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Fall 2020 High School Credit Recovery Briefing Page

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Fall 2020 High School Credit Recovery Briefing
Counselors, Administrators and Site Facilitators

Updated 08/20/2020

Notice to students and parents: This information is intended for distribution to public school districts and may contain details that do not apply to your local district’s program.  If you are interested in enrolling in credit recovery courses with Montana Digital Academy, your first contact should be to the counseling department or administration of your local school to discuss what is available locally.  Credit recovery courses are not available to students independent of a school-based credit recovery program.

COVID-19 Statement

Like your local school, MTDA staff has been working since the school closures in March to evaluate our available resources and ability to expand and extend our programs. Since that time, we have determined that we have the financial resources to continue to offer BOTH our traditional, school-based credit recovery, along with our “emergency” remote-only format, introduced in March 2020.  Schools should thoughtfully review both options before setting up their local school.

Our staff is working to implement as flexible and responsive of a program as we are able with the staff and resources available.

Program Details

As noted above, MTDA will continue to offer both our traditional face-to-face and “emergency” remote-only offerings for students.

PLEASE NOTE: We are not able to facilitate moves back and forth between the two different credit recovery formats.  For the Fall semester, we have worked out a process where we can transfer a student FROM face-to-face to “emergency” remote only, however, this process will take 24-48 hours to complete.  We cannot facilitate a move between “emergency” remote only back to face-to-face  PLEASE CHOOSE CAREFULLY if you are in a school attempting to serve students with both formats.

The Reality about Remote Only Credit Recovery

When the stay at home order was given this past March, MTDA modified our credit recovery program to allow a remote student experience. These adjustments were necessary as the face-to-face program requires an adult locally to proctor exams and act as the “boots on the ground” to be a supportive friendly face while at the same time pushing the student to make daily progress. This local support role has been a major key to the success of the program. Historically, 65% to 70% of credit recovery enrollments successfully make it to the finish line of the course. Three key things changed this spring with modifications:

  1. Remote proctoring was added to the final exam – Remote proctoring services are expensive and not as comfortable for students but a necessity to ensure legitimate completion of the final exam in a remote environment. MTDA purchased these services to allow currently enrolled students the ability to complete their course.  We have secured funding to continue this for “emergency” remote-only students for 20-21, however, technical processes are required to set this up for students.
  2. Lesson Quizzes and Post Assessments were removed from the learning path – The addition of remote proctoring to lesson quizzes and post-assessments would have increased our costs by 40% per course meaning we would have had to cut back 2020-21 school year offerings. Completion activities and Mastery Assignments remain in the courses. This provides our MTDA teacher the opportunity to assess each lesson and give student feedback to prepare them for the final. We are comfortable with this balance during emergency times to provide a credit recovery option for districts.
  3. Local Support engagement dropped statewide – As previously stated, the local support role is critical to the success of the program. Without daily engagement from a local adult, many credit recovery students disengage or disappear completely from the program. Generally, during the stay at home order, the daily connection between the credit recovery student and the local support adult was reduced or eliminated entirely. 

The direct outcome of the drop in local support has led to significantly reduced student completion. During the stay at home order 10 previously enrolled spring credit recovery students completed their course. Compare that to 147 that completed their course during the first 3 months of the semester. Another data point of direct comparison is during the same time period last year 174 students successfully completed their course.

The bottom line is that Remote Only Credit Recovery should be a last resort option, carefully considered for each individual student enrollment. The MTDA credit recovery program is much more effective in a school-based setting.

That was mirrored in our Summer 2020 program.  Student success was much lower, with the exception of students that were provided direct, daily adult support from their local schools.

If Remote Only Credit Recovery is the Only Option

We understand the need this for remote only credit recovery and our prepared to offer the service with the following requirements:

  • Local Support Required: A local support adult(s) are identified and serve in a similar local support posture as required in our face-to-face program.  We strongly suggest daily checking via phone, text, and/or email to maintain contact and provide support.  Local support is also responsible for monitoring student engagement and dropping students that are inactive or unable to continue with the program.
  • Access Remains an Absolute Minimum Requirement: We assume that you are enrolling or transferring students to “emergency” remote only formats that will continue to have consistent access to both a computer (laptop and desktop), along with broadband Internet, should schools be open or closed  MTDA is not in a position to evaluate this, so, we leave it up to schools to work with students and their families to make sure appropriate access is available.  We do not have the resources to deliver “correspondence-style” courses for students that lack access.

Traditional School-Based Face-to-Face Credit Recovery

The credit recovery program otherwise is delivered as designed.  Students must complete all of the requirements of the course for the recommendation of credit.  If you have a student that has a situation (COVID-related or not) that needs something that is more custom to their circumstance, please contact MTDA for reference to our Individualized Pathway Course program, or, consider providing a custom, low-tech solution locally.

Program Details

Are you new to the MTDA credit recovery program or have you not utilized credit recovery in more than a year?  Please contact our support desk to schedule a call to talk about the format and the requirements for support for local schools.


  • Please download a copy of our academic calendars now!
  • Courses (including orientation) are open to enrollment on Monday, August 31, 2020, and MTDA Credit Recovery teacher services will start on September 8, 2020.


  • All students new to the MTDA credit recovery program must complete the mandatory Orientation program.  The program is called “Credit Recovery Orientation” in GeniusSIS and must receive a “pass” to be able to enroll in content-specific courses.  Once a student takes and completes the orientation, they do not need to complete it again.  However, some facilitators do ask students to retake the orientation if they were not previously successful in the MTDA CR format.
  • The orientation program is approximately 2-3 hours of engagement time, dependent on student skill, reading level, and motivation.  Students that do not complete orientation in a reasonable amount of time should be considered high need enrollments and provided additional direct support locally.
  • As of Fall 2018, we have moved Credit Recovery Orientation into our “short course” format.  It is fundamentally the same as in past years, but, among other options for short courses.  Please see important details on the Short Course description page.


  • Please review our student registration page in the Site Facilitator handbook for information on data collection, entrance counseling, and student registration.  That page is here: link.

Program Information

  • Our course list for 2020-2021 is here: LINK.

Program Changes and Updates

  • MTDA has rolled out new versions of US History, World History, and Algebra I, responding to student and facilitator feedback.

Online Training Available to Facilitators and Local Support Staff

In preparation for the upcoming semester, MTDA has created two self-paced orientation workshops to help Site Facilitators and Local Support staff understand their role and expectations in this program. We have partnered with OPI’s online learning network, The Learning Hub, to provide this training as well as the opportunity to receive renewal credit. To get started, navigate to the website HERE.  Choose either the Site Facilitator or Local Support Orientation.

Enrollment keys are required for both courses. They are:

Site Facilitator course: mtdasite
Local Support course: mtdalocal

End of Semester Information and Procedures

The Fall 2020 High School Credit Recovery program ends on Friday, January 22, 2020.  We are likely to have an extension process available, however, we will wait until mid-November to announce how we will handle this for the 20-21 school year so that we may analyze student progress data, along with monitoring the Covid-related situation in local schools.


If you have any questions, PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact the help desk, support@montanadigitalacademy.org, or, contact our office via phone, 406-203-1812.  We want to help you implement this in your school!

Montana Digital Academy
Phyllis J. Washington College of Education
The University of Montana
32 Campus Drive – Room 315
Missoula, Montana 59812
Phone: 406-203-1812
Fax: 406-203-1815

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