Online education for K-12 students

(WVLT) -- Graduating high school these days is necessary to get and maintain a job in the real world. But for many students, going to a traditional school doesn't work for them.

A recent News Journal survey revealed this about high school dropouts:
65% said they were unmotivated
47% said classes were uninteresting
35% admitted they were failing

Online schools allow K-12 students a proven choice and a new chance to receive a top-notch education customized to meet their individual needs and learning styles. It's growing in popularity as a tuition-free alternative to traditional public schools among mainstream America. But many parents still don't know what it is and how it works.

Only a few years ago, Daria Fleming was a struggling high school student with failing grades. She had been expelled from two different high schools due to fighting with classmates. Recognizing that personal and social setbacks interfered with her ability to complete high school, she is now enrolled in a blended school (blended school is part-time online and part-time in the classroom) designed to help students 18-21 who, for a variety of reasons, were unable to finish their high school education.Thanks to the school support she receives - in addition to believing in herself - Daria is now the president of her class and considered a "junior staffer" by teachers and administrators due to her leadership and willingness to go the extra mile at Chicago's Youth Connection Charter School powered by K12.

Daria talked to Local 8 News about her experience on transitioning from public education to a blended education. "I never went online like this before. When I went to public school it wasn't like hands-on. we had 20-30 students in a class and we didn't have that one-on-one learning, that one-on-one connection with a teacher, but now we have 2-5 teachers. They teach us online and we can raise our hand online. We can ask questions and if we don't get the questions. We can also come back to our homeroom and just say 'ok we need your help, can you help me, can we have one-on-one time' and we have less students in the class and it's something that every student can say to go through this program is really good. We learn different. It's completely different and it's amazing because we actually can understand the curriculum that's given to us."
By the way, Daria is schedule to graduate in January and has plans to go to college.

Local 8 News also talked to Early King, the dynamic Head of School at Youth Connection Charter School in Chicago. He leads administrators and teachers in helping ensure that all YCCS Virtual High School students get the individualized program and counseling they need to finish school and succeed-wherever their diploma takes them. Early says not only are online schools a successful alternative to a child's education, but they're also more than qualified. He ssys, "We set the state standards and coming in, like the program that I work for that Daria's actively involved in -- most of our students have dropped out of 3 or 4 schools and and they have a fresh slate coming in. And we have high expectations for all of our students. Due to the fact that we have high expectations, those students are meeting the mark. The first year we had a retention rate of 88% as opposed to Chicago Public Schools, which was 59% and also our graduation rate for the first year was 92% and CPS' rate is 51%. What's really amazing is our numbers really grow. It went from 92% up to 96% which is extraordinary."

A blended education works part-time online and part-time in a classroom setting. "Blended education is a part of online education. Sixty percent of the time on site and 40% of the time off site so Daria can kind of explain 3 hours is on site with that support of teachers and two hours is done off site. Our students are actually given laptops and we pay for the internet for all of our students so they can have access," says King.

For more information about a blended education, go to k12.com.


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