When you’re looking for the right virtual school for your child to attend, it’s important to find one that’s reputable. Just like there are doctors, mechanics, and hairdressers with online reviews that are anything but stellar, there are also online schools that are more of a diploma mill than a legit virtual school you would actually want to send your child to.
To make sure your child attends the very best virtual school to meet all of their academic needs, some vetting needs to take place first. And that can be done quickly and easily with a simple online search.
Legit virtual schools go through an extensive certification process. They are required by law to meet all of the statutes for academic excellence as any traditional public school would.
From offering a high-quality curriculum in all core subjects to providing opportunities to meet the elective requirements necessary to earn a high school diploma, such as health, physical education, music, languages, and the arts. Virtual schools must follow all of the same state and federal education laws that guide the public schools in your area.
In addition to the academic requirements, virtual schools must also stay compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act. This means virtual schools have to include web content filtering on all of the devices they issue to students.
One thing that really helps a virtual school stand out amongst its competitors is whether or not it’s accredited. Accreditation means that a virtual school has achieved and maintained a high standard of quality.
While the U.S. Department of Education does not accredit K-12 schools itself, receiving accreditation by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education is a good indicator that that particular virtual school has gone above and beyond everything expected from it.
By checking the U.S. Department of Education website, you can check to see if the virtual school you are considering has been accredited by one of these recognized agencies.
Some of the more popular accrediting organizations you’re likely to see are:
- Middle States Association
- New England Association
- American Montessori Society
- National Christian School Association
Each of these agencies has a rigorous framework they use to determine whether or not a virtual school should be accredited or maintain its accredited status.
They look for things like the virtual school having a clear purpose statement, adhering to a code of ethics, providing equitable opportunities to all learners, and hiring highly qualified staff. They are also looking for schools that have clearly defined operational processes and procedures, in-depth teacher evaluations, and continuous assessment of their programs.
By doing a little bit of research, you can determine which virtual schools meet and exceed the requirements set forth by federal, state, and accreditation organizations so that your child receives the best virtual education possible.