Online high schools are becoming much more popular, with students taking at least one course making up 25 percent of the population. Of course, not all children or adolescents are able to handle education via their computer or TV. Like every other industry, online schools are picking up the slack with hybrid options.
There are two major options. In one, the students are engaged for a majority of the time with their teachers in real-world classrooms. Online classes enable them to work on projects that the school doesn't offer. It's also a way to reduce the cost of educating teens (the average spending per student in New Jersey is $14,000 per year). The other option had been an all-online experience, with e-books and and video for materials, and chat rooms and email for communication.
Now online high schools are working with tutors, academic coaches and various centers. GOAL Academy in Colorado is one option. They operate in the rural northwest portion of the state, but still offer tutors and local learning centers. During regular weekday hours, students can just drop by and get help with any problems they are having with their coursework. And in spite of the relative scarcity of students, it's still fairly accessible.
Hybrids are becoming the rage in more than just the car industry. It makes sense, too. While students usually hew to one learning style (oral, visual, kinesthetic, etc.), there is a lot of variability. Moreover, some subjects (think the sciences) just aren't going to come to life by watching a video the way they would when something bubbles out of a beaker.
There's also an advantage that used to only be available to college students. About a decade ago, Blue Ribbon award-winning high schools rarely offered more than a dozen optional courses, and mostly for upperclassmen. The hybrid model enables students to gain access to more courses that they may enjoy or point them to the right career for them. Before, many had to consider the possibility of taking local community college courses when they weren't able to.
One thing to keep in mind is that you want to review schools for their academic quality. It's just not worth it to get a degree just to have it on your resume. GOAL Academy, which we touched on, is certified by the Colorado Board of Education. If you're considering an online high school for you or your child, be sure to check accreditation statuses for each institution you research.
Data on U.S. Public High Schools & Private High Schools
Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. The data displayed is compiled from the most recent sources available. For public schools this is the 2012-2013 school year. For private schools this is the 2011-2012 school year.
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