Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from parents and students interested in learning more about Palmetto State E-cademy and our online school. To view answers, simply click on a question to learn more.
- Can Students enroll part time in Palmetto State E-cademy?
- PSE is a public school, not simply an online program. Students cannot attend two public schools at the same time. In other words, a student enrolled in his or her local brick and mortar high school cannot be enrolled at Palmetto State E-cademy at the same time.
- How soon can we enroll in Palmetto State E-cademy?
- Applications are accepted at any time. While it is usually best to begin at a new school at the beginning of a semester, we recognize that there are circumstances that warrant enrollment throughout the school year. We will give you a call when we receive your application and discuss your individual enrollment circumstances.
- Is Palmetto State E-cademy a private school?
- No, Palmetto State E-cademy is a free, public high school. It is part of the South Carolina Public Charter School District.
- Is Palmetto State E-cademy located in South Carolina or is it managed by a company in another state?
- Palmetto State E-cademy is fully controlled by its Board of Directors, and is not affiliated in any way with a national online learning corporation or other for-profit entity. We are an approved 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
- What types of student activities are available at Palmetto State E-cademy?
- Palmetto State E-cademy students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of social activities. We encourage participation in community service projects, such as Habitat for Humanity. We offer field trips to locations like Frankie’s Fun Park, Carowinds, and the Riverbanks Zoo. Palmetto State E-cademy also sponsors a Junior/Senior Prom each year where students are invited out for a fun evening of dinner and dancing. There are a variety of student clubs available and we encourage students to let us know if they have an interest or passion they feel would make a great club.
- Do we need to have high-speed Internet access to participate in PSE's online school?
- Dial-up internet access is not an acceptable connection for the amount of online work done by students in PSE. Unfortunately, the reality is that some areas of the state have no other internet option, which should be the only circumstance in which a student should have a dial-up internet connection. Dial-up may be an acceptable temporary back-up solution in the case of a short-term internet outage, but does not provide an online experience that is engaging and motivating for students.
- Does Palmetto State E-cademy provide computers for students?
- No, parents and students are responsible to provide their own computer that will meet the minimum requirements of the school’s online systems. Attending school online requires students to spend a substantial portion of their five school days each week working on a computer. While it is not necessary for a student to have “their own” computer, they will need to have the computer available for their use at least 5 or 6 hours on each of their five weekly school days. Since this computer is your student’s main vehicle for accessing their school content, an older computer that spends more time down that it does working is not going to meet the need.
- Does Palmetto State E-cademy provide Internet access for students?
- No, families are responsible to acquiring their own Internet access through a local Internet Service Provider (ISP). Families are required to demonstrate that they have internet access in their home prior to final acceptance into PSE. Parents must submit a copy of a current cable, DSL, Cell, or Satellite bill as proof of internet. Students are required to attend school 5 days out of every week, and will be marked absent from school if they cannot get on the internet. Lack of internet will not be considered an excused absence from school, and can lead to truancy and release from Palmetto State E-cademy.
- What special software is needed to access courses and participate in school activities?
- Once enrolled in Palmetto State E-cademy, you and your student will have access to our software installation support page which will provide links and installation help for accessing and installing any software that you may need on your computer to complete assignments and access our online learning environment, classes, and coursework.
While PSE does provide security protection in our online learning environment, email, and school applications environment hosted through Google, Palmetto State E-cademy does not provide security, malware, or anti-virus support for your personal computer. It is very important to provide anti-virus protection at a bare minimum on your computer. Other types of filtering software are available to protect your computer from “malware”, “phishing”, and inappropriate internet content. Use these at your discretion. Keeping your student safe on the internet is very important.
- What type of computer is needed to participate in Palmetto State E-cademy?
- If your computer is more than two years old, or hasn’t been maintained for a while, it is a good idea to get a "tune-up". Many computer stores and office supply stores offer this service for a reasonable price. They will also probably want to sell you "new stuff", so buyers beware! You don’t have to use the latest and greatest. "Tried and True" always beats out "Latest and Greatest".
Below is a list of recommended hardware and software for a student computer:
* PC and Mac are both ok. (Teachers use PCs)
* Desktop, Laptop, or Netbook are all fine to use- access to a printer is helpful
* Pentium I Processor (minimum); Atom - Netbooks; iBook or MacBook are good Mac options
* Minimum 512 MB RAM
* 40 GB Hard Drive
* Sound Card and speakers (built-in or external)
* Microphone (for communicating in live class sessions)
* Headset with a built-in microphone is helpful (and quieter)
* Webcam is fine, but is not necessary
* PC - XP (Service Pack 2) or Vista are well-tested. Windows 7 (not fully tested)
* Mac OS - 10.1 or higher
* A Flash Drive is helpful for backing up important files - 2GB
- What type of technical support do you offer for students enrolled in PSE?
- While it is up to the students and parents to ensure that their own personal computer is working properly, we do provide support for common technical issues related to our school and courses. Teachers provide phone and email support for issues related to their specific courses, while our toll-free technical support number, available M-F: 8:00am – 5:00pm EST, provides assistance with school-related software and login issues.
Online Learning Environment
- How do I get help from my teachers if I have questions or need extra help?
- Your teachers will provide feedback on any assignments or projects you complete. You can also contact your teacher via email, by phone, or Instant Message. Each teacher has regularly scheduled online office hours. During that time, you may interact with your teacher and other students in real time through the virtual classroom.
All students are also assigned a Homeroom teacher who tracks general academic progress. Learning coaches are available in Math and English to assist you with subject-specific tutoring and time management skills.
- How much time does it take to complete a course?
- Completion of a one-credit course depends on the student’s personalized learning track. Palmetto State E-cademy operates on a block schedule. Students take fewer courses at a time, but complete an entire course in one semester. This allows accelerated students to complete more courses in less time and also gives flexibility for all students to complete courses at an individualized pace.
- How will I know what to do in my classes?
- Course pace charts are provided in each course. These charts guide you through your work, and provide weekly suggested due dates and assignments to help you plan your work and stay on track to complete the course by the end of the semester. A complete orientation is provided to all students before they begin school.
- How will I “go to school” using my computer at home?
- One of the key benefits of Palmetto State E-cademy is our innovative virtual learning environment that can be accessed from any newer computer with an internet connection. Our school’s virtual campus uses a robust learning management system (LMS) to give students and parents secure access to course materials, interactive tutorials, online textbooks, and internet-based assessments.
- Our family/student often travels. How would travel affect student progress and course participation at Palmetto State E-cademy?
- Students can access their courses from any computer with an internet connection. Since we are a state public high school, weekly attendance is monitored and required for all enrolled students at PSE. Students must login and complete course work five days-per-week, but again, this can be done from any computer with an internet connection. Students should notify their teachers by email if they will be unable to access the internet for a period of time. Doctor's notes are the only acceptable proof for excused absences longer than three consecutive days.
- Does Palmetto State E-cademy offer all the courses my child will need to graduate?
- Yes, as a fully accredited South Carolina school, we offer a full-spectrum of courses. We offer four specialized curriculum tracks that can incorporate courses ranging from Advanced Placement, Honors, College Prep, and specialized credit recovery and remedial courses.
- Does Palmetto State E-cademy offer any individualized learning opportunities?
- Yes. You may choose from four unique tracks designed to meet your student’s academic needs:
* ACCELERATED Track - Students complete Honors and AP courses. Credit is available for dual enrollment and college courses. Students will graduate in 3-4 years with the potential to complete a number of college courses.
* STANDARD Track - Students complete Standard or Honors courses. Credit is available for dual enrollment courses. Students will graduate in 3-4 years.
* ADAPTIVE Track - Students complete Standard courses at an adjusted rate. Students will graduate in 4-5 years.
* CAREER PREP Track - Students complete Standard and Vocational courses. In grade 12, students may earn credits towards graduation through on-the-job training and internships.
- Is Palmetto State E-cademy the same as home schooling?
- No. Although Palmetto State E-cademy offers many of the same benefits as home schooling (such as flexibility and parental involvement), there are several key differences: (1) Palmetto State E-cademy students are taught by highly qualified, state-certified teachers, (2) students participate in standardized testing, and (3) students are held to South Carolina state curriculum standards.
- My child has an IEP and has been enrolled in Special Education in our local school district. Does Palmetto State E-cademy enroll students with special needs?
- Yes, Palmetto State E-cademy enrolls students with special needs. The main issue to be considered is whether or not the independent nature of online instruction will be the best fit for a special needs student. Palmetto State E-cademy’s Special Education Coordinator will discuss your child's situation with you.
- My child has been doing home school up until now. Will my home school credits transfer to PSE?
- Because every home school curriculum is different, our counselors will need to review all documentation you have of your child's high school work. We will compare it with South Carolina state requirements to determine your student’s eligibility for transfer credits.
- My child is currently enrolled in a traditional, year-long school. How will PSE's block schedule affect his progress towards graduation?
- If you enroll in PSE at the beginning of the year, there will be no issues with transfer credits. However, if you are considering enrolling your student during the second semester, then your child may be able to transfer only ½ credits for some core courses. Since the block schedule allows for more courses to be taken by students, your child will be able to make up for missing credits in subsequent semesters at PSE.
- Will credits from my other high school transfer to PSE?
- If your child has been attending a state-accredited high school, then your credits should transfer to PSE. Our guidance counselor will need to review your transfer transcripts to determine eligibility for transfer credits.
- Will my child receive a South Carolina high school diploma upon graduation from Palmetto State E-cademy?
- Yes, students who complete all graduation requirements will earn a state-certified South Carolina high school diploma.