The Success of Longtime Online Students
Many students who have switched to online school talk about how it allows them to excel. Many achieve positive results quickly, but research suggests that the longer they stay in their online school the greater the benefits.
According to K12’s most recent Academic Report, “The longer students have been enrolled in a K12-managed public school, the more likely the students are to be ‘Proficient’ on state exams relative to students with shorter tenure, and the better the students perform compared to students enrolled in their resident districts.”
K12 student Tyler is a great example of this. Thanks to the flexibility of his online school, California Virtual Academies (CAVA), he has pursued impressive and time-consuming interests during his four years with the school. Always having an interest in weather, he has now built a website where he publicizes his forecasts and weather analysis. It has grown so much that it’s used by CAL FIRE and the U.S. Forest Service. He also taught himself graphic design and started a rattlesnake removal business. He says he wouldn’t have been able to do any of this if it weren’t for CAVA: “It’s the most flexible, easy to use and fun way to go to school out of the other two programs I was in,” Tyler said. “I wouldn’t be able to run such a website in public school, as it takes quite of bit of time on the computer to make forecasts and meteorological judgements.”
Hannah and Abby also thrive both in and out of their online school, Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA). During their seven-year tenure at GCA, their mother, Christine, says that she has seen great improvement and a renewed hope for the future in her daughters. Both were born with cleft lips and palettes, which caused them to have a total of 24 surgeries over the years. Christine says that they were both bullied in their brick-and-mortar school, which made it difficult to do well in school.
Now, Hannah spends a lot of her time taking care of animals at a local mini zoo. She has grown to have a feeling of self-worth and now believes in herself and her future. Hannah was even chosen for a special four-year program at Zoo Atlanta to help her prepare for a career in zoology. She is now in high school and working harder than Christine has ever seen. She credits this to GCA, which helped her daughters to believe in themselves. Hannah’s sister Abby has flourished as well.
“Abby has always been very advanced in her learning and was bored in the brick-and-mortar school,” Christine said. “She was not challenged and was losing interest in school. GCA has allowed her to work at her own pace, to excel in her studies, and be challenged in her learning.”
Like Hannah, Agora student Caroline has been able to pursue her interests as well as excel in school. Taking AP and honors courses, she is confident that she will be accepted to a great college. Having flexibility in her schedule, Caroline also pursues many of her personal hobbies. She plays lead guitar in a band, participates on a debate team, and even teaches computer programming. As only a 10th grader, Caroline teaches these classes to underserved students who would otherwise have no exposure to computer science. Being a teen teacher has really helped to boost her confidence and strengthen her love for technology.
Lauren Martin is a Writer for Learning Liftoff. Previously, she has written for nonprofits as well as marketing agencies. She's covered environmental issues, women's rights, world poverty, and animal rights. With a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Ithaca College, Lauren enjoys interviewing families about their experiences with online education.