What to look for in an online high school

In the last few years, online high schools have been growing in popularity as alternatives to traditional public or private high school.  If you are considering an online high school, here is what to look for in an online high school:

  • Accreditation.  If the online high school is properly accredited, its diplomas and transcripts will be just as accepted by colleges and universities as any traditional public or private high school.  Properly accredited means one of the six regional accreditation agencies listed on the US Department of Education website, or one of their designees, such as AdvancED.  In fact, many public high school systems are seeking to acquire or maintain their accreditation.  Accreditation is your guarantee that you won’t spend four years on a diploma only to find out that it doesn’t mean anything.
  • Curriculum.  Check out the curriculum used.  Is it developed by a large organization with the resources to update and maintain it?  Is it college-preparatory?  Some schools use “home-grown” curriculum that are developed by individual teachers; these may lack consistency.  Developing a curriculum is hard work and a full time job; doing that while trying to teach at the same time is extremely difficult.
  • Class size.  Look for schools with small class sizes where students know and are known by their teachers.  Avoid schools with 200 kids per teacher.
  • Choice.  Look for a school that can accommodate students on many levels – Honors, AP, standard college preparatory, career and remedial.  Look for a school that has a wide selection of electives.
  • Flexibility.  Look for a school that allows you to start classes year-round and work at your own pace.
  • Teacher-supported.  As a parent, look for a school that offloads your workload by giving you full teacher support (teaching, mentoring, grading) as well as full administrative support (record-keeping, attendance).
  • Responsiveness – look for a school where you will know the administrators, where you and your student will receive quick answers when there is a question or problem.

If you have any more questions on what to look for in an online high school please give us a call!

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