Virtual Schools’ Benefits: In the Words of Students

In the words of the Tucson Citizen, “Virtual school isn’t the stuff of science fiction.”

The paper reports that last year, over 170 virtual schools operated in the U.S., serving 92,000 students. In Arizona, virtual schools are evenly split between programs within traditional school districts (7), and charter schools (7). In Arizona, charter schools are not by design or fact creates of the local school district, to the distinction is one with a difference. The single largest virtual school in the state had over 3,000 students in its k-12 program.

The independence of charter schools is prompting school districts to make sure they are in the fray: “School districts such as Tucson Unified, already losing enrollment to charter schools, are looking to begin or expand their distance learning programs as well.”

Students in the story offered several reasons why virtual schools are useful:

* “I won’t have the distractions of other people in class who don’t want to do their work and who are trying to get me to join them.”

* “The flexible schedule is great and a lot less stressful.”

* “I’d like to finish high school in three years, so the virtual classes are great. This summer I was able to do what I wanted during the day and do my classes at night.”

The article mentions IQ Academy Kansas, which is operated by Manhattan-Ogden USD 383. (On the home page of the district, look under the “Programs” tab.) Students in that program earn a diploma from USD 383.

Source: Local parents ponder virtual high schools, Tuscon Citizen, July 17.

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