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Frequently Asked Questions

When may I drop off my child at school in the morning?

North Campus – the doors open at 7:45 am, school begins at 8:00 am
South Campus – the doors open at 8:00 am, school begins at 8:15 am

Before School Care begins at 7:00 am at both campuses. Any student entering the building, regardless of grade, must go to Before School Care. Charges will be applied as listed in the Parent/Student Handbook.

When do I pick up my child from school?

South Campus, grades PreK & Kindergarten – pick up begins at 2:55 pm
South Campus, grades 1-3 – pick up begins at 3:05 pm
North Campus, grades 4-6 – pick up begins at 3:10 pm
North Campus, grades 7-12 – pick up begins at 3:20 pm

All students left after pick up time is over will be sent to After School Care, regardless of grade. Charges will be applied as listed in the Parent/Student Handbook.

If my child forgets something, may I drop it off at school?

Yes, please bring it to the appropriate office for our staff to deliver. Parents may not deliver items to a classroom unless given permission by the school office.

Can I come eat lunch with my child?

Yes, we do not need advance notice. All parents/visitors must sign in at the office and they will be directed to the lunchroom.

What do I need to do if my child will be absent or needs to leave school early/late for school due to an appointment?

We ask that you please call the office by 9:00 am or send an email to vcaattendance@vcacademy.info. For students needing to leave early, your child will be dismissed from the classroom and will meet you in the office. Please do not go to your student’s classroom to retrieve him/her. Students arriving late from an appointment must check in at the office and bring with them a doctor’s note (not an appointment card). Students will then be given a pass to their class.

How do I log in to Sycamore Education?

Go to sycamoreeducation.com and enter the school ID (1613), your username and password. If you have forgotten this information, please call one of the school offices and we will be happy to get it for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Chromebooks

What does the $300 cost of the Chromebook cover?

We are purchasing the 4gb model for $240 each. We are charging the additional $60 to cover software as well. The total price includes the $30 registration fee that Google charges to make the device a part of our Google Apps for Education domain. It also covers the cost of GoGuardian which is $20. We rounded up as costs will fluctuate depending on the final number of licenses purchased.

Why did you choose this model?

The Dell Chromebook 11’s have proven the most rugged of all the Chromebooks that I have worked with so far. The Asus models proved not as sturdy as we had hoped. We want them to last at least 3 years and with the 4GB of RAM, we hope to get 4 years out of them.

Does the school provide a warranty for the Chromebook if I purchase it outright or rent it from the school?

Yes. We will cover any warranty repairs for the year if you purchase outright from us or rent from us. We will also provide you a loaner while the Chromebook is getting fixed. This covers hardware failures, but not break/fix issues from abuse. The Chromebook model is very sturdy and can take a 4 foot drop as well as most fluid spills on the keyboard. It is designed to be fixed by staff at the school and can easily be repaired. (Within limits) Depending on the circumstances, we may have to charge time and materials for a break/fix issue.

Can I give my child a Windows laptop or Mac Book to use instead?

No. The reason is the ability of a teacher to control the classroom environment and the school to be able to filter and monitor things. Google Chrome is one of the easiest and cheapest to do this with. Windows and Mac would require additional servers and cloud services to manage and therefore add a great deal of cost and complexity to the IT environment.

Can I buy a cheaper Chromebook? (Bring Your Own Device)

Yes you can. We recommend the tougher Chromebooks because of durability. However, there are Chromebooks available for as low as $150 or even less if you look hard enough. I can tell you that those models will not hold up to being dropped or spilled on. They are also not very serviceable. We recommend that if you do buy your own, that it has 4GB of RAM to accommodate multitasking better. As your student moves up in grades, this will aid in speed and productivity as teachers rely more on digital content and assignments. If you purchase your own, you will need to pay the $40 per year BYOD fee to cover licensing costs. VCA cannot be responsible for fixing a non-VCA purchased Chromebook.

What do you need to do to a Chromebook that I provide?

This is important. If possible, please do not use the Chromebook before the school IT staff registers it to the school domain. If you already have a Chromebook, we will have to wipe the device completely and you will lose any locally stored data on it. This is because Google Apps for Education must have complete control over the device to ensure a safe computing environment in and away from school.

Will my child be able to access their own personal email accounts and social networking accounts?

Yes. The school will be blocking social networking sites during class hours, but not outside of the campus. If your child has a personal Google email account, it can be added to the email profile.

What about privacy and internet safety?

VCA will be using a cloud service called GoGuardian. It will allow the teachers to view student screens during class, close browsing windows, and send messages to individual students or the class as a whole. Categories of web sites such as porn and gambling will be filtered. Regardless of filter settings, the dean of students will get notifications of worrisome web sites and search terms such as suicide or drugs. One example was a teacher's child that was doing a speech on suicide. The admin got flagged and he approached the teacher about it. Once he realized that it was for a speech, the flag was cleared. If you have a website that is blocked that your child needs access too, they will be able to send the admin a request to whitelist it. The first year we did this, we had quite a few requests and added them as needed. There have been quite a few requests for students to be able to add extensions and wallpapers and other things to the Chromebooks. Our IT coordinator is still working out ways for students to personalize their Chromebooks but not compromise safety. Because there are so many extensions that would allow students to bypass our filters, we will always err on the side of caution.

Will I be able to check my child's internet activity?

Not yet. As of now, only an IT admin can check internet activity. You may email VCA.IT.Admin@vcacademy.info to make a request to have your child's history emailed to you. It is a request we have made to GoGuardian to provide a parent login. There is no timeline yet on if such a feature will be implemented.

Can I prevent my child from accessing the internet after certain hours?

Not yet. As a school, we can turn on and off certain filters manually. Soon we will be able to set time schedules for student devices as a whole. We hope that GoGuardian will be able to have a parental service eventually. One of our parents and staff members, Mari Elea, has been using Disney Circle to control not only internet access of her children’s Chromebooks, but also their tablets and cell phones. I’ve asked her to log her experience over the summer and to share it one evening with parents and staff when VCA hosts an open house.

Can my child use the Chromebook instead of needed a graphing calculator?

We have had several questions regarding the need for a graphing calculator if the student has a Chromebook. It will be up to the teacher if the Chromebook will be allowed instead of the calculator. There is a Chrome app that will allow a graphing calculator to be used while the Chromebook is offline. We are working on making that a standard app for all students. The online iStep testing system includes a calculator at appropriate times during testing. At this time the SAT and ACT tests do not allow for a Chromebook to be used. We will be regularly tracking this subject as it is sure to change over the coming months. For now, please discuss with your child's teacher about their requirements. This will be news to the teacher as well. We will be conducting training in August before school starts for the teachers.

North Campus

Grades 4-12

360 N 325 E
Valparaiso, IN 46383

South Campus

Grades PreK – 3rd

3805 Laporte Ave
Valparaiso, IN 46383