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  • Various Levels of Grading Support

    St. Thomas Aquinas Academy offers various levels of support with web-enhanced, advisor-supported high school courses for Catholic homeschooling families.  The courses are designed to help parents bring a classical, liberal arts education based on encounters with the Great Books to their high school students.  Our courses focus on developing the student’s ability to read deeply, think critically, and write and speak with notable content and clarity by exploring and responding to great authors, saints, and Church Doctors in literature, theology, history, philosophy, and the physical sciences.

    Following are descriptions of the support options for our high school courses, a list of all the courses that have advisor grading and guidance options, and frequently asked questions about how the additional advisor services work.  After exploring this page, 1) visit the Annual Enrollment page to submit an application to enroll your students for the school year and/or 2) click here to submit an application to add Advisor Graded, Advisor Guided, or Quizzes Only services to one or more courses from the Course List below.

    Full Enrollment

    Additional High School Services

     

    Enrollment without Transcript Option

    Most Independent

    This enrollment level includes course placement through the skills assessment process.  After the teaching-parent and academic advisor complete the planning process, students are set for self-paced, independent study of courses, with the help of the weekly course plans in the STAA Study Guides and online quizzes available on the Student Zone website. The grading of all assignments and recordkeeping is left in the hands of the teaching-parents. In addition to the planning appointment before the school year begins, teaching-parents and students have access to telephone meetings with their family's planning advisor and high school advisor through the year.  See the Enrollment page for more details. 

    Enrollment with Transcript Option

    Mostly Independent

    This enrollment level includes the placement, independent study of courses, online quizzes, and meetings with the family's planning advisor and high school advisor as mentioned above.  In addition to those supports, the Enrollment with Transcript Option adds the semester reporting process to develop high school transcripts and earn a diploma. Twice a year packets of specific work samples are submitted for review along with progress reports as part of the transcript process. While the high school advisor reviews the submitted work, all assignments and work samples are graded by the teaching-parents.  See the Enrollment page for more details. 

    Advisor Grading of Select Courses

    Mostly Independent with Some Grading Support

    This level of support adds advisor grading of assignments to one or more of the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy courses the student is studying. Your high school advisor will grade six to eight of the major assignments in the selected courses. The advisor will grade the assignments, send the graded work and recommended grade to the student, but the gradebook for the course is maintained by the parents.  This advisor assignment grading service is available to students that are enrolled in the full St. Thomas Aquinas Academy program as well as students that wish to enroll in individual courses.

    GRADED ASSIGNMENTS: Advisor assignment grading in addition to the weekly online quizzes. The STAA advisor will grade quizzes and six to eight writing assignments. Gradebooks to be kept by the teaching-parent.

    • Current STAA Students: $99.00 USD (per course, per semester, per student)

    • Other Students: $149.00 USD (per course, per semester, per student)

    • Students enrolling in two or more courses for the semester are eligible for a 20% discount.

    Click here to apply for the upcoming semester.

     

    One-on-One Guidance and Advisor Grading

    Additional Guidance and Grading

    This option adds bi-weekly, one-on-one phone discussions between the student and high school advisor to help add direction and accountability to the student's study of the course. The regular telephone meetings are in addition to the online quizzes and grading of assignments.  The gradebook for the course will be maintained by the advisor and an updated copy will be sent to the student along with every graded assignment.

    ADVISOR GUIDED COURSES: Nine telephone meetings for individualized course guidance and tutorial support with your high school advisor. Includes advisor grading of quizzes and six to eight writing assignments. Enroll for this service early! Space is very limited due to the amount of one-on-one time the high school advisor spends with each student.

    • Current STAA Students: $295.00 USD (per course, per semester, per student)

    • Other Students: $349.00 USD (per course, per semester, per student)

    • Students enrolling in two or more courses for the semester are eligible for a 20% discount.

    Click here to apply for the upcoming semester.

     

    Quiz Only Option

    "We just want to study a few courses independently without enrolling, grading, or guidance. Is this possible?"

    Yes, high school students may add the "quizzes and Student Zone only" option to one or more courses. They will have access to the Student Zone to take reading quizzes to help guide them through the course plan weeks of their courses. The quizzes are mostly graded by the computer, with select quizzes featuring questions that are graded by advisors. Students also have access to Q & A forums where they may ask questions about the course and quizzes throughout the semester.

    GRADED QUIZZES: Sixteen weekly, online reading comprehension quizzes (mix of computer grading and advisor grading).

    • Current STAA Students: no additional charge/included as part of enrollment

    • Other Students: $39.00 USD (per course, per semester, per student)

    • Students enrolling in two or more courses for the semester are eligible for a 20% discount.

    Click here to apply for the upcoming semester.

     


     

    Course List

    Add the grading and guidance options to any of the following courses.  The links will take you to the book list for each course.  The courses are arranged in their typical order of study so they remain matched to the study cycle that best complements them.  The courses may be studied out of order.  If your student is not enrolled in St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, our staff will advise you about recommended prerequisites and ask a few questions about your student's academic history before completing the enrollment process.

    European Studies I, B Track
    European Studies II, B Track
    U.S. Studies I, B Track
    U.S. Studies II, B Track
    Greek Studies I, B Track
    Greek Studies II, B Track
    Roman Studies I, A Track
    Roman Studies II, A Track
    European Studies I, A Track
    European Studies II, A Track

     


    "Which version of the course should I choose: A Track or B Track?"

    B Track courses are appropriate for younger students that are currently studying IEW's History-based Writing Lessons or the first part of Format Writing (EWG-B). B Track courses include simpler writing assignments, a little less reading, and less complex reading than the A Track.  The A Track courses are designed for students that have already completed ESSAY WRITING (EWG-B). Students that are new to St. Thomas Aquinas Academy's high school courses are encouraged to select B Track courses unless otherwise directed by their advisor.

    Click here to apply for the upcoming semester.

     


    Academic Scheduling

    The courses are self-paced, based on the academic calendar designed by the student's parents. 

    A semester at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy consists of two light school weeks of organization and orientation activities and sixteen school weeks of academic coursework.  There are two semesters per school year.

    The coursework for each course is estimated to take between four and five hours per school week for 16 to 18 school weeks. The courses can be started as early as August 1st and must be concluded by July 15th. The due dates for assignments and advisor meetings will be determined by the academic calendar that you (the parent) submit as part of the orientation activities.

    Advisors are not available during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter breaks.  Students may submit quizzes and assignments during those times, but their work will not be graded until after the breaks.

     


    Books, Materials, and Technology

    St. Thomas Aquinas Academy is classical in content and method, with some web enhancements for high school students.   The books, materials, and STAA Study Guides needed for each course are purchased separately through St. Thomas Aquinas Academy's recommended suppliers or your favorite suppliers.  The book list for each course is available on our website (see the Course List above for links) and more information about the books and materials will be shared in the STAA Study Guides as well as by your advisor during the annual planning appointment.

    With few exceptions, the materials for each course are non-consumable books that will become part of your family's home library. The STAA Study Guides are consumable, printed workbooks that guide the students through the course plan weeks. Additional resources, such as an occasional article or slide show, PDF form to print, and the weekly online quizzes are found on the Student Zone website.

    In addition to the books and STAA Study Guide, the following will be needed by the student:

    • A desktop computer or laptop with reliable internet to access the Student Zone for weekly quizzes and to submit assignments. Students will only need access to the computer a few times per week so it is not necessary to purchase a computer for each student in your home.
    • An email address that the student's parents can also access.
    • Word processing software that will export the student's work as .rtf, .doc, .docx, or .pdf documents. We encourage students to compose the rough draft of their written assignments on paper before sitting down to type, format, and polish the assignments on the computer with the word processing software.
    • A reliable telephone with good sound quality for advisor meetings.  A telephone with a good speakerphone function is necessary for families that have multiple students studying courses together.
    • Recommended: A color scanner that will export scans as .pdf documents. Parents will be responsible for grading special worksheets or map activity assignments if the student is unable to submit scans of those assignments in .pdf format.
    • Modern versions of ancient technology: Plenty of college-ruled paper with comfortable, smooth-writing, non-smearing, blue or black pens.  Avoid all notebooks that have pages that do not easily tear out for scanning or filing in a binder.  Ring-bound notebooks that leave little, tattered pieces of paper on the edge of the page should be avoided in all academic and professional settings.

     


    "When are the class meetings?"

    All STAA courses are self-paced, independent study courses directed by the detailed, weekly course plans in the STAA Study Guides. There are no class meetings. Students that are enrolled in St. Thomas Aquinas Academy may, with their parents' help, schedule High School Progress appointments with their high school advisor. We encourage all high school students to schedule such appointments every four to six school weeks. Several appointments are included in the enrollment package and more may be purchased as needed if all of the enrollment package appointments are used up before the end of the school year.

    Students that are enrolled in an Advisor Guided Course will, with the help of their advisor, schedule a telephone meeting every other school week. There are a total of nine of these guidance meetings per semester, per course. The meeting time for one course is usually about twenty minutes. When the student is enrolled in two or three Advisor Guided Courses, the meeting will run about an hour. The meetings will run about an hour every school week instead of every other school week when the student is enrolled in four or more Advisor Guided Courses so each meeting can be dedicated to discussing one, two, or three courses at a time. Special meeting arrangements will be made for families with multiple students enrolled in the same Advisor Guided Courses.

    The guidance meetings may be scheduled on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Meetings are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no discounts, credits, or refunds for missed, skipped, or forgotten meetings. Students may, however, reschedule the meeting up to four hours in advance without penalty. They may, however, be subject to availability concerns when they reschedule since advisor meetings are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. If your student is usually only available during one given hour on one possible day per week, make sure they prioritize making it to the meeting they scheduled since the student's limited availability may present rescheduling challenges.

     


    "Are the advisor meetings graded?"

    Yes, the telephone meetings with the advisor are graded activities. The meetings take the place of the Scheduled Discussion activities assigned in the STAA Study Guides. This does mean that missed, "no-show" meetings that are not rescheduled before the original meeting time are given a Scheduled Discussion score of zero in the gradebook. Parents may choose to offer their student a make-up Scheduled Discussion there in the home. Parents may then update the gradebook that the advisor sends to them at the end of the quarter to reflect the score they wish to issue the student for the missed Scheduled Discussion.

    While the exact nature of each meeting differs depending on the course content, the advisor scores the Scheduled Discussion based on meeting attendance, preparation, oral summary of readings, liveliness of conversation, and oral quizzing.

    Parents are welcome to listen in on the advisor telephone meetings with the student, but the meetings are intended to take the place of the Scheduled Discussions that are assigned as part of the coursework which means the entirety of the meeting time is reserved to the Scheduled Discussion topics, goal setting, and tutorial support.  This is homeschooling so we cherish parent involvement in schooling, but the Scheduled Discussions are for students to practice speaking about their studies, shoulder academic responsibility, and organize their approach to the coursework.  Parent-advisor appointments are available as part of the annual enrollment package in St. Thomas Aquinas Academy or may be purchased separately.

     


    "Do we have to turn in all six to eight writing assignments for advisor grading?"

    Students enrolled in grading services need only submit for grading the assignments he and his parent desire to submit. The essential, important assignments for each course are marked with asterisks in the STAA Study Guides and gradebooks. We always recommend giving those assignments priority.

    Keep in mind, though, that the course enrollment fees cover the availability of your high school advisor to grade and guide the course: There are no discounts, credits, or refunds on course enrollment fees for missed, skipped, or forgotten assignments. Assignments that are not turned in for grading are given a score of zero in the Advisor Guided Course gradebook. If the parents decided to grade the assignment themselves, they may update the gradebook when the advisor sends it to them at the end of the quarter.

     


    "When are the assignments due?"

    Assignments must be turned in according to the pace in the STAA Study Guides -- spread out over the semester, with due dates based on the academic calendar designed by the parents during the orientation activities at the beginning of the semester. There is a score reduction of 5% for every day an assignment is late.

    No assignments may be submitted after midnight on July 15th. The Student Zone is closed to students July 16 - 31 as the site is reset and prepared for the new school year.

    Assignments are typically due every one, two, or three school weeks in the courses. It is important that assignments are turned in according to the schedule so there is time for the advisor to grade the student's work and offer insight for the student to keep in mind for future assignments in that same course. The assignments must be completed in order and may not all be submitted at one time, only minutes, hours, or fewer than five school days apart.

     


    "May we complete the courses in fewer than eighteen weeks?"

    The courses are self-paced, independent study courses directed by the detailed, weekly course plans in the STAA Study Guides. With the STAA Study Guide in hand, the student may move through the course as quickly as desired. Keep in mind, however, that advisor grading and guidance meetings are not available during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter breaks. Additionally, the Student Zone website is closed to students for the last two weeks of July. Assignments are graded on a first-submitted, first-graded basis. Advisor guidance meetings are scheduled on a first-come, first-scheduled basis. Do carefully weigh those parameters before adding advisor grading or guidance services to courses your student wishes to study at an accelerated pace. The option that offers the most scheduling flexibility is the "Quiz Only Option" where the course is self-paced while following the STAA Study Guide with the student completing the weekly quizzes and the teaching-parent grading all of the assignments.

     


    Refunds and Extensions

    Refund Policy
    The course fees are not prorated.  The graded, guided, and quiz-only course fees -- less a $25.00 cancellation fee and any credit card processing fees (3% of total) -- are refundable up until two weeks after the student's proposed course start date. Written cancellation must be emailed or postmarked by the two-week mark to be eligible for a refund.

    Emergency Circumstances
    In special circumstances, a partial credit to apply to future semesters may be issued if a student needs to withdraw from the course after the two-week deadline. A formal, written request explaining the special circumstances for the late withdrawal must be submitted promptly by the student's parents in order to be considered for partial credit.  

    Course Extensions
    Courses must be started after August 1st and concluded by July 15th. Monthly course extensions are available for $49.00 per month, per course, per student.

    "No Show" Meetings
    The course fees are not prorated.  The course fees cover the availability of your high school advisor to grade and guide the course.  There are no discounts, credits, or refunds for missed, skipped, or forgotten telephone meetings. Students may reschedule the meetings up to four hours before the meeting without penalty.

    Missed Assignments
    The course fees are not prorated.  The course fees cover the availability of your high school advisor to grade and guide the course: There are no discounts, credits, or refunds of fees for missed, skipped, or forgotten assignments.

    Books, Materials, and STAA Study Guides
    Teaching-parents are responsible for purchasing the books and materials for the courses through their favorite suppliers or the suppliers suggested by St. Thomas Aquinas Academy.  Every supplier has its own product return policy.  The STAA Study Guides are printed on-demand by the printer when ordered by the teaching-parents and are not returnable to the printer unless there is a printing or binding error.  Contact the printer for help with damaged products.

     


    Student Behavior

    St. Thomas Aquinas Academy expects all students to exhibit kind, noble, uplifting behavior that is becoming of young Catholics in email, forum posts, and telephone meetings. Profile images on the Student Zone must be modest and exhibit a sense of personal dignity. Forum posts may not include any personal contact information, any mention of usernames or contact names on other websites or apps, and may not include links to any other websites. We ask that all students aim to be virtuous young men and women that cultivate thoughtful, jovial, and warm personas with the words they use on the website and during meetings.

    Student access to the Q & A forums may be suspended without reinstatement at the determination of the STAA staff if the student violates the forum safety and conduct rules. Students that are suspended from the forums will be able to view posts, but not create or reply to posts on the forums. They may still contact their advisor by email.

    STAA does not maintain an administrative staff to deal with behavioral issues. After three documented occasions of disrespectful, inappropriate, foul, or aggressive behavior, GUIDED students will be moved entirely to QUIZZES & GRADED only status and will be unable to post on the Q & A forums (in other words, the regular meetings with the advisor will no longer take place, but the student may still submit work and take the quizzes). There are no refunds given if a student's GUIDED status is canceled because of documented behavioral issues. GRADED status will be canceled without refund if the student turns in inappropriate or objectionable coursework.

    Click here to apply for the upcoming semester.

     


     

    Do you still have questions?  Click here to send us an email.