|Virtual schoolVirtual schools are becoming increasingly more common in North America. Public school boards in Canada, including the Toronto District School Board and the Abbotsford School District, now offer online courses and programs. And south of the border, this trend is growing even faster. According to online education source Keeping Pace, 30 states in the U.S. currently have multi-district, fully online schools (those operating as a main education source for students without having a physical school location) that are serving close to 310,000 students. This is estimated to be a 13 percent increase over the year prior. These progressive schools are not private schools, rather they are public and therefore held responsible for the same academic and accountability standards of their peers.|
There are numerous reasons people choose public virtual schools over the typical brick and mortar option, including credit recovery, increased class offerings or the opportunity to work at one’s own pace. This e-newsletter will examine this emerging trend and will detail why some are opting to go virtual.
Benefits of virtual schools
If your school is a virtual one, or if you intend on extending online offerings, make sure to promote your offerings. Post details in brick and mortar locations on bulletin boards and on banners (any). Include a blurb in your e-newsletters and post online. Mail inquirers a “getting started packet” (#C113655) that includes course offerings, helpful virtual learning research, a list of the benefits and information on how to enroll. And add promotional tools, such as a stylus pen (any), a microfibre screen cleaner (#C117606) and a set of ear buds (#C121417), as impetus and added impact.
Virtual schools are growing in numbers and can provide many benefits: students can work at their own pace and districts may experience cost-savings. While non-traditional, virtual schools may be worth consideration and further discovery to see if they are a solid fit for your district.
Murin, Amy. “Keeping Pace in Review: Multi-district Fully Online Schools – Fewer States, More Students.” Keeping Pace. N.p., 19 Nov. 2013. Web. Retrieved 25 Feb. 2015. < https://www.kpk12.com/blog/2013/11/keeping-pace-in-review-multi-district-fully-online-schools-fewer-states-more-students/>.
“Facts About K12 Public Virtual Schools.” K12. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 25 Feb. 2015. <https://www.k12.com/facts-about-k12-public-virtual-schools#.VT5htiFViko>.
Littlefield, Jamie. “Why Do Teens Enroll in Online High Schools: 8 Reasons Teens and Parents Choose Online High School.” About.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 24 Feb. 2015. <https://distancelearn.about.com/od/virtualhighschools/tp/Why-Do-Teens-Enroll-In-Online-High-Schools.htm>.
Kamenetz, Anya. “Can Virtual High Schools Live Up to the Hype?” KQED News. N.p., 03 Feb. 2015. Web. Retrieved 25 Feb. 2015. <https://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/02/can-virtual-high-schools-live-up-to-the-hype/>.