curriculum outright, the cost is $3250 for a FTE (full time enrollment).
  • Who is eligible to attend the Black Hills Online Learning Community?
    The program supports student in grades K-12, who are enrolled in a participating public school districts. Public school districts must give permission for students to participate.
  • Are students in the Black Hills Online Learning Community considered home-schooled?
    No. Students in the program are full time public school students who are receiving their instruction in a different way. Participating families do not need to complete the home school application.
  • Does the Black Hills Online Learning Community provide computers or Internet service to students?
    No. Families are responsible for providing the equipment and internet service in order to access the online curriculum.
  • Can students be dual-enrolled in the program and their resident school?
    This is up to each district. Each will have its own regulations and eligibility requirements.
  • How does the Black Hills Online Learning Community work?
    Students in grades K-5 login to the k12.com site to get their daily lessons, then complete those lessons through a combination of online (30%) and offline (70%) activities.  Students in grade 6-12 login to a learning management system to access their fully online courses. Supervision is done on site by the learning coach (parent/guardian), and off site virtually by our online teachers and/or enrollment coordinator. Student data may also be accessed by the local school district representative for state reporting purposes.
  • What courses are offered by the Black Hills Online Learning Community?
    Students in grades K-8 are required to take language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies as their full-time curriculum. Students in grades 9-12 can take take 5-7 credits based on their local school district expectations. Additional courses, if desired, are available for purchase.The curriculum for all grades is designed to meet the South Dakota state content standards. These are the same standards used by all public schools in South Dakota. K12.com was selected for their expertise and experience in virtual school programs across the country.The K12 curriculum is a combination of both offline and online components. Students in grades K-2 do about 80% of their work offline, while grades 3-5 do about 60% offline. Offline components consist of textbooks, workbooks, and activities such as projects and experiments. Materials for offline expectations are provided at no additional cost and are shipped to each family directly from k12.com. Additional supplies such as pencils, paper, glue, etc., are minimal and are posted in the Learning Coach information in advance of the lesson(s) for which they are needed so families can plan ahead.
    The 6-12 curriculum is considered fully online, therefore offline materials are not included although some resources may be required to complete the coursework.
  • Who teaches the courses?
    The primary instructor for each student in grades K-5 is his or her learning coach, usually a parent or guardian. Learning coaches are assisted by a highly qualified South Dakota certified teacher. The teacher will connect with student/family on a regular basis. Learning coaches can also request additional assistance from the teacher at any time.The primary instructor for each student in grades 6-12 is a highly qualified certified teacher for each content area. The parent plays a crucial role in the learning process as the “Learning Coach”. Parents work with their students, log attendance data and may grade actual assignments in the system. Parents will liaise with the online teacher to discuss best practices and how to help their student succeed. The K-5 courses follow a “mastery-based” learning approach where students need to pass each unit with an 80% before moving on, while the 6-12 program provides a more traditional percentage based achievement score based on assessments.
  • How is my student placed in a course? What assessments are required?
    The Black Hills Online Learning Community generally places students according to their current grade level. BHOLC students will be expected to participate in all assessments required by the South Dakota Department of Education. This includes traveling to test on site according to the local school districts testing schedule.
  • What services are offered for special education students?
    If the student has an individualized education program (IEP), the BHOLC team will work with the district’s special education team to determine how services may be provided. Our ability to accommodate special needs students will depend on the IEP for that student, and is somewhat limited as we do not have a special education teacher on staff at this time.
  • Can BHOLC students participate in other traditional school activities?
    Districts have different policies about onsite participation, so please refer to your home district for specifics. As much as possible, we encourage parents and students to take advantage of after-school programs, school libraries, outdoor learning centers, computer labs and other experiences your community has to offer.
  • What is the time requirement?
    Our school year is September through May. However, there is not a specific daily schedule for BHOLC learners. Students are expected to move through their coursework in the same manner as if they were attending their local school, even though their overall schedule might be more flexible. Student progress through coursework is carefully monitored.
  • Our family travels so we want to participate in k12 part of the year and attend school on site part of the year. Will this work for us?
    Yes. You need to have your student enrolled in the public school by the registration deadline in September. Then, just let us know your schedule and we can make arrangements for your materials and courses.

More questions? Please contact us!
Connie Godfrey, BHOLC Project Coordinator
(605) 721-4506