Online Schools

What is an online high school?

Online high school programs (also known as virtual schools or cyber schools) vary widely.  The common factor is that students enrolled in online schools attend class primarily through computer-based curriculum delivery. The courses may have live meetings (also known as synchronous), may be entirely self-paced (asynchronous), or a combination of the two. Students work toward their diploma the way they would at a traditional school, but in the convenient, safe and comfortable environment of their home or other location. In some online schools students work on a more personalized learning program and schedule than they could at a traditional school. In high-quality programs, students have a strong support system of teachers, advisors, tutors and parents who regularly check in to ensure pace and understanding of the material. High-quality online programs also supplement learning with a wide variety of enrichment and socialization activities.

Some Key Benefits of Online Schools

Equal or better: According to several studies of online education, on average, students seem to perform equally well or better in online learning when compared to face-to-face methods. A more recent study published by the US Department of Education found that, “Online schools can provide easy access to standards-based, state-of-the-art lesson content, highly qualified instructors, and a wide variety of rigorous course work, regardless of physical location or other limitations."

Lessons and pacing can be individualized to meet a student's specific learning needs. Students learn vital skills needed to be competitive in the technology-centered 21st century workplace.

Additional Resources

International Council for K-12 Online Learning:

A comprehensive guide to schools on the net:

Directory of accredited and district authorized online high schools:

(Synthesis of New Research on K-12 Online Learning, NCREL, 2005). 

Is online high school right for you?