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Virtual Schools: Trusted Partners?

This is a guest post written by Tim Holland

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21st Century learning – what do educators mean by this? Is it just some fancy buzzword designed to make academics feel more important?

For many parents, the transition to this century still feels awfully fresh. It’s only when we look at a calendar that we’re reminded 1) I’m not getting any younger and, 2) 2016 is here – really here.

The contemporary American education landscape continues to undergo significant change. It can be overwhelming educating students who, as we’re told, should be preparing for careers that don’t yet exist.

Where do I begin?!?

Families choosing to homeschool their children do so purposefully. The reasons are varied, which is why access to trusted instructional resources is so important.

In the past decade, virtual schools have proliferated. The National Education Policy Center recently released a tremendous study on the state of virtual schools in the U.S.

Some virtual schools are “fly by night” institutions established for the sole purpose of making a quick buck. They don’t last long, and hurt the reputation of legitimate institutions.

Other virtual schools mean well, but are unable to provide instruction that adequately prepares students for their next steps. Students from these schools struggle to demonstrate knowledge acquisition deemed academically acceptable by any respectable measure.

One example of a public virtual school that has hit its stride can be found in Florida. Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is the largest state virtual school in America, establishing its identity earlier than many counterparts. Thousands of Sunshine State families now look to FLVS as a trusted educational partner.

Conversely, other virtual schools have experienced success as outgrowths of accredited brick and mortar schools – institutions with strong standards and rigorous accountability measures. As a result of their academic affiliation, educators are the decision-makers possessing quality control expertise that isn’t found in every virtual environment.

Getting Smart, a well-respected publication covering a variety of education topics, recently conducted an on-site visit at one such private virtual school. Virtual Schools of Excellence and St. Andrews Episcopal Academy, located in Ft. Pierce, Florida, have developed a program tailored to meet the unique needs and missions of traditional schools and homeschool families alike. There is a peace of mind that comes from connecting real names and faces to those entrusted with the responsibility of educating our children.

Ultimately, each family has to decide for themselves what makes the most educational sense for their children. If virtual education is part of your family’s philosophy, identifying trusted partners can provide an assurance that your children are receiving what they need to succeed today and into the future.

 

Author Bio –

Tim Holland is a career educator who blogs at www.timhollandonline.com. You can also find him on Twitter @Tim_G_Holland.

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