In previous posts here, here and here, I shared the review of literature from my dissertation that looked at charter schools, online schools, and at-risk students who drop out of high school. Today I begin to share some of the results of the study. The first thing I realized was that I had to figure out if I would examine students in full time online schools or students who may take one online course. In order to do that, I had to find out where these students were and how they were identified.
As I did my research, I learned that the only formal way that students in online courses are counted in California is through the yearly “CBEDS” count of students enrolled that is taken every October and reported by school districts to the California Department of Education. Therefore, only students enrolled in full time schools are counted and therefore, only students enrolled in full time online charter schools are counted. I also learned that there were a limited number of online charter schools that served students in high school, in grades 9-12. Originally, I had wanted to study students who remained in online charter high schools for several years to determine if they were more successful than in traditional schools. I learned that there are just a small percentage of students who remain in online charter schools for many years.
My first step was identifying the online charter high schools and identifying their enrollment. Based on the yearly CBEDS counts from one system and identifying the online charter schools in California from the state’s charter school office, the schools and their enrollment growth are listed below. Again, remember, these students are enrolled in full time online charter schools in October of each year. The other thing we know from online charter schools is that students enroll and withdraw on almost a daily basis throughout each semester. Here is the list.