Common Questions (FAQs)

See below for common questions asked by Vista Virtual School students, parents and guardians. Additional adult student questions can be found in the Adult Upgrading section.

How Many Courses Does Vista Virtual School Offer?

Vista Virtual School offers over 300 courses in the elementary, junior high and senior high levels.

Please see our Courses and Registrations tab and Course Catalogue for more information regarding the courses we offer.

How is Vista Virtual School Similar to a Traditional Classroom Setting for Full-time Students?
  • Students need to enrol in compulsory core courses (Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies) at each grade level.
  • Our goal is to have students complete courses by the end of the school year for both the elementary and junior high programs and by the end of each semester in the high school program.
  • Teachers are always ready to help and expect that students will ask for assistance regarding coursework and assignments.
  • Coursework is done on one unit of study at a time in each course, submitting completed work regularly for evaluation by the teacher or marker.
  • Assignments are typically completed sequentially so knowledge gained in one assignment helps with the next.
  • Students are given feedback by the teacher or marker with the expectation they will follow suggestions to improve in successive assignments.
  • Final marks are based on assignments, quizzes, and supervised exams.
  • Vista Virtual School students receive a monthly mini-report and a final report card each school year.
What will my Online Course Look Like?

Are you curious what your online course will look like once you are registered in your course? View the following walk-through of your online course!

What is the Difference Between an Online and a Print Course?

Elementary and junior high students receive print courses with paper lesson modules and assignment booklets. All elementary courses are in print format, whereas junior high courses can be offered in online or print formats.

Senior high and adult print courses involve downloading and printing assignments/modules (either from the Student Information System (SIS)/Moodle or a Google Doc), then uploading them to Moodle for assessment. Textbooks and additional reading materials are not available online.

Senior high and adult online courses have no additional print materials for purchase besides what is listed in the course materials list (e.g., textbook and reading materials). Lessons are completed online. Assignments are completed online, and/or printed and uploaded (depending on the course). Textbooks and some additional reading materials are not available online.

What is the Difference Between Full-time and Part-time Senior High Studies?

Full-time students take a semester-based course load through Vista Virtual School. Part-time students only take a selection of courses—either taking one or multiple courses at any point in the year, and can start courses at any time. Many part-time students register with Vista Virtual School in addition to other classes they are taking at their local school, (e.g., they enrol in Social Studies and Math at their local high school, and also enrol in English through Vista Virtual School at the same time), and can start courses at any point throughout the year. Adult learners can register as part-time students or carry a full course load.

Senior high full-time:

  • Students cannot be enrolled with any other school during the year.
  • Semester 1 runs from September 1 to January 31, and Semester 2 runs from February 1 to June 30.
  • Students take a full course load, typically 15-20 credits per semester.
  • Students are expected to spend about 30 hours a week on coursework.
  • Students hand in assignments according to a timeline set by their teachers.
  • Students are expected to keep in regular contact with their teachers and academic counsellor, and must attend Student-Parent-Teacher Interviews.
  • Students and parents must meet with a Vista Virtual School academic counsellor prior to enrollment.

Senior high part-time:

  • Students can be enrolled in another school or only through Vista Virtual School.
  • Students can enrol for courses any day and are given one year from the date of enrollment to complete. Students who are 19 on September 1 of the school year must complete their courses before August 15.
  • Students can enrol in up to 10 credits at a time.
Can I Still Register if I am Taking Courses at Another School?

Yes. Students in grades 10-12 can take courses with Vista Virtual School as long as they are not taking the same course at another school in Alberta. Part-time senior high students can be enrolled in up to 10 credits at a time.

When can I Register?

Adult students and senior high students (grades 10-12) can register and start courses anytime. Students entering grade 10 may register as a part-time student once they have a final grade 9 report card (please remember to upload it to your registration application).

Full-time students entering grades 2-10 may submit a registration application for the next school year once their previous year’s final report card has been received (please remember to upload the report card to your registration application).

Returning full-time students, as well as new students entering grades 1, 11, or 12, may submit their registration application for the next school year starting May 1. Students entering grades 1-9 should submit their registration application by the third week of September and be enrolled in their courses by September 30 of the school year. Full-time students in grades 10-12 may submit registration applications up until March 31.

Am I a Funded Student or do I Have to Pay Tuition Fees?

Students who are 19 years of age or younger on September 1 of the current school year are funded and do not have to pay tuition fees.

Students who are 19 years of age on September 1 must complete their course(s) by August 15, otherwise they will be withdrawn. If they wish to continue their course(s), they will then need to re-register as an adult student on our website, and will be charged the adult tuition rate of $120 per credit. On July 1 of the current school year, Vista Virtual School will start charging tuition fees for course registrations processed for these students.

According to Alberta Education, a student who is 20 years of age or older on September 1 is considered an adult student and will be charged adult tuition fees ($120 per credit).

When do I Have to Pay for my Course/Materials? Is There a Payment Plan?

Students do not pay upfront when they submit their registration. Once the student is enrolled in their course(s) they will be emailed instructions for making a payment. Full payment for tuition and materials is then due within 48 hours and can be paid by credit card online through SIS, or by cash or debit in person at any Vista Virtual School Campus.

Adult students (students 20 years of age or older as of September 1) are responsible for $120 per senior high course credit. They may purchase required course materials from Vista Virtual School, which are not refundable. Adult students upgrading by distance learning may be eligible for the Alberta Works Skills Investment Bursary (SIB).

Part-time students that are under 20 years old as of September 1 each year do not pay tuition fees. All required materials for part-time students’ course(s) have a caution fee that is 100% refundable when materials are returned to Vista Virtual School within 90 days of the course(s) expiry date or of being completed.

There are no fees for tuition or materials for full-time students at Vista Virtual School. If textbooks or materials are not returned in satisfactory condition, the student may be invoiced for a replacement.

Fees can be paid by credit card online through SIS, or by cash or debit in person at any Vista Virtual School campus.

How Long do I Have to Complete my Courses?
  • Part-time students in grades 10-12 have one year from the date of enrolment to complete their courses. However, students who are 19 years of age on September 1 of the school year must complete their course by August 15.
  • Full-time senior high students complete their semester 1 courses by January 31 and semester 2 courses by June 30.
  • Full-time students in grades 1-9 complete their courses by the end of the school year—June 30.
  • Adult students have one year from the date of enrolment to complete their courses. Adults funded by the Skills Investment Bursary are allocated 20 weeks to complete their courses, and must have this completed by their Session End Date.
Will I Ever Need to Come into the Campus?

Students living within 100 km of a Vista Virtual School or Pembina Hills Public School (Barrhead), must make arrangements in advance to write their supervised exams at a campus (Edmonton, Calgary, or Barrhead); otherwise, the student must arrange for an exam supervisor.

What is my Course Mark Made Up Of? Do I Submit Assignments in the Same Way I Would at my School?

Course marks are comprised of assignments that are submitted online and—for some courses—quizzes and supervised exams. The course mark is weighted differently for each class and is outlined by the instructor at the start of the course. All courses follow the Alberta Education standards and guidelines.

How do I Register for my Diploma Exam?

You need to register for your diploma exam through Alberta Education’s myPass. Students can select the appropriate writing centre (i.e., their local school, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, or the University of Alberta Dentistry Pharmacy Building). Only students who are enrolled in a Vista Virtual School course and require exam accommodations can write their diploma exam at either the Edmonton or Calgary campus and must contact VVS Support for approval.

myPass is the Alberta Education secure self-service website for Alberta students to:

  • Order high school transcripts.
  • View diploma examination marks.
  • Register to write or rewrite diploma exams.
  • Request diploma exam rescores.
  • View and print Detailed Academic Reports (DAR).
  • View progress towards a high school credential (diploma or certificate).
  • View/Update student personal information.
  • Order additional copies of an awarded credential.
  • View and print letters of confirmation of name, age, and enrolment.
  • Provide third-party (including parents and guardians) access to student’s myPass account.
Do I Need to Write the Diploma Exam?

Yes, diploma exams are mandatory for all students registered in an eligible Alberta Education program. If you are upgrading your course mark and have already completed the diploma exam, you may be able to use your previous diploma exam mark. Both the course mark and the diploma exam mark are required for a final mark to appear on your official transcript. Vista Virtual School requires students to write a supervised course final exam in addition to the diploma exam.

Will High School Courses Taken with Vista Virtual School Show Up on my Transcript?

Yes, we are a fully accredited school under Alberta Education. Therefore, any high school courses taken with Vista Virtual School will be reported to Alberta Education and placed on your transcript.

If I Withdraw from my Course, will it Show Up on my Transcript?

An Alberta Education official transcript only shows the highest marks and credits awarded for each completed course. A withdrawn course may show up as withdrawn or incomplete on your Detailed Academic Report through myPass for your record.

Will my Post-secondary Institution Recognize Courses from Vista Virtual School? What About Out-of-province Institutions?

Vista Virtual School is an accredited, public elementary/junior high/senior high school that serves residents of Alberta. It is part of Alberta Education and Pembina Hills Regional Division No. 7, and as such offers the standardized education as part of Alberta’s school system. This means that Vista Virtual School courses will appear on your Alberta high school transcript and be recognized the same as any other public school in Alberta (including for out-of-province post-secondary institutions).

How do I Order a Copy of my High School Transcript?

You may request an official copy of your Alberta high school transcript from Alberta Education, using myPassIf you need to send your transcript to an Alberta post-secondary institution, you may use ApplyAlberta.

myPass is an Alberta Education secure self-service website for Alberta students to:

  • Order high school transcripts.
  • View diploma examination marks.
  • Register to write or rewrite diploma exams.
  • Request diploma exam rescores.
  • View and print Detailed Academic Reports (DAR).
  • View progress towards a high school credential (diploma or certificate).
  • View/Update student personal information.
  • Order additional copies of an awarded credential.
  • View and print letters of confirmation of name, age, and enrolment.
  • Provide third-party (including parents and guardians) access to student’s myPass account.
Why do I Need to Provide a Copy of my Citizenship? What Forms of Documentation will Vista Virtual School Accept?

In order to enroll with Vista Virtual School, students must be a Canadian citizen, lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence, a child of a Canadian citizen, or a child of an individual who is lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent or temporary residence.

As one of the Province of Alberta registered schools, we are also required to follow all regulations concerning maintaining student records. One of the requirements is to obtain documentation of citizenship for student records. 

All students are required to submit one of the following:

  • Canadian Birth Certificate;
  • Canadian Passport;
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate/Card;
  • Permanent Resident Card/Paper or Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) Document;
  • Record of Landing;
  • Child of Canadian Citizen; or
  • Child of an individual lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent or temporary residency.

If you are unable to upload your citizenship documentation to your registration application, please email it to vvsupport@phrd.ab.ca or bring it to a Vista Virtual School campus.

How do Students Perform Laboratory Experiments in a Distance Learning School?

Students complete lab experiments virtually. This means they either complete interactive simulated labs online, review step-by-step photos, or watch videos of experiments being completed; they also complete information from experiment plans and photos, or complete written laboratory assignments based on the learning concepts. Usually, there is an opportunity to attend a full-day lab (for some courses) later in the school year—more information is available from the teacher.

Do we Have a Spring Break or Fall Break?

Even though full-time students follow the typical September through June school year, Vista Virtual School courses operate year-round through distance learning so there is no officially designated spring or fall break. Campuses are closed for winter break and statutory holidays.

Can I get Any In-person Help?

Vista Virtual School teachers and academic counsellors are always ready to help and expect that students will ask for assistance regarding coursework and assignments. We strive to keep students and parents informed of progress on a regular basis. 

Our teachers and academic counsellors work in the Calgary, Edmonton, and Barrhead campuses. If your teacher or academic counsellor is at a campus near you, you may ask them if it is possible to set up an in-person appointment. Teachers and academic counsellors are ready to assist you by telephone or email, and many use Skype, Google Hangouts, texting, etc. Teachers and academic counsellors are available Monday to Friday from either 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. or 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Our academic counsellors and teachers also visit Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer regularly. Students can meet with their teachers, write supervised exams, or return textbooks during this visit. For dates and details, please contact your teacher(s).

To find out your teacher or academic counsellor’s campus location and contact information, please visit Our Staff page.  

Help—my Question is Not Listed!

For more information, see our Policies & Procedures section; or contact us at vvsupport@phrd.ab.ca or vvsadults@phrd.ab.ca, or give us a call at 1-855-974-5333 Ext. 5317.