How It Works
How Online Middle School Works
Who can attend?
The Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS) middle school program serves students in grades 6–8 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 is my role as a parent?
Middle school is a time when students become more independent, taking on more responsibility and ownership for their learning and working more directly with their teachers. But parent involvement is still critical to student success. As a parent, you (or another responsible adult you choose) serve as your child's Learning Coach.
While teachers set the pace of instruction, the Learning Coach helps their student stay on track. Parent/Learning Coach involvement is essential for at least 20 hours a week and roughly 50–60 percent of this time is online. The initial 4–8 weeks can be intensive as your family settles into a routine.
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.
Expectations for Completing Schoolwork
In middle school, student learning changes to a semester-based approach where students are required to earn a passing grade on their assignments and online lessons. Due dates are assigned to lessons to encourage consistent, steady progress for academic success.
While online lessons can usually be completed at any time of day, students are required to attend teacher-led, direct-instruction, online synchronous Class Connect sessions. During Class Connects, students receive online instruction from teachers and have opportunities to interact virtually with classmates.
Attending Class Connects and completing coursework according to the assigned pacing schedule, will help set up your student for success.
Attendance is logged Monday through Friday; however, academic progress can be achieved during the weekends as well. Middle School students are expected to spend approximately 4–7 hours on schoolwork per school day.
Email is the primary form of communication between the school and families. Learning Coaches and students are required to check and respond to emails on a daily basis.
Families enrolling at TOPS must be willing to participate in all required areas of the program.
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Ready to Join Us?
Get the process started by creating a Parent Portal account or logging in to your existing account.