With the uncertainty of how school will look this fall, many families are seeking alternative options to give their middle and high school students some consistency this school year.
After four months of school-sponsored virtual schooling under their belt, many parents are thinking about embracing online school full-time and enrolling their students in established, private online schools. But making the transition to a new school is a big change and the decision should be weighed carefully.
Below we share our top six questions to answer before making the switch to a private online school.
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1) Is the school accredited?
One of the most important considerations is to understand whether or not the school you select is accredited.
Why is accreditation important? If your student transfers to another high school, it’s unlikely that their credits will be accepted unless they were earned from an accredited school.
Accreditation is also important for college admission. Colleges will recognize high school diplomas earned from schools accredited by a regional organization, like Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), a division of AdvancED.
Also, if your student is an athlete planning to compete in college, it will be extremely important for you to make sure that the courses your student will be taking have been approved by the NCAA.
Or, if your student is planning to take Advanced Placement® courses, check to see if their courses are approved by the College Board.
2) Is there adequate academic support?
Since your student will be working remotely 100 percent of the time, what resources are available to support them? Is it easy to ask their teacher a question or to get extra tutoring right when they need it?
We recommend confirming there are easy ways to quickly connect with experienced teachers, counselors, and tutors.
Will you, as a parent, have the tools you need to track your student’s progress and support their success? Ask what your role as a parent will be and if they have a parent portal you can use to see how your student is doing in real-time.
3) Is the curriculum rigorous and engaging?
Not all online schools use curriculum that incorporates rich learning experiences to meet the individual needs of your student. It’s important to consider whether the content will deepen their understanding and if it’s built to state and national standards.
Even if they utilize a rigorous curriculum, will it keep your student engaged and motivated?
And if your student struggles with a certain concept or subject, will they have access to supports to guide them through areas where they may struggle, yet still keep them on track for grade-level coursework?
Ask if you can preview the courses to see what the curriculum is like before you enroll your student. Go through the first lesson with your student to get familiar with the structure and content.
4) Is the program flexible?
Or is there are a set structure that students must follow? Will your student be required to log in and out at a certain time? If so, are there penalties for late work?
5) Do they have proven results to share?
Is there data on how students attending the school perform on standardized tests like the SAT® and Advanced Placement® exams compared to the national average?
Quality online schools will prepare your student for the next level in their academic career. Ask the school if their students have been accepted to or have gone on to attend prestigious colleges and universities.
6) Is it reasonably affordable?
Attending an online private high school is an investment in your child and their future, but the cost should be within reason.
If you know your student is going to receive consistent academic support and guidance from quality teachers, you want to be sure they are compensated fairly. But you also want to be confident that you’re paying a price you can afford and it equates to a valuable education for your student.
Understanding exactly what tuition covers will help you to clearly evaluate your options. Check to see if there is an additional expense for:
Learn more about how we can support your student with a full-time education at: https://www.apexlearningvs.com/our-full-time-academy/.