On the fence about choosing an online school? 6 things to consider

This is the second blog in a series of back-to-school posts in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year.

As the school year nears, we continue to hear from more and more parents who are looking for alternative options for their student. Regardless of what their district decides, many parents are planning to move their student to a full-time, online private school this fall.

If that’s the case, you are certainly not alone. A recent USA TODAY poll found that 60 percent of parents with at least one child in K–12 education said they would likely pursue at-home learning options rather than send their child back to school in the fall.

Thirty percent said they were “very likely” to keep their children at home. A separate poll found that 1 in 5 teachers were unlikely to return to reopened classrooms.

For those of you who are still weighing your options to find the best fit for your student, we share several questions below to ask the schools you are considering.

To learn more about the ALVS full-time, private high school, visit: https://www.apexlearningvs.com/our-full-time-academy/.

1) Does the school have to be accredited?

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) How much academic support is available?

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) How engaging and rigorous is the curriculum?

Not all online schools are created equal. It’s important to understand if the curriculum 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) Will it be flexible enough to support your student’s lifestyle?

Will students be able to use the curriculum when it works best for their daily or weekly schedule? 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) What is their track record?

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) What’s included in the tuition price?

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:

  • Honors or Advanced Placement® courses
  • Course materials
  • Course extensions
  • Tutor support
  • Proctored tests

Learn more about how we can support your student with a full-time education at: https://www.apexlearningvs.com/our-full-time-academy/.

By |2020-08-13T15:45:14-07:00August 12th, 2020|Blog|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sarah Williamson has more than 15 years of experience supporting mid-large size companies with strategic public relations programs in the technology, education and healthcare sectors. Specializing in establishing B2B companies as industry leaders, she has Bachelor’s degrees in both journalism and public relations. When she’s not writing blog posts, she can be found spending time with her husband and three young boys.