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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Specific to the Stride Program


Why was Stride selected to deliver Independent Study?

The District partnership with Stride allows the District to provide California certified teachers who have been extensively trained in virtual learning without disenrolling PAUSD students. Stride has specifically designed its program to meet the requirements of AB130 so we can be confident that we are in compliance with AB130. Stride works directly and closely with District staff, who can monitor progress and engagement. More about Stride:

How will students work in/with Stride?

Students will have both live interaction, synchronous learning, and asynchronous learning. Exact minutes/times for each will depend on class and grade level. Once VISP is selected, the student's teachers shall provide specific details about the schedule/Syllabus. To learn more about the classroom platform, please visit

How do parents track progress?

Parents will have their own account in the platform allowing them access to their children's accounts. Parents may access detailed information concerning progress in the various courses, grades and upcoming assignments or projects. Additionally, parents are CC'd in all communications sent to the student's email account from Stride instructors.

What courses does Stride offer?

PAUSD has partnered with Stride to offer courses aligned with PAUSD courses. Students will be enrolled in classes that are similar to their course selections for this year's in-person classes. Students will be enrolled in 4 core and 2 electives. Students may be approved for an additional course on a case-by-case basis, if required for graduation. The full Stride course list will not be available for open selection.

How is Stride different from the PAUSD Curriculum?

The Stride curriculum and PAUSD curriculum only share the same common core state standards. Students are expected to work on the same or similar skills, but the instructional delivery, materials, assignments, and textbooks may be different.

If a child moves from in person to online or vice versa, how will it work if the curriculum is different?

Just as if your child changed schools mid-year, the receiving teacher will do their best to get your child up to speed as quickly as possible. Some instructions will not be able to be made up. The Stride teachers and PAUSD teachers will work together on transferring grades, etc.

How many students anticipated per class by elementary, middle, high?

A single subject middle/high school teacher can have up to 175 students. This would average out to 30 students in a 6-period day, 35 students in a 5-period day, etc. An elementary teacher may have up to 43 students.

How will the teacher interact with the student?

AB130 requires that synchronous learning or daily interaction be provided with guidelines dependent on grade level. The specific schedule is based on the course and the teacher, but all courses will meet the legal requirements for synchronous instruction with a live teacher.

Is a description of the courses and course syllabus available?

Elementary, middle school, and high school course catalogs include details about each course, including course descriptions, materials required, portability, digital first options, and more!

Once the student's courses are submitted, the student will have access to the portal that provides information related to each course. All course offerings for independent study are pre-selected by the District and will not be available for open selection.

What is the grading scale for Stride courses?

  • TK-5 Mastery: 80-100 / Complete: 60-79 / Incomplete: 59 and Below
  • 6-12 A: 90-100 / B: 80-89 / C: 70-79 / D: 60-69 / F: 59 and Below

For the Stride program, what is the level of expected parental involvement as compared to last year's distance learning?

Parents are designated as Learning Coaches through the Stride program. Stride has indicated that for students in grades K-5, the Learning Coach commitment is between 4 to 6 hours per day; for 6-12th grade students, the Learning Coach commitment is 1 to 3 hours per day.

Who is the teacher imparting education? Is it the same teacher who is imparting in-person?

Stride teachers are credentialed teachers, they are not PAUSD teachers, so it will not be the same instructors as in person learning.

Is there a fee to participate in Stride?

Stride is free to all students electing Independent Study as an option.

Will the exact same curriculum be followed by Stride as is followed in in-person settings?

No. Stride courses meet the CA state standards, but they are not aligned in scope, sequence or pacing with PAUSD in-person courses.

Who will be attending Stride classes with my child? Will it only be students from the same grade/same home school?

Every effort is made to pair PAUSD students in Stride classes. The exact makeup of the class depends on the number of students enrolled, so any given class may have students from other districts. Students will be grouped by grade at the elementary and middle level and by course at the secondary level.

Who will be grading Stride assignments and assessments?

Stride assignments and assessments will be graded by Stride teachers.

How many years of experience does Stride have in education?

Stride has over 20 years of experience.

Is Physical Education (PE) mandatory for Independent Study?

Yes. PE is mandatory and will meet required state guidelines.

How will Stride ensure that students meet specific graduation requirements?

Students will remain connected to their school counselor who will be responsible for ensuring course selections are consistent with graduation requirements.

How does Stride do the final exam?

All assignments and assessments are created by Stride teachers. We can not dictate to any teacher the format of an exam, so this will be at the discretion of the Stride teacher.

Questions Related to High School Transcripts, Courses, AP courses and Graduation


How will the grades show up on a student's transcript for VISP? Will it be identified as VISP or will there be no difference?

Transcripts will show AB130 to represent the legislation, IS to represent Independent Study and the course name. Example: AB130IS Algebra 2

How will the transcript of an Independent Study student differ from the transcript of an in-person student?

Transcripts will look the same for in-person students and independent study students except for the course titles as outlined above.

Will students be allowed to take AP/honors courses with another provider?

Some AP courses are offered as part of the PAUSD program through Stride. Honors courses are not offered through Stride. Contact your child's school counselor to inquire about PAUSD guidelines for taking courses elsewhere for credit.

How are high school credits calculated at Stride. Will they still meet the graduation/university requirements?

High school credits will be calculated in the same manner as in-person credits and will meet graduation requirements.

Will students in middle and high school continue to work with their counselors?

Yes, students will continue to be on the caseload of their current counselor.

How will my student fulfill his/her physical educational requirements?

PE minutes are state mandated. Students enrolled in the Stride program will take PE in an online format.

Questions about Enrolling in Independent Study


How do I fill out the form for independent learning? Do I go to the school website?

All forms are on the PAUSD website:

If you choose in-person, it's default and you don't need to do anything right?

Correct. You do not need to do anything if your child is returning in person.

When will online classes start?

For students who submit their Intent Form by noon on Friday, August 6, the Stride program will be available on August 11 and August 12, depending on the student's grade level. If forms are turned in after August 6, the start date will be within 5 days of receipt of the Intent Form.

If students need to quarantine for any reason due to covid-19 for 14 days. Does the student switch back to independent study or will the PAUSD teacher help during that time (just like pre covid time)?

Students who need to quarantine should not enroll in Stride for the quarantine period. The school site will work with students who need to quarantine.

Is there a hybrid option? Half at school, half at home?

No. Student may either enroll fully in Stride or fully In-Person.

Questions about Switching Programs


Can students move to In-Person from Stride and vice versa throughout the year?

Yes, families may choose to move students when in-person learning poses a health risk as determined by the parent/guardian. Once a request is received, we will make the changes and in most cases the student will be able to start within 5 days of the original request.

If a student picks the Independent Study program, is the student still graduating from Gunn or Paly?

Yes. All students are still students in PAUSD and will graduate from their respective high schools.

What is the flexibility to transition from in-person to Independent Study should a health issue arise?

Families may request a change from in person to independent study if a student's health is at risk or may become at risk at some point in the year. However, switching multiple times is not recommended as Stride courses may not align in scope, sequence or pacing, with the PAUSD courses.

If a student moves to Palo Alto later this year (e.g. in December), will they also have the option to sign up for Stride?

Yes. Independent study will be available to all students, new or returning, for the entire year.

If we know that our student will only be in independent study for a few weeks, can we get coursework from their teachers to do during independent study to facilitate the transition back to in person?

No. Once a student is in independent study, that is where their instruction will come from.

How quickly can students get back to the classroom, if desired, after starting with Stride?

Once the request is received by either the principal, counselor or Ana Reyes, all efforts will be made to get the student back to in-person instruction within 5 school days.

If they start in Independent Study, and then switch back to in-person study (e.g., after COVID vaccination), will they be able to come back to their home school?

Every effort will be made to return students to their home school, however we can not guarantee placement at their home school.

Questions about Sports and Extracurricular Activities


How will you prevent the sense of exclusion that arises as a result of not being able to participate in sports, competitions, performances and many other activities?

The program is designed to mitigate health risks, real and perceived. The decision to select in-person vs. independent study is a difficult choice a family must make. A student or family whose health is at risk should consider independent study. If isolation is the primary concern, in-person learning may be the best option. If health is the primary concern, independent study should be considered.

Questions about Special Programs (504, SpEd, EL, Immersion)


Is there EL support provided through Stride?

Stride provides many platform tools for independence as well as live, 24/7, student support from the Academic Support Team (many of whom are bilingual). Stride teachers can support English Learners during synchronous sessions and the #LearnLiveNow teachers are also trained in ELL strategies, incorporating them into each live lesson. However, Stride does not offer additional daily instruction specific to English Learners at this time. Specific EL courses, such as ALD, are not provided.

Is VISP available for immersion students?

Independent study is available to all students, however, immersion classes are not an option through Stride. This means for the duration of the time the student is in Stride, they will not have immersion instruction.

Will my child be allowed to return to a choice program when switching back to in-person learning from Stride?

Every effort will be made to return students to their choice program, however placement is not guaranteed.

For students with special needs, will this online class follow IEP?

Stride has a secure process for receiving IEP's and Section 504 Accommodation Plans and distribution to the appropriate teachers. Stride teachers implement reasonable accommodations and partner with district special education staff to address needed modifications and intensive accommodations. Stride does not offer Special Education Teachers and cannot provide SpEd services minutes included in an IEP. Students who are currently eligible for Special Education and Related Services through an IEP and have an interest in the VISP, must have an IEP meeting to discuss a possible programmatic change prior to enrollment in independent study. The provisions of the IEP must be attached to the written agreement as amended. To schedule a meeting, please contact your child's case manager.

For students with a 504, will this program follow the 504?

Students on a 504 plan who have an interest in the VISP, must have a 504 meeting to discuss a possible programmatic change prior to enrollment. The provisions of the 504 must be attached to the written agreement as amended. To schedule a meeting, please contact your school's 504 Coordinator.

For special needs students, can aids be the student coach?

Please consult with your child's case manager at the meeting (as outlined above).

Questions about Covid-Related School Closures


If the school closes due to Covid, will my child need to enroll in Independent Study?

No. Your child will continue to receive instruction from the regular classroom teacher.

If my child must quarantine, will they be required to enroll in Independent Study?

No. Students will be provided with school work to keep up during the period of quarantine.

Miscellaneous Questions


Will independent learning be offered in 2022-23? Or is this just a one-year program?

The Virtual Independent Study Program is only offered for the 2021-22 school year.

If I have multiple elementary students, how can I do Independent Study?

The supervision requirements for each student vary depending on needs. Parents/Guardians must make their own decision regarding the feasibility of independent study based on your personal situation.

What is the Written Agreement?

The written agreement is an agreement between PAUSD/Stride and parent that outlines the expectations of each party. The number of minutes per day and the type of lesson delivery will be outlined in the written master agreement once the student's schedule is confirmed.

How does Stride exchange information with PAUSD?

Data on all aspects of the school experience can be downloaded from the Reports Center Portal (RCP), i.e., Attendance, Assigned Courses, Synchronous Session Attendance, and more. PAUSD Program Coordinators have access to this information. In addition to the reports that can be pulled, the teachers can also export the Gradebook data and provide to the Administrator.