It has been five months since the opening of the Clovis Online School which serves students of Central California. You’re welcome to read the day-to-day events on the Clovis Online School blog, but recently, my interaction with parents of the school has helped our school to improve. It has been frustrating for me and the teachers in the online school to watch students who do not complete their work that leads to not passing courses. And parents are equally frustrated with their children.
What I have learned overall is that parent involvement with students in an online school is essential for student success. Completing coursework in an online school is different than a traditional school and parents are the ones that have to help their children to be organized, to manage their time, and to complete work in their online coursework. Most students do not automatically have these organizational skills! It is only through ongoing interaction between teachers, students and parents that our online school continues to improve. We now have monthly parent club meetings that are face-to-face. At our last two meetings we have talked about the things that are working and the things that are not working in our online school. I thought the list may be helpful to others.
Things that are working in the online school/reasons for attending the online school
- Don’t want to feel like a number
- More control over my child’s education
- Focus on academics/ability to attend a Clovis school from a distance
- Fewer distractions in online school
- More involvement in learning by the students
- Less drama, less anxiety about going to school
- Able to work ahead in work or catch up as needed
- Flexibility of completing work
- Adapting to needs of students
- Engaging curriculum
- Parent Involvement
- Leadership Summits
- Able to work from anywhere
- Students learning how to learn
- Variety of textbooks
- Students learning about web tools that will carry them through the rest of their lives.
Things that need improvement in the online school
- Consistent communication methods
- More email communication needed from teachers to parents
- Standardization of courses needed so that every course is arranged in the same way to make it easier for students and parents to know where to look.
- Common format very important for ease of learning
- More visual tools used, ways to graph projects/progress at a glance
- Some way for students to track their progress
- Emails not always received back from teachers in timely manner
- More career planning needed
- Content needs to be more printer friendly
- Ongoing planning for graduation from counselors needed
- Some classes require students to take pictures of assignments…everyone doesn’t have a camera to do this
- Common grading system needed
- Elluminate session dates and times need to better advertised