Looking at Private Online High Schools? Top 4 Considerations When Choosing
The start of the 2020-2021 school year is raising more questions than ever before. Parents, students, teachers, and school administrators are all having a hard time navigating the return to the classroom, trying to figure out the best ways to return safely. Some school districts are offering distance learning as an option for families who face underlying health conditions, or for those who are uneasy about going back. For some families, staying at home is simply not an option. For others, it has become a hot topic for debate. But there is one thing that everyone can agree on: We all want what is best for teachers, students, and their families.
If you – like many other parents – are still weighing your options, and you are unhappy with the choices available in your home school district, you may be looking into a private online high school. This is a popular choice for many reasons, and the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted online learning’s benefits. The question now is, how do you choose the right school for you and your family? Read on, as we explore the top 4 considerations when choosing an online high school.
Reputation is important, particularly when talking about your child’s learning institution. You want to be sure that your student is getting the best possible education from an accredited online high school.
Dwight School’s legacy of personalized learning dates back to 1872 – long before “virtual learning” was even an option. From the 1800s, this New York-based institution was designed to prepare graduates for admission to prestigious universities. One of the school’s founding fathers – and namesake – Timothy Dwight V, was the president of Yale University.
However, it’s vital to look for reputation outside the school itself as well. You’ll want to find a program that is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accreditor for your young learner.
Diplomas and credits from these types of schools are widely accepted by most colleges and secondary schools. Some learning institutions may also accept national accreditation. Just be wary of unaccredited and diploma mill schools. These types of online programs will not get your child very far, leaving them with a lackluster education and – essentially – a useless diploma.
For students under age 16, accreditation is even more important, since these younger students are required – by law – to attend school. The government does not recognize unaccredited schools as fulfilling this requirement, so there can be legal troubles in addition to poor-quality education.
Before signing your student up for private online high school, you may want to consider the format of the online curriculum that will be made available. All parents want the best for their child, so looking into the curriculum and customization options (if any) is just good research.
An academically rigorous International Baccalaureate curriculum, such as the one at Dwight Global, for example, fosters a healthy appetite for education and gives students the chance to explore and learn what they are truly passionate about.
Online high schools may be able to offer a more personalized experience for your teenager than a traditional high school, as well, simply because of the nature of the virtual learning experience. Students may receive a customized learning plan and 1:1 sessions with professors, in combination with live classes.
When considering an online high school, make sure the institution offers a time-tested curriculum to meet your students’ academic needs. Be sure to ask about special programs offered, such as advanced placement, college prep, or special education. The more options and customizations, the better. No child learns at the exact same pace, so no school should offer just one form of education.
Another important factor to consider within the realm of curriculum: What style of virtual learning is the school offering? Is the school going to offer virtual “classrooms” with video chats between teachers and classmates? Is it focused on independent study with emailed assignments and lesson plans? This will be another important factor when considering how your own child learns best.
With distance learning during the time of COVID-19, many parents and students expressed concern over a lack of social interaction. Just as you should consider the format of curriculum and coursework, you should consider the support that is offered for students.
If a child is struggling, families need to know that help is available. Is there tutoring and individual guidance offered at this online high school? Is there an extra charge for additional help? Are there other students they will be able to connect with in the same program? These are all important factors to take into consideration.
4. Future Success
Once your teen starts high school, it seems that those four years just fly by. Before you know it, you will be looking at colleges and universities. When thinking about a private online high school, you will want to consider your child’s next chapter. Just as you want to find a reputable, accredited program, you will want to find a learning institution that offers a promising future, full of opportunity and success.
Before you enroll your student in an online high school, check out some of the success stories from the school’s alumni. If you feel inspired from these stories, you may be looking at a bright opportunity for your own child.
- Other important factors to take into consideration:
- Are there any extra-curricular activities offered?
- What is the student-teacher ratio?
- What are the various courses available to students?
- Are there options for in-person or campus visits?
Your Homework Assignment
These factors mentioned above are a few of the important considerations to make when looking for a private online high school. You know that a quality education is important, and now you have some research to do. When you are ready, contact a reputable online high school that can offer flexibility, support, and success for your student.
If you would like to learn more about the customizable and fully engaging programs available at Dwight Global, reach out to us here. We can help you with even more questions you may have about an online education.