Originally published on NBC 24 on September 2, 2022
TOLEDO, Ohio — No backpacks. No binders. Or even lockers. For more kids this year, heading to school simply looks like powering on their computers.
“Our student population just keeps growing and growing for Ohio Digital Learning School and that’s - we are like always hiring new teachers because our student population is just continuously growing," said Natalie Sanford, a health and physical education teacher at Ohio Digital Learning School.
Virtual school has been on the rise since the pandemic - something Ohio Digital Learning School has seen. Between the last two school years, Ohio Digital Learning saw a 57% increase in student enrollment.
“We’re seeing over 30 new applications a day from students. We have over 250 students starting with us on Monday, alone. And we’ve started with twice the students that we started last year with," said Kate Harkless, the head of school for Ohio Digital Learning School.
It’s an increase that Ohio Digital Learning doesn’t expect to slow down as more families look toward a more flexible and safer schooling option for their kids.
“We’re seeing a lot of students coming in and once they get out of that bullying environment and they’re feeling safer and focusing on their academics, we see them doing really well in their classwork," Harkless said.
Adding to that, Sanford said, "Students are focused on their anxiety. They’re sitting there worrying, they’re not learning as well as they could. Well when you put them in an online school and the understanding is there, that anxiety disappears. So their learning increases.”
And it’s not just students making the switch, as teachers have done so as well. But despite the increase, Harkless explained that while virtual learning has benefits for kids and families it’s a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly.
“Virtual education is not for everybody. I think it is great for those that are looking for it but sometimes, it can be difficult. So, looking in to see what are your goals? Why are you interested in virtual education?" Harkless said.
Ohio Digital Learning School does follow the same teaching standards and takes the same state tests. If you're interested in learning more, you can head to the Ohio Digital Learning School website to learn more.
To learn more about Ohio Digital Learning School visit https://odls.k12.com/
Discover California Virtual Academies
Give your student the ability to learn in the way that works best for them.
Is your child ready for the future?
Make sure your student is ready for life after high school