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Virtual Schools Are Growing

Virtual schools ‘clicking’ for many students this school year (ARA) – A record number of students went back to school this year – without ever stepping foot inside a classroom. A growing number of virtual schools (also known as cyber schools or e-schools), combined with booming parent (and student) demand for high-quality virtual education, have more students than ever logging on, instead of boarding a school bus, this year. More than 2 million children in kindergarten through 12th grade are learning online, and their ranks are growing by almost 20 percent each year, according to research by Ambient Insight. Currently, 45 states have significant supplemental online learning programs, or full-time programs, in which students take most or all of their courses online.

“One reason families are turning to full-time virtual schools is that parents are seeking a more personalized education for their children, where students’ studies are tailored to their abilities and interests, and they can work at their own pace,” says Dr. Steven Guttentag, executive vice president and chief education officer for Connections Academy, a leading virtual school provider that offers both public and private virtual school programs. “Of course most importantly, they work. Students are achieving at high levels and matriculating into some of our nation’s best universities.” Many parents are drawn to the quality curriculum a virtual school can offer their student – and programs they might not have access to at the local brick-and-mortar school. The current economic climate has forced many neighborhood schools to eliminate programs like foreign language instruction, Advanced Placement (AP) courses and more. At the same time some virtual schools are adding courses like Mandarin Chinese and AP Chemistry. Continue Reading →

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