Frequently Asked Questions
Excelsior Classes Calendar
Is there a calendar for the school year?
SCHOOL YEAR 2022-2023
- Fall classes begin August 15
- Fall break week of October 3
- Thanksgiving break week of November 21
- Final week of classes week of December 5
Excelsior Classes allows registration through Friday of the first week of class of fall and full-year courses, but it may close earlier if courses are full.
- Spring classes begin January 9
- Mid-winter break week of February 27
- Spring break week of April 10
- Final week of classes week of May 1
Excelsior Classes allows registration through Thursday of the first week of spring semester courses, but it may close earlier if courses are full.
Are classes held on national holidays?
In order to finish our 15 week semester schedule, we do not take off for holidays that fall on national holidays (e.g.., Labor Day). Teachers may, at their discretion, reschedule the class, or students may always watch the recording the next day or at their earliest convenience. Please see the question above for our overall schedule and break weeks.
How Does Excelsior Classes Work?
How Does It Work?
Students attend a live class once per week for a 15 week semester (30 weeks for full-year courses). We use Zoom for our live classroom experience. It is a highly interactive platform. If students cannot attend class in person, they are able to watch a recording of the class. Students turn in work to their teacher via the learning management system; all work is submitted electronically. We use Canvas for our LMS. Teachers provide lecture and instruction as well as grading. Your student will receive feedback from someone with significant subject matter expertise. At the end of the course, teachers send a final grade verification as a PDF file. Parents can also print out the gradebook if desired.
Our goal is for students to be independent learners, but this happens along an individualized curve. Younger students will need the support of a parent to ensure work is done outside of class; our hope is that older students are eventually able to organize and manage their learning themselves. Parents are always copied on emails from teachers to student(s) to keep parents informed.
Is this organization accredited?
Excelsior Classes is a Supplementary Education Center/Program: Fully Accredited by by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
To learn more about what that means and how it works, please visit this page.
Are you NCAA approved?
Yes, many of our courses are approved by the NCAA. See a course listing here.
Please note that we are not able to modify our NCAA classes for learning disabilities or differences. Any NCAA student with learning differences or disabilities must discuss the matter with the individual teacher(s) PRIOR TO ENROLLMENT to ensure the course will be a good fit. Failure to disclose disabilities or difficulties and discussing whether the class is appropriate for the student may result in dismissal of the student from the class. Refunds will not be issued in such circumstances.
What can I expect from the teacher?
Teachers provide online instruction, feedback, grading, and testing for the course, as well as accountability. Our teachers will treat your student with respect and interact with them in an encouraging manner. All teachers provide an email and a phone number and are available to answer targeted questions or for brief meetings in the classroom by appointment with enough notice.
Our standard of practice is that teachers and administration will respond to email within 24 hours of receipt excluding weekends and holidays. Please recognize that teachers live across the continental US, and that teachers and administration may not respond to communication received in their evening time until the next day.
Teachers are not private tutors, so we ask that both parents and students understand that teachers are not able to provide unlimited amounts of time in responding to questions or for outside-class meetings.
How will the teacher know if my student is mastering the concepts and work?
Teachers are able to interact with students during class using a chat feature to answer questions and ensure student understanding. Away from class, our Learning Management System (LMS) allows your student to take quizzes and tests, submit papers or other work, and discuss in small groups with the teacher or with other students. The teacher will assign grades, and monitor student progress over the course of the semester looking for advances in skills and knowledge. Aside from quizzes and tests, teachers will use projects, discussion posts, and papers graded by rubrics to discern student mastery.
Parents may view the gradebook at any time by logging in as your student or using the parent app. At the end of the semester or year, parents may print out the gradebook. The teacher will send a final grade to parents via PDF at the end of the course.
What is required of the parent?
For junior high and high school students, the parent should provide general oversight of the student’s work. Parents should ensure that the student attends class, has the proper materials, and is progressing. This is easily done by logging in as your student and checking the gradebook on a weekly basis. Teachers will do the grading of quizzes, tests, and other projects. Providing class materials and a functioning computer and microphone is crucial as well.
For younger students, the parent should provide general oversight as described above and assist the student with ensuring that all assignments are complete. We advise that a parent or older sibling with a measure of keyboarding skills sit with or near your pupil for the first several classes to see what works best for your student. Your student may need a few small assists navigating the technology.
What order should courses be taken in?
We have some flowcharts at the top of the class catalog and a suggested grade level pathway to show you some typical course sequences, but there is much freedom and variety in a homeschool setting. Feel free to write to email@example.com to request a subject matter teacher who can provide guidance or an evaluation of previous work.
Please see information on how to properly place your student here.
My child has learning difficulties. Do teachers make accommodations for that?
This answer to this question is dependent upon individual teacher capability, knowledge set to work with the student, parent involvement, and our learning management system limitations. For NCAA students, our classes cannot be modified or changed.
NOTE: Please contact any teacher prior to enrollment to make sure the class, pace, and the instructor are a good fit for your student. Teachers do want to know about any special circumstances your student may face prior to paying the deposit and enrolling. A proper fit and placement are foundational for a good educational experience. Individual teachers can best advise whether the course is a fit and what accommodations can be made.
Generally, our teachers teach to the syllabus and cannot sacrifice content in order to stay in alignment with educational goals, class participant expectations, and NCAA approval of our courses. Many of the classes build on sequential knowledge, so accommodations are usually limited to those that do not eliminate assignments or require only minor modifications. We do not slow the pace or eliminate assignments in a course.
Refunds of a deposit are not provided for lack of consultation of the teacher prior to enrollment; refunds of tuition paid to the teacher are not provided after the first week of class should the teacher not have been consulted prior to enrollment. (Please see this part of our FAQ for more information as well as our current refund policy.)
What if my student cannot attend all of the classes?
Classes are recorded and can be viewed on a computer or a smartphone. The chat is not recorded in the main viewing recording, but a transcript of “chat” is available. Students are responsible for the material covered in class, so the recording should be viewed as soon as possible.
How do teachers handle late work?
Teachers are responsible for setting their individual late work policies and for due dates while hoping to provide firm accountability for your student. If a student must miss work due to illness or death in the family, please notify the teacher as soon as possible. If the student will miss due to vacation or other school opportunities, please notify the teacher well in advance. In order to keep our grading turnaround timely, most teachers do not typically accept or grade late work, but work may be acquired in advance.
If your student runs into a technical problem, a screenshot is helpful and should be sent to the teacher immediately. Some teachers may require parent verification.
NOTE: Excelsior Classes courses run to a strict calendar schedule; it is not possible to provide students with open windows of late submission. In order to maintain our high standards and course integrity, we do not excuse major assignments or large amounts of work, nor do we allow unlimited access to our materials past the date of course completion.
How much time is required by the student each week?
Each student will be provided work equivalent to the other four days of the “work week.” The amount of time each day will vary based on the student and based on the class level. However, it is reasonable to assume that anywhere between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours will be required to complete each homework assignment. The assignments for the upcoming week are posted prior to class on a weekly page in the Learning Management System (LMS).
For students involved in Independent Study, this will vary and must be addressed by the individual teacher.
What is auditing?
Can private school or homeschool co-op students take courses?
Absolutely! We welcome all students who are ready to learn! Students have used our courses to provide access and education for courses not available in their own academic setting.
If your organization would like to sign up multiple students for a particular course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss financial arrangements.
What is the religous content of your classes?
We like to say that our courses are couched in a Christian worldview. Anyone may take courses with Excelsior Classes!
All teachers must sign a statement of faith regarding affirmation of the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed among other things, but students and parents are not required to do so. You can learn more about our story and our vision here.
If you are concerned about the religious content of classes, you should know that many teachers do pray with their students at the beginning of class and that the courses are unapologetically couched in a Christian worldview. Some courses use textbooks or materials from Christian content providers, but most courses do not. Classes are taught from a broad (i.e., non-denominational) Christian perspective. Students are never asked to pray aloud, and they are never singled out for religious questions.
All teachers share core beliefs, and we believe that all people groups, in history and present times, are worth our respect. Teachers teach from a biblical and academic perspective while treating all with courtesy. We expect students to extend the same respect to the teacher and to others.
If you have specific questions about a particular teacher or class, please feel free to contact the teacher directly or write to email@example.com.
Parents are ultimately responsible for determining if courses are a good fit for their family, but we want to help you in your determination by forthrightly answering any questions you have. No refunds are provided for objections to course content or course delivery of said content.
Where can I purchase textbooks?
All books and textbooks are available via Amazon or Barnes & Noble, as well as other vendors such as Christian Book Distributors. In some instances, a teacher may provide PDFs of work for the students. There is a private Facebook group for Excelsior families to connect with used resources for our courses.
How can we test a class?
While we do not allow non-students into our live classes, each teacher’s bio page contains a short introductory video. Our YouTube channel also contains many teacher recordings and presentations. You may also contact a teacher for a sample recording. (New teachers may not have a recording available until the end of the fall semester.)
How will my student attend class?
Classes meet live and online using our virtual online platform, Zoom. The link for access will be posted on the home page of the individual classrooms.
Your computer should operate with Windows 8 or higher if you think your student may need to access recordings. See here for more information on technical requirements for Windows and Mac. Phone users will not be able to fully participate in class, so this is not recommended as a regular means of attendance.
Some classes (e.g., foreign language courses) do require a functioning headset microphone; the computer’s built-in microphone is not sufficient for these courses. Others may require camera presence. Sometimes teachers require student video and microphone use for assignments such as presentations. There are no exceptions for participation in this regard. Check with individual teachers to find out if a particular course requires such presentations. Learn more about our camera use in Zoom here.
The primary thing your student will need for both the live classroom and the Learning Management System (LMS) is reliable internet service: the faster, the better!
How will my student access the class recordings?
Class recordings are posted in our Learning Management System (LMS). The recording is the video of the class presentation only; chat messages are not recorded within the video.
Your computer should operate with Windows 8 or higher if you think your student may need to access recordings. See here for more information on technical requirements for Windows and Mac.
What do we need to purchase or have in order to attend class and to effectively work in the LMS?
High speed internet and a functioning computer installed with Microsoft Office products (or similar software such as Google Docs) will create a strong foundation for your student’s participation. Students with dial-up access, with satellite access in remote areas, or without processing software often struggle in online classes.
Students should use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari as browser access for our Learning Management System Canvas when using a desktop or laptop. We have found that Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer are not as reliable and may cause your student problems. Safari, at times, may not work for certain functions, and your student will have to use another browser to complete a task; for example, recording a video within Canvas. Additionally, some students do not like the small screens and limited capabilities of both iPads and Chromebooks although both Canvas and Zoom are functional in our environments. If a student is using an iPad, it may be necessary to use the Canvas app and not access Canvas through a browser. (Things are generally more complicated with Apple products.)
Students need to purchase a headset/microphone combo so that they can participate in class discussion. These can be purchased for around $15.
Each class will also require the purchase of various books, which are listed in the class description.
Some teachers may assess a supply fee. This fee may cover the cost of user licenses for your student’s access to various online materials, including pdfs of textbooks, access to websites used for the class, or actual physical materials deemed necessary by the teacher. Such materials would be mailed to your student.
CANVAS SPECIFIC INFORMATION
Canvas describes their browser and computer requirements here.
Some classes may require access to Google email for use with Google Docs or Google Sites for work within the Canvas LMS. Parents may acquire a Google Gmail account expressly for this purpose and monitor it if they do not have a Google account.
ZOOM SPECIFIC INFORMATION
Many Excelsior instructors allow students to utilize Zoom’s “annotate” feature during live class for various activities such as circling answers, labeling diagrams, etc. Unfortunately, annotation is not available for all our Zoom’s methods of joining a meeting. Checking the client comparison chart, annotation may not be available for Chromebooks, iPads and Macbooks.
If you do not have the annotate option, Zoom offers the following suggestions:
Registration & Financial Questions
How do I register for classes?
Prior to registering, please make sure you have read the class description(s), completed any required placement exams (for math or foreign language), and are familiar with our refund policies articulated below. If your student has special needs, please communicate with the teacher prior to enrolling to ensure the course will be a proper fit.
CREATE AN ACCOUNT
To register for a class, please first create an account and pay the school year registration fee. The registration fee is good for the school year for which you are registering and enables you to register your students for all courses. Your students will be provided with LMS technology access for the entire school year for which you have registered them. After creating your account and paying the registration fee, you will be able to purchase classes or studies for individual students, one shopping cart at a time. You will be charged 30% of the tuition total for classes and studies. This deposit holds the seat for your student. Please see below regarding financial arrangements. You may login to your account at any time to see your class memberships. For a detailed explanation, please see How to Register.
It is always possible to view all details of the class, including tuition, time, and required materials, by viewing each class description. Being logged into an account is not required to view course details.
How can I change my demographic information in the registration system?
You may access your information in the “Account Details” located in the top blue bar. In Account Details, click “My Addresses” and then edit the addresses. Your phone number and email addresses may be also be changed there.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to change information in the learning management system or to alert teachers to your email change.
How Do I Renew My Registration Fee/Account for the Next School Year?
If you are a returning member, your registration fee must be renewed for each school year. The first time you log in after January 31 of any year, you will immediately be taken to a screen to renew your account and pay the registration fee. After January 31, you may renew using the following discount code: excelsior2022reg.
If you decide not to renew immediately, you will still be able to log in and use the site; however, you will not see course pricing or be able to add items to the shopping cart until the account is renewed and the registration fee is paid.
Once you are ready to renew your account, click on the “Create an Account” button that appears on any course or visit your Account Details and click on the “Renew” option under “My Registration.”
What are class minimum and maximum numbers? What if the class I want is full?
All classes have a minimum of 5 students. If the minimum is not met a few weeks before classes, you will be notified by Registration and provided with options or a full refund.
Class maximums are set by individual teachers, but they do not usually exceed 28 students.
Should a class reach capacity, a wait list will be established in some cases. Spaces will be allocated to the waitlist as openings become available. To join the waitlist, email email@example.com with your student’s name and the course requested. Frequently space does become available, even in August!
May I register for a course in progress?
Once registration has closed for a course, it is closed for that time period. Sometimes teachers allow students to join a full-year course for the spring semester only. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to register mid-year, and our staff will see if the teacher and course are open to late registrants.
How much are courses and studies?
Courses are sold a la carte (individually). Tuition information can be found on the individual course pages. If you click on a course page and then cursor down, you’ll find a group of gray boxes with schedule, tuition, etc. In general, classes are $225 for one semester courses and $450 for full-year upper elementary courses; junior high and high school courses are typically $275 for one semester and $550. Full-year math courses which meet twice per week are $600. Independent studies are $325 or $350 depending on content and customization.
The next question details how to pay and what percentages to pay when.
What are the financial arrangements for classes and studies?
Parents pay a family registration fee of $50 per school year. See How to Register for any current discount codes for the family registration fee. Class and study sign up entails a 30% non-refundable tuition deposit to Excelsior Classes, LLC to hold the seat. (There is a small discount available for overseas missionaries or active duty military. Please write to email@example.com for a registration code and include your service area and organization.) The remaining tuition balance is billed by and is due to the individual teachers by August 10, 2022 for full-year and fall semester classes, or by January 1, 2023 for spring semester classes. Families registering after classes have started do not receive any time extensions for payment. (See May I Register for a Course in Progress above.)
Some teachers may assess a supply fee. This fee may cover the cost of user licenses for your student’s access to various online materials, including pdfs of textbooks, access to websites used for the class, or actual physical materials deemed necessary by the teacher. Such materials would be mailed to your student. The supply fee is due when the tuition is due; please see above for due dates.
If the tuition is for dual credit one-semester courses, then the deposit and tuition should be paid in accordance with Excelsior Classes’ timeline (see above). Dual enrollment students will also enroll with LETU, paying $90 per credit hour for the class. Dual credit fees will be billed by LETU and are payable directly to them. If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there payment plans available?
The consortium has split the tuition payment into a non-refundable deposit of 30% due at time of purchase, and then a second payment billed by and due to the indivudal teacher(s) in August 10 for fall and full-year courses or January 1 for spring courses. We open registration in February each year for the next school year, far in advance of classes starting, in order to help with financial planning.
Unfortunately, teachers are not allowed to accept payment plans under consortium practices.
What is the refund policy for family registration, classes, and independent study?
Prior to registering, please make sure you have read the class description(s), have met the prerequisites for the course, and have completed any required placement exams (for math or foreign language). We ask that you become familiar with our refund policies articulated below.
Math placement exams are required for students; if you register for a math course prior to receiving teacher feedback and decide to withdraw from the course, the deposit remains non-refundable. The deposit is transferable to another math course or another course for the current school year.
If your student has special learning needs, please communicate with the teacher prior to enrolling to ensure the course will be a proper fit.
The family registration is nonrefundable as is the deposit paid to Excelsior Classes for classes and studies. When a family registers, we take the commitment seriously as the spot is reserved for that student and may prevent others from registering.
Beginning November 2019, if payments to teachers are made by electronic means (PayPal, Zelle, etc.) and a parent decides to drop a course within the timeframes above, any service fees charged by the merchant third-party service provider will not be included in the refund from the teacher. If the class is canceled due to the minimum not being met, you will receive a full refund for the class.
The refund policy and dates for SY 2022-2023 are:
- Student drops between registration and Saturday, August 13, 2022 (fall and full-year) or Saturday, January 7, 2022 = 100% refund of funds paid directly to teacher minus any electronic submission fees; deposit to Excelsior is non-refundable.
- Student drops during the first week of class (by Friday, August 19, 2022 — 5:00 PM or Friday, January 13, 2023 — 5:00 PM) = 50% refund of funds paid directly to the teacher minus any electronic submission fees; the deposit to Excelsior is nonrefundable.
- After the first week of class (by Saturday, August 20, 2022 or Saturday, January 14, 2023), there is no refund. (Full-year courses with two teachers are considered full-year courses.)
- There are no refunds for students who register after a class has started, and payment must be complete before joining the class.
There are no refunds of online license fees (e.g., Big Ideas Math Lab), “Night School” seminar enrollments, or club fees if the parent cancels the registration..
Please contact email@example.com and your teacher when dropping from a class.
If the class is canceled due to the minimum not being met, you will receive a full refund for the class.
If you are changing to a different class, the deposit is transferable to a different class deposit within the same family for the current school year only. Deposits may not be transferred to a teacher for payment of tuition.
What are the financial arrangements for clubs?
Parents pay a family registration fee of $50 per school year. See How to Register for the registration process.
There is no deposit to sign up for a club membership although you will register for the club via the website just as you would for a course or study. Club memberships are priced individually, and registration is per student and is billed by Excelsior Classes via PayPal prior to the commencement of the club. These fees are usually nominal.
Please be advised: There are no refunds for clubs. If club attendance dwindles during the course of the year making the club unviable, there are no prorated refunds of club membership(s).
May I transfer or switch classes or clubs?
If a parent wishes to transfer a class registration to another Excelsior teacher before the end of the first week of classes, the parent should inform both Registration (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the teacher of the class from which the student will be transferred. Parents will make a payment of $20.00 to the transferring teacher to cover costs.
Club memberships may not be transferred once the club has started.
Do you offer discounts or scholarships?
Excelsior Classes takes financial matters seriously. We realize that all are called to be good stewards of finances, and our promise is to treat your commitment to Excelsior Classes’ services with the respect it deserves.
For this reason, we typically do not offer deep discounts. Our experience has been that deeply discounted classes do not produce long-term sustainability for families or for teachers.
Overseas missionaries (living overseas 100% of the time and with a sponsoring organization) and active duty military personnel may write to email@example.com for a discount code. The code must be applied before registration in order to receive the discount.
How do I pay using charter school or state scholarship funds?
If you need to pay using charter school or state scholarship funds, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process. We are on ClassWallet for the Arizona State Department of Education.
What is your Statement of Faith?
All teachers must sign a statement of faith regarding affirmation of the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed among other things, but students and parents are not required to do so. You can learn more about our story and our vision here.
Parents and students are not required to sign a statement of faith.
How can I join in the fun and teach?
If you are interested in joining the consortium, we’d like to hear from you. Please visit this page for more information.