Virtual High School

A virtual high school teaches courses entirely through online methods.  The term, “virtual school,” is generally used for accredited online high schools that teach a full-time course of instruction designed to lead to a degree.  All coursework and material learned meets the minimum established learning standards.  A virtual school that has been approved for accreditation has met all the learning standards as defined by the issuing accreditation board and are designed to ensure that students are receiving the highest quality instruction and education.

There are many different virtual school instructional and enrollment models. Instructional models range from fully independent self paced courses to semester based virtual teacher facilitated courses. Students that do better in a self paced course tend to be more motivated in school, since no teachers are involved in their academic learning.  Students that need a bit more hand holding work well in the teacher-facilitated courses. 
Virtual High School class sizes range anywhere from 25 students to as many as 200 students in each class section. Students keep in contact with teachers and collaborate with other students through web communication tools provided in the course delivery platforms. To help with communication many virtual schools have implemented their own system programs to help build courses and maintain student profiles.  It’s important that students have access to their own computer if they are to be successful within the virtual school atmosphere.

Virtual schools are the modern day correspondence schools or, “Distant Learning,” schools.  Correspondence schools offer students an alterative to the traditional brick-and-mortar schools and utilized the postal service for student-teacher interaction or used two-way radio transmissions with pre-recorded television broadcasts.  Students were expected to study their learning material independently and meet with a proctor when taking tests. Thanks to modern technology and the internet, virtual learning is much more efficient and cost effective.
Virtual schools may be free if the particular state pays for the online courses, otherwise, there will be a course fee to be paid for by the student or parents. If a virtual school is chartered through a public supporting school district, there would be no cost associated for a student to attend the school or receive the materials/supplies needed to complete the schooling.  Other private online virtual schools are not free and usually require students and/or parents to pay for tuition and all school related expenses.  

A virtual high school diploma is equal to a diploma received through a traditional school if the school that was attending was accredited through the regional or governing accreditation board.  By attending an accredited virtual high school, students will receive the same quality of education as students that attend a traditional high school.  Many employers and post-secondary institutions will give equal weight for students that receive their degree from either a virtual high school or traditional high school. 

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