Amid the pandemic, unfortunate misconceptions about online school are quite prevalent. And it seems some people think of virtual school as a monolithic entity. However, that’s simply not the case. There’s a clear distinction between established online learning options and the emergency programs that many school districts rapidly constructed out of necessity.
It’s vital that we acknowledge the difference. Why? Because families must ensure their students have access to programs that best serve them and their learning needs.
Here’s the truth: well-designed online learning options give kids everything they need to succeed, including:
● A rich, standards aligned and interactive curriculum
● A structure that helps them hone their time management and critical thinking skills
● An experienced network of online teachers and support services
● Vital career learning opportunities
Honed through many years of research, analysis, and continuous improvement, established online schools leverage virtual learning methodologies that deliver excellent results—time and time again. In fact, these schools and programs consistently meet or exceed most families’ expectations.
But don’t just take my word for it. Graduates of Stride K12-powered schools consistently extol the value of online learning programs.
In 2017, education non-profit YouthTruth found that only half of all graduating high schoolers felt academically prepared for college. Meanwhile, 92 percent of students who graduated from Stride K12-powered schools say they benefited academically from their education.
And many credit Stride’s online programs with better preparing them to succeed in their post-secondary programs, including those at prestigious schools like Amherst College, Emory University, Harvard University, and the universities of California, Michigan and Florida.
As one graduate of Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) explained in a recent survey: “Stride K12 prepared me both mentally and emotionally to be an independent, organized student with a solid grasp on online/virtual learning, a skill proven to be invaluable during my first year of college at the most severe time of the pandemic.”
An Indiana Digital Learning School (INDLS) graduate echoed that statement and said, “because of Stride K12's online learning format, I learned how an online school works, how to work independently, and how to manage my time. This proved to be useful during my first year at Purdue University, Fall 2020 to Spring 2021, when many classes were online.”
Of course, getting into college or being ready to excel in the classroom is only half the battle. The whole point is that school - at every level - should prepare students to excel in the workforce and discover jobs in fulfilling and, if they choose, lucrative careers.
That’s why we’re incredibly proud that 83% of our graduates feel they are on a path towards their desired career. This sentiment is due, in large part, to the fact that Stride K12-powered schools give students the opportunity to explore different career pathways as well as develop the soft skills that employers demand from today’s workforce.
By emphasizing soft skills, our graduates largely reported that their Stride K12 experience helped them develop the ability to learn and work independently, take responsibility and be accountable for their work, and manage time effectively.
According to an Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA) 2016 graduate, “K12 was vital in my becoming an independent learner and worker. With the Covid pandemic taking place in 2020 and part of 2021, I was moved to a work-from-home status on a job I had just started. If not for the skills and confidence I obtained through K12, working from home, alone, would have proven to be a challenge. However, thanks to K12, I found myself thriving in the new environment.”
Overall satisfaction with Stride K12-powered schools
Objectively, feeling ready for college and career are wonderful outcomes on their own. But those metrics are still just a piece of the most important life metric: happiness.
Researchers from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Yale Child Study Center found that nearly 75% of students reported negative feelings toward their school experience. That’s compared to the 93% of Stride K12 alumni who claim satisfaction with their school experience. Tack on the fact that 90% of alumni would recommend Stride K12 schools, and it’s clear the online classroom is a solution that works for many students and families.
So the next time you read an article or overhear a conversation about the pitfalls of online learning, remember this: online school experiences aren’t created equal. Established online learning programs like those offered at Stride K-12 powered schools give students the tools they need to succeed—today, tomorrow, and for a lifetime.