When it comes to traditional high schools, the type and quality of the education received can vary greatly. From class size to student population to passing periods, brick and mortar schools have a lot of variables to consider in crafting their curriculums.
Virtual high schools have to contend with some of the same issues, but in different ways. Instead of thinking about class size, virtual high school teachers contend with how to keep students actively engaged in distance learning. Instead of passing periods, online high schools consider how distractions at home or in a learning space can impact student achievement.
No two online high schools are created the same. For that reason, there are some key factors to consider when selecting which online high school is best for each unique learning situation.
Accreditation & Credit Transfers
Accreditation is absolutely essential for a successful online high school. Accreditation is a way to make sure schools are meeting high quality standards. Both national and regional accreditations are recognized. Accreditation also means the online accredited high school is held accountable to an outside agency for academic performance and graduation rates. Most colleges accept only students who have graduated from accredited institutions.
In that same vain, most secondary institutions will not accept credits from an unaccredited school if a student decides to transfer. Parents should discuss the transfer process with both the school in question and the local school district to ensure credits to be transferred are recognized at other high schools.
Credit transfers are also important to discuss if a student is only moving into an online high school for a few credits or for credit recovery. Parents and students alike should always make sure that any credits received through an online institution would count toward graduation.
Instructional Quality & Course Offerings
As with any school, parents and students should review how effective the online school is and what the school offers for students. Parents should understand the type of curriculum offered at each grade level and what that means for their student(s).
Curriculum design and delivery are key ways to make sure each student stays actively engaged in learning at every stage of their education. Because student learning styles can vary greatly, each individual student will have different curricular needs. Parents should review how each school develops its curriculum, how it aligns to state standards, how coursework are assessed, and how instructors interact and communicate with students.
Course offerings are also important to consider when comparing online high schools. If an online high school does not offer an extensive list of courses that prepares a student for college or a post-graduation career, it likely does not meet the needs of its students and parents. Schools offering college preparatory and technical courses are more likely to lead to student success during the school year.
Flexibility & Personalized Learning
The traditional classroom environment is notorious for staying overly rigid and unmoving. While some students may benefit from this level of structure, it’s anything but personalized. In comparing online high schools, their dedication to flexibility and personalized learning should be heavily considered.
In an online course setting, students who need less structure or benefit from less rigidity are more likely to show academic and social success. Where traditional classrooms may fail these students, online education step in with meaningful solutions.
The level of flexibility that an online school gives each student can vary. Parents and students should both review school and course expectations carefully in order to make sure that the level of flexibility provided will lead to student success.
Socialization & Interaction
More than ever, students in both traditional and online high schools require socialization and interaction with their peers and instructors. From 9th grade all the way up to 12th grade, online students must be given the opportunity to interact in meaningful ways with other students in similar circumstances.
Some online high schools utilize online forums on learning management systems to accomplish this. Some require video software to be used in some capacity so that some face-to-face interaction occurs throughout the school year. Parents and students should ask about how each online high school addresses socialization and interaction.
How Achieve Virtual Stacks Up
Achieve Virtual Education Academy is an online high school that individualizes and personalizes education for students all over Indiana. It provides a different pathway to a high school diploma. We offer students an affordable option to accelerate learning, recover lost credits or earn a complete Indiana Core 40/Academic Honors Diploma.
Achieve Virtual is Indiana’s first online high school from an Indiana public school district. It is operated by the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indianapolis and is backed by the district’s rich academic history and 14 years of online learning experience.
Contact us today to begin your online education with Achieve Virtual: 317-661-4089.