Virtual Learning and Socializing
One of the greatest challenges and criticisms of online schools is that students need opportunities for social development. Although there isn’t daily live interaction with other students in the halls, cafeteria and classroom, some have argued that removing this from our schools is a positive move. That said, I would admit that there do exist challenges to ensuring that students enrolled in an online school get the chance to interact with each other and build critically important interpersonal communication skills. That’s why I’m so excited about the work we’ve put into making social opportunities available through the Agora school.
For a couple of years we have had regular monthly outings, similar to field trips, in local places across the state. These outings are available to all students, and some are specifically designed for different age groups. These events have included bowling, nature walks, college tours, rollerskating, visiting the state capitol, and large end-of-year events.
Clubs have always been a big part of the social fabric of high school, and I’m happy to say that clubs have been growing in popularity and diversity over the past three years at our school. This year we have had many students involved in clubs such as ambassador, sports, ski, multimedia, game, craft, science, book, Bible, healthy eating, and last year, the wonderful addition of the first yearbook! The clubs have regular meetings, many of which take place during our monthly outings.
Proms and graduation have been a huge request, especially from seniors, and last year’s prom was a terrific event! So successful, in fact, that the Prom Committee has been busy fundraising and organizing three additional proms across the state so that these events will be even more accessible to students. In our third graduation last year, we had a record turnout and filled an auditorium with the friends and family of our graduating class!
Along with all of the social activities that are available, I’m especially excited about this year’s new addition of a National Honors Society chapter! Through the work of some wonderful teachers, 27 very deserving students will soon be inducted into the prestigious National Honors Societysomething that not only looks great on college applications and resumes, but also is a fun way for students to socialize with their peers. I’m so proud of not only these students, but also of the work that K¹² and Agora has put into making sure that online schooling provides a well-rounded education that includes plenty of opportunities to socialize.
Eric Buffington teaches high school algebra for K12. He loves to witness his students "light bulb" moments when they understand something they didn't understand before. He has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from King's College and a master's degree in Educational Leadership from Wilkes University.