How It Works

How Online Elementary School Works

Who can attend?

The Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS) elementary program serves students in grades 3–5 who reside in the state of Texas.

What are the costs?

Since Texas Online Preparatory School is a public school program, there is no tuition. TOPS provides a state-certified teacher and all instructional materials for the program. However, students and families will be responsible for providing some consumable materials (such as printer ink and paper). In addition, families are required to provide their own computers and internet access to participate in the program. In certain cases, based on financial need, TOPS may loan a computer to an enrolling family. This determination will take place during the enrollment process.

What’s my role as a parent?

As a parent, you (or another responsible adult you choose) serve as your child’s Learning Coach. You’ll work with your child’s teacher to help record student attendance, monitor mastery of online lessons and assessments, and review student work.

Parent/Learning Coach involvement is vital to your child’s success, especially at the elementary level. The typical Learning Coach time commitment in grades 3–5 is 4–6 hours a day. The initial 4–8 weeks can be intensive, as your family settles into a routine. Parent/Learning Coach involvement is essential for about 70–80 percent of school time and approximately 25–50 percent of this time is online.

Mastering Lessons

In the elementary grades, students are required to show mastery of each lesson by achieving 80 percent or better on all lesson assessments. If your child is having difficulty mastering a lesson, let their homeroom teacher know as soon as possible. Teachers offer many support sessions to help students gain mastery.

Working with Your Teacher

Teachers provide individual and small group assistance via online synchronous sessions called “Class Connects.” Students are expected to attend all required Class Connects and meet with their teacher to receive course assistance, tutoring, and instruction. Class Connects vary by grade level and are scheduled by your teacher.

Time Commitment

Attendance is logged Monday through Friday; however, academic progress can be achieved during the weekends as well. Students in grades 3–5 are expected to spend approximately 5–7 hours of effective schoolwork 5 days per week.

State Testing