Figuring out if online high school is right for you

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By Audie Rubin; Executive Director, Provost Academy of Colorado
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Have you ever sat in class, bored to tears because the pace of the lessons is too slow?

Have you ever had to choose between going to class and going to work to earn money to support your family?

Have you ever had to miss class to pursue your passions, whether it be competitive sports, theater and the arts, or volunteer work?

If you said "yes" to any of the questions above, online high school may be the right choice as you consider your options for getting your diploma.

Earning a high school diploma online has emerged as a valuable education choice for many Colorado students and their families seeking an alternative to the traditional high school setting, whether because a need for more challenging classes, family circumstances or the need for flexibility. For many students, virtual high schools have meant the difference between giving up on school altogether and earning a high school diploma.

If you're just beginning to explore the option of going to high school online, there are three primary benefits you should know about:

  • Individualized learning plans tailored to students' unique learning styles and levels. Every student learns differently. Some learn quickly while others learn more slowly. Some learn visually while others learn by reading textbooks. While the traditional high school offers a static teaching model, expecting every student to learn the same information in the same way at the same pace, online education can tailor a learning plan to meet the unique needs of each learner.
  • Flexible scheduling. High school students today have a lot going on in their lives. Many students work part-time or full-time to support themselves and their families, while others engage in time-consuming extracurricular activities like competitive sports. Regardless of how students are spending their time, they deserve a flexible option that allows them to do what they need to do and graduate from high school at the same time. Online education provides this option as it can be completed anytime and anywhere.
  • Real-time monitoring of student progress and success-The traditional high school grading model monitors progress on a quarterly or maybe a weekly basis. Online education, on the other hand, leverages a web-based curriculum that tracks progress and success using high touch methods, instantly illustrating what work you've done, what information you know as a result and what you still need to learn to graduate on time.

These benefits make online education a smart choice for many Colorado high school students, particularly those:

  • Seeking a more challenging learning environment;
  • Needing support and tutoring in order to stay on track for graduation;
  • Looking for a learning option that accounts for their personal learning style;
  • Trying to balance a work schedule with their classes in order to help support the family; or
  • Pursuing long-term personal and professional goals (such as becoming a pro athlete, actor or musician, or volunteering) while still trying to complete their high school degree.

"In a traditional school, time is fixed and learning is variable," says Audie Rubin, Executive Director of Provost Academy (www.co.provostacademy.com), a state-authorized public virtual high school that is free of charge to residents of Colorado. "The flexible, web-based curriculum offered through online education has flipped this dated approach, making learning fixed and time variable to meet the specific learning needs of each student."