There are many educational opportunities available to Circle parents. Sometimes it may be difficult to properly evaluate all the options in terms of requirements for high school credit. FCCPSA, Circle’s accrediting association, established new guidelines for its member schools beginning with the 2014-15 school year. FCCPSA has created an Articulation Agreement between member schools and Educational Providers.
The Articulation Agreement required by FCCPSA are designed to provide all parties with the information needed to discern the credit value of various educational options and to provide Circle Christian School with documentation that may be required by accreditors, colleges, and scholarship organizations.
The following information is designed to explain the requirements of Articulation Agreements.
1. Definition of terms
There are three types of educational opportunities as it relates to Articulation Agreements.
Primary Educators are parents that assume full responsibility for teaching, assigning grades, and ensuring that standards are met and reported. An Articulation Agreement is not required for parents.
Educational Providers are outside instructors that are engaged by parents to assume the role of primary educator by being responsible for teaching, assigning grades, and ensuring that standards are met and reported. An Articulation Agreement is required for educational providers that instruct and assign grades.
Educational Supports are outside resources (people, curriculum, web services, etc.) chosen by parents to supplement and aid their role as primary educator. An Articulation Agreement is not required in this situation if the parent assigns the final grade, however, the use of educational supports does not diminish or negate a parent’s responsibility as Primary Educator.
2. What reports and forms must I submit for courses I teach as the primary educator?
When parents are the source of instruction, they must:
- Enter all relevant information regarding the course into the Circle Dashboard by July 7, each year.
- Submit monthly attendance, standards, and grade reports via Circle’s online monthly reporting system during the school year (September – May).
Parents are not required to complete an articulation agreement for classes in which they are the Primary Educator.
3. Are Articulation Agreements required for Dual Enrollment, FLVS, or Smith Prep courses?
No, Circle already has Articulation Agreements in place with these educational providers. If your student takes a course from Valencia College, Seminole State College, Lake Sumter State College, Daytona State College, FLVS, or Smith Prep there is no additional action required on your part other than the submission of all relevant information regarding the course into the Circle Dashboard by July 7, each year
4. What if my student is taking a class from another instructor?
- If the instructor assigns grades for the work completed, the instructor is considered an Educational Provider and an Articulation Agreement is required between the instructor and Circle to document the credit worthiness of the course. Articulation Agreements must be completed and submitted to Circle no later than July 22, 2014. It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the instructor submits the Articulation Agreement by the deadline. After the Articulation Agreement has been reviewed, Circle will contact the Educational Provider to indicate whether it was approved and confirm grading procedures.
- If grades are not assigned by the instructor, the instructor is considered Educational Support and an Articulation Agreement is not required. (Tutors, co-ops and enrichment programs usually fit into this category.) The parent assumes responsibility as the Primary Educator in these cases and is responsible to ensure that all standards are met for the course and to report student attendance, progress, and grades via Circle’s online monthly reporting system.
5. Do all curricula typically cover the same standards? Are all curricula the same?
No, all curricula are not designed to accomplish the same goals. Christian publishers such as Abeka, Bob Jones, Notgrass, and others provide high school, Biblically based textbook curricula that typically cover and exceed the current national standards. (For educational interest and excellence, parents may still want to supplement textbook experiences with primary source documents, hands-on experiential learning, and research opportunities.)
Other publishers may cover only portions of standards by going more in-depth in a few key areas. Depending on the curriculum, additional standards may need covered through supplementary sources to achieve a valid credit. The Primary Educator is responsible for covering the standards required for a transcript credit.
6. Do non-textbook curricula typically meet state or national standards?
Most non-textbook curriculum providers are designed to meet a particular niche rather than fully incorporate all standards for a course credit. Several common misconceptions exist. For example, while programs like Classical Conversations offer a solid foundation in arts, humanities, and speech instruction, they usually provide only a skeletal framework for everything from Latin to Algebra. Even with their tutoring sessions, parents must be prepared to supplement coursework in order to meet the course standards for high school credit. Additionally, not all course titles listed by a provider are recognized as transferable credit by the state of Florida. While many providers call their offerings classes or courses, the Articulation Agreement will help parents assess whether the required standards are being covered or whether the provider is only offering educational support through supplemental curricula or perhaps an interesting learning experience that does not warrant inclusion on the student’s transcript.
7. Does Saxon Algebra I & II complete the Geometry requirement?
The Saxon approach to math is unique in that it incorporates some Geometry skills each year. While the company previously advertised that no further Geometry was needed, in 2008 Saxon began publishing a separate Geometry text to complete the required Geometry standards for high school credit.
8. How many academic hours are required for earning a high school course credit?
The actual time required by a student to complete the coursework will vary based primarily on reading and math skills. Core classes generally use the following guidelines: hours spent in classroom + instructor estimated coursework hours at home = a minimum of 135 hours of academic instruction for a one year standard course credit. (The state of Florida currently requires a minimum of 135 hours of instruction for one standard high school credit. Honors credits generally require 150 hours of academic instruction.)
In order to earn a high school diploma in the state of Florida, a student must earn a minimum of 24 validated credits in the required subject areas, averaging 6 credit courses each year (see the CCS High School Planning Manual). A typical high school public or private school student spends 5 -7 academic hours a day in school with the expectation of an additional 1 – 2 hours of nightly homework. While coursework completion times vary by subject and student, a parent-directed high school student should plan on spending a minimum of 30 hours a week on their coursework for six credit courses.
9. What if I have an 8th grader earning high school credit?
An 8th grader may only earn high school credit using an approved curriculum in Algebra I, Physical Science, or a foreign language. Enter the appropriate information in the Circle Dashboard for high school credit courses.
10. What happens if the Educational Provider does not meet minimum standards or provide the necessary information by the deadline?
Circle partners with parents. For transcript integrity, parents must ultimately provide oversight and documentation of completed standards if the Educational Provider does not. As the Primary Educator, the parent will need to submit the initial curriculum information in the Circle Dashboard by July 7, each year and is responsible for monthly reporting of completed standards. A minimum of 80% of the standards must be completed for each course. A meeting with the Circle Director of Education Sue McIntyre may be required to determine if standards have been adequately met.
11. Which high school courses require an Articulation Agreement?
The Articulation Agreement is designed for Educational Providers that are teaching graded core high school courses. Core classes include all high school credit courses in English, math, science, social studies and foreign language.
12. What if I have additional questions?