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35 Best Online High Schools in America in 2020

Did you know that the oldest K-12 online programs and schools in the United States are between 15 and 20 years old? This coincides with the widespread use of the Internet in the late 1990s when virtual state schools and online schools increased in number and improved in quality. The early forerunners included the Florida Virtual School, Connections Academy, and K12 Inc., and many of these schools increased in Michigan, Georgia, and Idaho.

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Since the first online schools were established, many more types were developed, including online charter schools with students across the United States and autonomous schools and districts offering online courses. The evolution also included programs shifting from mostly online classes to blended programs with onsite and online components. Indeed, there’s a wide range of online learning models that parents and their high school-ready children can choose from!

The most common online education programs in the United States are:

  • Virtual academies are online public schools offered in many states and with state-certified teachers and educators at the helm.
  • District-run programs are online charter schools administered by education districts. Students can study at home through an online curriculum but may be able to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports tournaments.
  • Blended schools combine in-person learning in a physical location and online learning. Students have to attend face-to-face classes in a traditional setting for a few days a week; the days vary depending on the school. Blended schools typically use the K-12 program and curriculum.
  • Insight Schools are tuition-free public schools that specialize in providing students with the appropriate support and resources designed to engage and empower them. Students are typically given an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP).
  • Destination Career Academics and Programs are also tuition-free programs available in selected states. These combine traditional high school courses with electives designed to provide students with relevant knowledge and skills in their chosen industry. 

Many well-known private colleges and universities also offer online high schools, such as Stanford University. Indeed, many of the best online high schools in America are privately-funded institutions!

But why are online high schools becoming more popular? We’re not only talking about the increase in enrollment in online programs due to the coronavirus pandemic either! Before the pandemic (and the culture of fear that came with it), online learning was already on the rise.

Online learning among K-12 students in general and high school students, in particular, is a growing trend.  In a Keeping Pace with K–12 Online Learning report, the number of students enrolled in the 2009-2010 academic year was 1.5 million, and only 50% of U.S. Districts offered blended or online courses. For the 2013-2014 period, the numbers increased to 2.7 million and 75%, respectively. 

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Surveys reveal that brick-and-mortar schools are expanding their services by offering online schooling for the following reasons:

  • To offer courses that aren’t available in the traditional setting
  • To offer college-level courses or advance placement
  • To address the twin issues of a growing student population and limited physical space
  • To resolve scheduling conflicts among students and teachers
  • To meet the specific needs of certain cohorts of students
  • To allow struggling students to retake their courses

The changing preference of parents also spurs the increasing popularity of online high schools. The most commonly cited reasons are the poor learning environment, strong objections to the lessons being taught, and the view that their children aren’t being challenged enough in brick-and-mortar schools. Many parents also cited their religious beliefs as part of the reasons for pulling their children from traditional classrooms and into virtual classrooms. 

Students are also choosing online and blending learning programs for largely academic reasons, and many of their reasons reflect their parents’ reasons, too. They typically fall into these categories:

  • Students who have lost interest in attaining satisfactory academic performance because they believe that traditional schools aren’t a good fit for them.
  • Students who become disengaged and bored because the traditional learning environment doesn’t provide them with sufficient challenge. But they are doing well in academics except for the lack of learning stimulation.
  • Students who want to catch up on their education for one reason or another, such as going back to school following years of dropping out.

Indeed, there are many advantages to online high schools that parents and children should consider!

  • You can set your own learning pace as a student for the most part.
  • You can access the learning modules for as long as you have an Internet connection. Your special needs, location, and circumstances in life will not matter as much in online learning.
  • You can enjoy the benefits of artificial one-on-one teaching.

But there are some potential drawbacks, such as student willingness and suitability, reading skills and comprehension, and social interactions, which should be considered.  Fortunately, these are minor issues with easy solutions.

The bottom line: Parents and their high school-aged children should seriously consider the best online high schools outlined here! You will find that, indeed, there’s more to it than meets the eye, and most of them are positive. 

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The sheer number of online high schools made it a challenge for us to choose the cream of the crop. We made it easier by considering these factors in shortlisting and compiling the 35 best of the best. 

  • Accreditation: The goal of accreditation is to ensure that the individual school meets the acceptable level of quality recognized by the accreditation agencies on the regional and national levels.
  • Curriculum: We also checked for the relevance and compliance of each of the school’s curriculum with the state standards for high school students. Most of these schools allow the students’ active participation in the classes and encourage interactions between the teachers and students, too.
  • Technological infrastructure: The online school itself should have a reliable, simple to use and available technological infrastructure as well as offer satisfactory technical support for its students.
  • Credit transfers: The students should be able to transfer their credits from online schools to traditional schools, partly through accreditation, and vice versa. We suggest that parents and their children should check the enrolment agreement for credit transfers.
  • Quality of instruction: The teachers are licensed by the concerned licensing authority such as the state. They should be well-trained in the generally accepted teaching principles and practices. Parents may want to check on the teachers’ professional qualifications – degree, experience, and track record, among others.
  • School performance and reputation: We considered the overall reputation of online schools based on several factors. These include graduation rates, student outcomes, student and parent satisfaction, and performance in statewide and nationwide tests.
  • Support services: Positive academic performance is closely related to satisfactory student support, and it applies to online students, too. We reviewed the availability of tutoring services, learning coaches, and guidance counselors, as well as the presence of a parent network and alumni services. 
  • Socialization opportunities: While socialization opportunities may not seem vital in online high schools, these are strongly appreciated for the students’ positive overall development. We checked whether the schools offered field trips, group projects, and clubs that students can participate in.
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Check out our list of the 35 Best Online High Schools in America in 2020 using these page jumps:

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Stanford Online High School
The Davidson Academy
Mt. Everest Academy
Laurel Springs School
Scottsdale Online Learning
Broward Virtual School
California Connections Academy Southern California
James Madison High School
WiloStar3D Academy
The University of Texas at Austin High School
NorthStar Academy
Brigham Young University’s Independent Study High School
Mizzou Academy
Penn Foster High School
The Keystone School
Liberty University Online Academy
Forest Trail Academy
International Virtual Learning Academy
Park City Independent
Whitmore School
The Oaks Private School
University of Nebraska High School
Mother of Divine Grace School
Oak Meadow School
Pasco eSchool
The Ogburn School
Texas Online Preparatory High School
Clonlara School
iUniversity Prep
Advantages School International
Calvary Prep Academy
Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School
The Christa McAuliffe Academy School of Arts and Sciences
Alpha Omega Academy
The North Dakota Center for Distance Education

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Stanford Online High School

School Standouts:

Founded in 2006, Stanford Online High School is considered an elite school because of its highly selective admission process, excellent instruction quality, and high college acceptance rate. Its students aren’t placed according to their grade level, but according to their individuality and, thus, each student has an individualized schedule. Its student body consists of intellectually passionate students from around the world, too, and who share a virtual classroom where critical thinking and creative innovations are encouraged. 

Students can enroll in three ways, namely, just one course, part-time, or full-time, with each student allowed to request for his/her transcripts. All students, nonetheless, will enjoy the robust student services, including college counseling.   

Campus Location: Redwood City, California

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Religious Affiliation: Secular  

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Human Nature and Society
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Democracy, Freedom, and the Rule of Law

Course Flexibility: Web-based video conferencing technology used in seminar classes, which allow students to see their instructors and classmates in real-time. This simulates a classroom environment and, thus, maximizes active engagement and productive interaction.

Graduation Requirements:

Students are required to take 200 units, or the equivalent of 20 full-year courses, to receive a high school diploma.

Learn more about Stanford Online High School.

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The Davidson Academy

School Standouts:

Founded in 2006, The Davidson Academy is the first public online high school in the U.S. for profoundly gifted students. Such is its excellent instruction quality that 95% of its students are proficient in reading and math! Academic excellence is attributed to the 5:1 student-teacher ratio and personalized teaching style.

But getting into the program is competitive! Interested individuals must score in the 99.9th percentile on intelligence tests, show academic and intellectual achievement, and perform according to high academic criteria, among others. Once accepted, students will enjoy a conducive learning environment where their strengths, abilities, and interests are supported and where they can enroll in advanced placement and university courses. 

Campus Location: Reno, Nevada

Accreditation: Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), a division of AdvancED.

Religious Affiliation: Secular 

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Arabic Comp and Conv I
  • Shakespeare: Tragedies and Histories
  • Voice for Non-Majors

Course Flexibility:

Students aren’t grouped according to their age or grade level but by their ability.

Graduation Requirements:

Students must get a cumulative non-weighted GPA of 3.0 and complete 28 total credits for graduation. (The 28 credit units consist of 23 required courses and five electives)

Learn more about The Davidson Academy.

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Mt. Everest Academy

School Standouts:

Mt. Everest Academy (MEA) is a public online high school that boasts of small class sizes (20:1 teacher-to-student ratio), weekly study group instruction, and a supportive, safe and conducive learning environment. Indeed, it’s an Exemplary Independent Study School in the State of California and among San Diego County’s best schools! In-state test scores, most of its students are proficient in reading (82%) and math (77%).

Students have access to Honors/Advanced Placement courses, too, which provide them with a head start in their college education. Their academic excellence is supported by the GATE-certified teachers who provide them with individualized attention and outstanding instruction. Both students and their parents are also provided with a wide range of educational workshops and materials.

Campus Location: San Diego, California

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • AP Studio Art 2D
  • AP Studio Art Drawing
  • Biotechnology (College credit)

Course Flexibility:

The students receive their study materials from their supervising teachers and then pass their work monthly. The supervising teachers review the students’ work, assess their academic progress, and return the work to the students’ parents along with feedback. The students are also required to attend weekly study groups and labs. 

Graduation Requirements:

MEA follows the California Education Code’s graduation requirements. Contact the school for more information.

Learn more about Mt. Everest Academy.

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Laurel Springs School

School Standouts:

Laurel Springs School is a fully accredited, multi-awarded online private school that offers a world-class K-12 program; among its awards is the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honour Award.  Students can enroll in its high school program at any time, thanks to its rolling admissions model, and they enjoy a diverse curriculum, a combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning, and rigorous instruction. The curriculum includes core subjects and college prep courses, college credit courses, honors, and advanced placement courses, and World Language courses. 

The qualified teaching staff provides flexible, personalized, and outstanding instruction to the students in all these courses.  The student services include college advising and guidance counseling, which are designed to provide students with the skills vital to their success in life.

Campus Location: Ojai, California

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Religious Affiliation: Secular 

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Gothic Literature: Monster Stories
  • Forensic Science
  • Anthropology

Course Flexibility:

Students can access their learning materials and lessons 24/7 due to the asynchronous model, as well as access their past tests and quizzes, their progress, and other relevant records.

Graduation Requirements:

Students who want to get a College Prep diploma must complete at least 23.5 credits. Each 36-week course equals one credit, and each 18-week course is half credit. 

Learn more about Laurel Springs School.

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Scottsdale Online Learning

School Standouts:

Scottsdale Online Learning is known for its diverse if small, student population with high proficiency in reading and math, as well as for its low teacher-to-student ratio (6:1). Students are ably supported by competent and caring teachers who provide exceptional academic instruction that prepares them for academic success in university.

The core classes are all NCAA-approved and, thus, the school meets the highest standards in its curriculum. The school emphasizes academic excellence while still letting the students follow their unique schedules. The students have to work independently while still getting the proper guidance from their teachers, as well as be self-motivated and self-disciplined. 

Campus Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Accreditation: AdvancED

Religious Affiliation: Secular 

Some Interesting Electives:

  • American Sign Language
  • Mythology and Folklore
  • Careers in Criminal Justice

Course Flexibility:

Students can set their schedules but are required to comply with high academic standards. 

Graduation Requirements:

A student can be awarded a high school diploma if they either:

  • Completed 22 credits and have continuously enrolled in at least five credit-bearing courses during the final semester before graduation during his senior year; or
  • Completed an equivalent program of study with at least 720 instructional hours

A student should also have achieved at least a 2.0 GPA.

Learn more about Scottsdale Online Learning.

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Broward Virtual School

School Standouts:

Broward Virtual School (BVS), a public online high school recognized as an “A” school by the Florida Department of Education, is known for its ultra-low student-to-teacher ratio (9:1). This setup allows its teachers to provide individualized instruction. Proof: 92% of its students are at least proficient in reading, while 82% are so in math.

Students can hoose between part-time and full-time enrollment, but everybody can earn their high school diploma completely online. The e-learning format is conducive to the rigorous yet engaging and individualized instructional model.

But it isn’t just all work for students! BVS also offers a wide range of extracurricular activities that allow students and teachers to build friendships in a relaxed environment. These include field trips, club activities, and academic competitions.

Campus Location: Coconut Creek, Florida

Accreditation: AdvancED

Religious Affiliation: Secular 

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Art History and Criticism
  • Career Research and Decision Making
  • Creative Photography

Course Flexibility:

BVS combines online learning on one hand and face-to-face activities, including academic interventions and standardized testing, on the other hand. Students are required to follow strict attendance in classes, too.

Graduation Requirements:

Under Florida Law, high school students can choose between a 4-year standard high school diploma with 24 credits and an ACCEL Program with at least 18 credits. The 4-year program is the de facto choice in case the students don’t make an explicit choice.

Learn more about Broward Virtual School.

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California Connections Academy Southern California

School Standouts:

California Connections Academy Southern California, a high-quality yet tuition-free online public school, takes pride in its track record of academic excellence! Students are selected via a rigorous selection process. It is a necessity considering its high academic performance standards that meet, even exceed, state education standards. But students are also provided with flexible learning schedules that provide them ample opportunities to explore their non-academic interests. 

The state-credentialed teachers deliver exceptional instruction based on a proven curriculum with core subjects and diverse electives, too. They are praised for their dedication to the job and their sincere empathy for their students. They are recognized for encouraging active parent involvement. 

Note that more than 100 of its courses meet the University of California’s “a-g” admission requirements. 

Campus Location: San Juan Capistrano, California

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Religious Affiliation: Secular 

Some Interesting Electives:

  • English Literature and Composition
  • Human Geography
  • Earth Science

Course Flexibility:

Online classes are in session from September to June for a total of 180 days. Students can access Basic, College Preparatory, Honors, and Advanced Placement programs, as well as the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program, to earn high school and college credits. 

Graduation Requirements:

Students must earn 22 Carnegie units of credit to graduate.

Learn more about California Connections Academy Southern California

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James Madison High School

School Standouts:

James Madison High School, a for-profit private online school, is known for its diverse student population since it accepts traditional students, homeschoolers, and adult learners into its program. There’s a rolling admissions system in place wherein students can enroll at their convenience and pay for their tuition via monthly payments with no interest.  Students can also seek guidance from their Advocate and choose live sessions, too.

The world-class curriculum consists of relevant courses designed to provide students with real-world knowledge and skills, particularly suitable for college and the workplace. The teachers are known for their active engagement in students’ academic life, too

Campus Location: Norcross, Georgia

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Pre-Calculus
  • Public Speaking
  • Reading and Literature

Course Flexibility:

The online programs are self-paced, so flexible schedules are allowed, and credits are eligible for transfer. 

Graduation Requirements:

Students can choose from two diploma options:

  • General Diploma and Career Pathways require completion of 23 credits; 5 elective courses for General Diploma and 2 for Career Pathways
  • College Prep Diploma requires 23 credits, of which three credits should be in elective courses

Learn more about James Madison High School.

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WiloStar3D Academy

School Standouts:

WiloStar3D Academy, an accredited online homeschool program, is unique in the sense that it allows its students to create their 3D virtual world for their activities. Students also create the respective avatars that they can then use in their interactions with each other and with their teachers. The result is an immersive learning environment where students can put their imagination to good use, particularly in achieving outstanding academic performance. 

Most of the teachers here have advanced degrees, too, a vital factor in nurturing the intellectual needs of the intelligent student body. Most, if not all, of them also have ten-year teaching experience. 

Take note that the school uses active and constructivist learning methodologies that encourage critical and collaborative thinking. Parents and students can access the learning materials at their convenience, too.

Campus Location: Bonita Springs, Florida

Accreditation: AdvancED

Religious Affiliation: Secular 

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Culinary Artistry
  • Unity Game Design
  • The Science of Sherlock Holmes

Course Flexibility:

Students have daily interactions with their teachers, attend live class sessions, and interact through their 3D virtual world. They earn six credits by attending 900 hours of instructions per academic year. 

Graduation Requirements:

Students need 24 credits (minimum) to be considered for graduation.

Learn more about WiloStar3D Academy.

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The University of Texas at Austin High School

School Standouts:

The University of Texas at Austin High School is a public school that offers a full-time online diploma program for both part-time and full-time students. It also offers single online credit courses and an early readiness option, known as Early Readiness High School Graduation Option (ERHSGO). It also offers NCAA-approved core courses and College Board-approved Advanced Placement courses. 

The school uses an asynchronous instructional model that allows students to set their daily course schedules and activities. But there are also recommended pacing guides to ensure that students will make consistent progress and complete the program as scheduled. Students are encouraged to adopt autonomy, self-assessment, and self-pacing as well as interact with their teachers through the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS).

Campus Location: Austin, Texas

Accreditation: Texas Board of Education

Religious Affiliation: Secular 

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Communication Applications
  • Humanities – Western Civilization
  • Business Information Management

Course Flexibility:

Students have access to coursework 24/7 while the assignments should be submitted within 1-2 weeks. They should consider taking four courses during the spring and fall semesters to graduate in 4 years.

Graduation Requirements:

Students have to take and pass an online proctored final examination every semester. 

Learn more about The University of Texas at Austin High School.

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NorthStar Academy

School Standouts:

NorthStar Academy, a member of the Network of International Christian Schools, offers a wide range of student-centered, faith-based courses. The courses are designed to provide students with high-quality education instilled with a strong Christian worldview. Indeed, many of its graduates eventually become servant leaders while most of them are literate in biblical matters. 

The student body consists of both U.S. citizens and foreign citizens from more than 70 countries, all of whom learn their courses completely online. Students choose from more than 200 courses, too, including core subjects and electives. Emphasis must be made that all courses, materials, and activities are imbued with a biblical perspective but with a modern approach. 

Campus Location: Southhaven, Mississippi

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED
  • Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)

Religious Affiliation: Non-denominational Christian 

Some Interesting Electives:

  • College and Career Preparation
  • Foreign Languages
  • Physical Education and Health

Course Flexibility:

Students choose from two diploma programs, namely, Standard and Advanced. As a general rule, school starts on any Monday with students given 52 weeks to complete 36 weeks’ worth of lessons.

Graduation Requirements:

Students in the Standard diploma program must complete 24 credits to graduate. Students in the Advanced diploma program are required to complete 26 credits. 

Learn more about NorthStar Academy.

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Brigham Young University’s Independent Study High School

School Standouts:

Brigham Young University’s Independent Study High School offers a full-time online diploma-granting program as well as traditional Independent Study courses, which are available the entire year. The former has a flexible home study component, too. All students, nonetheless, are required to complete the online preparatory course (STDEV 051).

Students can choose from several four-year programs, including Standard, Advanced, and Adult, to earn their high school diploma. The Standard program has a traditional curriculum where students are encouraged to complete a minimum of 3 courses every six months. The Advanced program has a more comprehensive curriculum that includes world language, upper-level math and science, and writing and literature courses. 

Students can also avail of free tutoring for up to an hour every week.

Campus Location: Provo, Utah

Accreditation: Cognia

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Essential Life Skills
  • Online Prep: Tools for Success
  • Project Self-Discovery

Course Flexibility:

Students decide on their course load. They also gain the freedom to complete their coursework at their own pace.

Graduation Requirements:

Students are required to complete 24 credits regardless of the program they chose. Most of the courses are worth half a credit. 

Learn more about Brigham Young University’s Independent Study High School.

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Mizzou Academy

School Standouts:

Mizzou Academy is under the administration of the University Of Missouri – College of Education, among the country’s best educational institutions. It offers two diploma programs, namely, the College Prep Diploma Path and the Standard Path. Its graduates are well-equipped to enter prestigious universities like Princeton, MIT, and Cornell University, among others.

Students can choose from more than 200 core and elective courses, as well as access them online anytime, anywhere. The courses can be finished between 6 weeks and six months, depending on their complexity and requirements. The curriculum itself is constantly evolving according to current education standards, as well as developed by state-certified educators. 

The academy uses the CoTeachSM Model, which allows teachers from the College of Education to work together with traditional classroom teachers. 

Campus Location: Columbia, Missouri

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED
  • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • AP Computer Science A/B
  • Career Planning
  • Critical Thinking & Study Skills

Course Flexibility:

A fully online learning model underscored by a flexible study arrangement where students can learn anytime, anywhere. Students can also work with local schools and tutors if they want a blended learning experience.

Graduation Requirements:

Students in the Standard Path Diploma must earn at least 24 units while those in the College Path Diploma Program have to earn at least 25 units. Each semester course is equivalent to half a credit.

Learn more about Mizzou Academy.

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Penn Foster High School

School Standouts:

Penn Foster High School was established to provide young people with an affordable education instead of the traditional model and equivalency exams. Today, its student body of more than 60,000 students make it among the largest private high schools in the U.S.

Students choose from core and elective courses, which are classified into College Preparation, Vocational and General Elective, to earn a diploma. They can set their schedules, thanks to the self-paced online programs, and enjoy manageable mobile-friendly sessions for their lessons. Graduates are likely to enter prestigious universities and become productive members of the workforce, even leaders of the industry.

Campus Location: Scranton, Pennsylvania

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED
  • Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • American Literature
  • Auto Repair
  • Vet Assistant

Course Flexibility:

Students interact with their teachers and classmates through discussion boards and other means of communication. They also work on their lessons anytime, anywhere, through the mobile-friendly platform.

Graduation Requirements:

Students should earn at least 21.5 credits consisting of 16.5 credits in core courses and five credits in elective courses. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT Penn Foster High School

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The Keystone School

School Standouts:

The Keystone School is a highly selective, academically competitive private high school that offers young people and adults (19 years old and up) the opportunity to earn their diploma. It offers two paths, namely, a standard path and a Career High School path for adults. Its students, nonetheless, can work on their courses anytime, anywhere, without specific deadlines.

Students choose from over 200 courses, including core courses, electives, and Advance Placement courses. They also have six world languages to choose from. The online lessons are delivered through a variety of means, including interactive graphics, virtual labs, and animated tutorials. The school also utilizes the Blackboard Learning Management System, a program that provides students access to their lessons, assignments, and materials.

Parents can enroll their children anytime (rolling admissions) and monitor their children’s progress via their respective Blackboard™ Learning Management System.

Campus Location: San Antonio, Texas

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Life Skills
  • Business Law
  • Forensic Science

Course Flexibility:

Students have full control over their course load and schedule under the school’s self-paced study model. 

Graduation Requirements:

Students must earn at least 21 credits for graduation purposes.

Learn more about The Keystone School.

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Liberty University Online Academy

School Standouts:

Liberty University Online offers a faith-based high school curriculum that allows students to choose from three academic paths, namely, Standard, Advanced, and Associate of Arts. The Standard program paves the way for higher education in a community college or a tech-vocational institution. The Advanced program, with its more rigorous curriculum, is recommended for students planning to pursue higher education in a university. The Associate program is more suitable for students pursuing an associate degree through LUOA’s parent school, Liberty University.  

The school offers world-class academic, technical, and administrative support, too, while the qualified teachers sincerely care about their students’ progress.

Campus Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

Accreditation:

  • Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (Cognia)

Religious Affiliation: Christian

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Family and Consumer Science
  • Computer Applications
  • Web Design

Course Flexibility:

A structured yet flexible curriculum is suitable for individualized instruction that, in turn, is delivered entirely online.

Graduation Requirements:

For Standard diploma students, at least 22 credits plus one credit of the Bible for every year of the enrollment is required for graduation. For Advanced diploma students, it’s at least 26 credits with one credit of the Bible for every year of study. 

Learn more about Liberty University Online Academy.

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Forest Trail Academy 

School Standouts:

Forest Trail Academy, an online private school, offers an interactive, self-paced, and student-friendly high school program as well as summer, credit recovery, and Advanced Placement courses. Students can also enroll in its Dual Enrollment Program, a tie-up with Waldorf University. 

Students remain engaged in their studies through a combination of personalized learning, highly-qualified teachers and counselors, and personalized student services. Enrollment is open the whole year-round, and it can be done online anywhere, anytime. Parents and their children can consult with an admission advisor to plan their course load. 

Campus Location: Wellington, Florida

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)
  • Middle States Association – Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA CESS)
  • Accreditation International (Ai)
  • The National Council for Private School Accreditation

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Astronomy
  • Zoology

Course Flexibility:

Students have the freedom to plan their course load but with the guidance of an admission officer, counselor, and teacher to earn a diploma within a target period.

Graduation Requirements:

Earning a General High School Diploma requires completion of 21 credits while a College Prep High School Diploma demands 24 credits, minimum.

Learn more about Forest Trail Academy.

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International Virtual Learning Academy

School Standouts:

International Virtual Learning Academy, a private K-12 school, offers six curricula under its standard online high school diploma program. These include Ignitia Christian Curriculum, OdysseyWare, Apex, and Edmentum, all of which are designed to provide students with different academic skills and life experiences. Adults (20 years old and up) can also earn their diploma under the Online Adult High School Program, which can be completed in 18 months. 

Every full-time student has a success coach who will work with both the student and his/her parents to achieve academic success. Student services include guided coursework, guidance counseling on post-secondary choices, and club memberships, and live homeroom sessions. The school adopts a rolling admissions system that allows interested individuals to enroll anytime, anywhere. 

Campus Location: Henderson, Nevada

Accreditation:

  • Cognia

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • African American History
  • Agriscience 1: Introduction
  • Archaeology

Course Flexibility:

Online classes, combined with ample opportunities for face-to-face social interactions. 

Graduation Requirements:

The minimum number of credits required for graduation depends on the diploma path chosen, as follows:

  • Standard – 15 credits
  • College prep – 20 credits
  • Honors 21 credits

Transferees in their final year in high school must take at least four credits to be considered for graduation.

Learn more about International Virtual Learning Academy.

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Park City Independent 

School Standouts:

Park City Independent is well-known for its high academic standards. Such is its strong appeal that it has a diverse student body with students coming not just from the U.S. but from other countries, too. Its world-class curriculum, which exceeds state and federal standards, is part of its appeal.

Adult students can also earn a high school diploma through its fast-track program. All students are provided with exemplary instruction from trained teachers, as well as enjoy interactive lessons and multimedia presentations. The school has an open enrollment policy. Classes can start anytime, but there are also strict rules regarding timely submissions. Also, there’s a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and full refund policy.  

Campus Location: Scottsdale, Arizona

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED
  • Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC)

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Art History I
  • Personal Finance
  • Career Planning and Development

Course Flexibility:

Students can learn at their own schedule.  Virtual classrooms are structured similarly to traditional classrooms.

Graduation Requirements:

Students are eligible for graduation if they meet the minimum requirement of 24 credits.

Learn more about Park City Independent.

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Whitmore School

School Standouts:

Whitmore School provides individualized education to students who want to earn their high school diploma. Students choose from two tracks, namely, the General Studies Track and the College Prep Track (for students planning on a post-secondary education). Since the school uses mastery-based learning methods, its students enjoy self-paced courses, although there are limitations.

Parents can monitor their children’s progress through weekly and monthly reports. Students may also enroll in a one-on-one tutoring program, as well as start a new course at any time. Every student also has a Personal Graduation Plan developed with his/her counselor, who also provides other relevant student services. Academic excellence is emphasized for all students, even as they learn at their own pace.

Campus Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Accreditation: AdvancED

Religious Affiliation:

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Performing Arts
  • Community Service
  • Music Appreciation

Course Flexibility:

While the courses are self-paced, students aren’t allowed to complete a course in less than 30 days after the submission of the course’s first lesson. Students who left their courses unfinished one year after enrollment can pick up where they left off. 

Graduation Requirements:

The minimum number of credits depends on the type of track chosen:

  • General Studies Track – 18 credits
  • College Prep Track – 22 credits

LEARN MORE ABOUT Whitmore School.

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The Oaks Private School

School Standouts:

The Oaks Private School (TOPS Online) offers online education wherein students can choose from 3 diploma tracks, namely, Honors College Preparatory, Standard, and College Preparatory. These are all characterized by outstanding instruction from qualified teachers and rigorous study that imbue students with vital real-world knowledge and skills. These are, however, differentiated by the students’ plans after high school and the graduation requirements, among others. 

TOPS Online also offers other high school programs, namely: Apex, an honors program; Ignitia, a Christian-based program suitable for children with autism; Odysseyware, a secular program with on-demand tutoring; and Homeschool, a parent-led program that encourages independent learning. These programs are based on the Academic Mastery System, an effective learning system recognized in the U.S. as among the best. 

Campus Location: Jasper, Florida

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)
  • Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC).

Religious Affiliation: Christian

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Creative Writing
  • Financial Literacy
  • Liberal Arts Math

Course Flexibility:

Students study flexibly at their own time and pace within certain limitations under the school’s policies.

Graduation Requirements:

Standard Diploma – 24 credits

College Preparatory Diploma – 26 credits

Honors Diploma – 28 credits (All are the minimum number of credits so students can exceed the number) 

Learn more about The Oaks Private School.

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University of Nebraska High School

School Standouts:

University of Nebraska High School (UNHS), a university-based online high school operated by the University of Nebraska, caters to a multi-ethnic student body from more than 100 countries. Students can choose from dozens of courses, which are designed for self-paced study and can be finished in as little as five weeks. These courses typically include lesson discussions, reading assignments, multimedia activities, inquiry activities and labs, and progress tests, among others.

Students access their online courses, grade leaders, and instructor evaluations and assessments via WayCool, a program designed to make online learning fun, efficient, and effective. They can also earn college credits by enrolling in the UNHS Dual Enrollment, and their credits will be accepted at the parent-school.

Campus Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED/Cognia
  • Nebraska Department of Education

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • First Year and Second Year Chinese
  • Everyday Etiquette
  • Appreciating Art

Course Flexibility:

Students can take advantage of the rolling admissions policy, which means they can start their coursework at any time and anywhere they want. The courses are completed in as little as five weeks after submission of the first assignment, although it can also be stretched to 52 weeks. The bottom line: It’s a flexible study arrangement.

Graduation Requirements:

Students earn at least 20 credits to be eligible for a high school diploma.

Learn more about the University of Nebraska High School.

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Mother of Divine Grace School 

School Standouts:

Mother of Divine Grace School is known for its passionate application of the classical method, as guided by the Catholic faith. As such, many of its courses are relevant to the Catholic faith, such as Catholic Doctrine, but most are vital in the understanding of the modern world (e.g., Advanced American Government and Economics). While there’s an emphasis on independent learning among students, parents are also encouraged to become actively involved in their children’s education.

Both parents and students can discuss college preparation plans with the school’s consultants. The school also offers several levels of structure, including Teacher Services, Special Services Program, and Learning Support Classes. Such is the effectiveness of its curriculum and student services that its graduates have been accepted to prestigious universities like Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and MIT.

Campus Location: Ojai, California

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Religious Affiliation: Catholic

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Fine Arts: Art History
  • French Conversation Lab
  • News Production

Course Flexibility:

Online classes are structured similarly to traditional classes, but students still have a good degree of flexibility and freedom in their studies.

Graduation Requirements:

Eligibility requirements for graduation include satisfactory completion of at least 22.5 credits and enrollment in at least 2 MODG courses every year. 

Learn about Mother of Divine Grace School.

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Oak Meadow School

School Standouts:

Established more than 40 years ago, Oak Meadow School has established a strong reputation for excellent education based on a relevant curriculum. The curriculum itself consists of lesson plans, including readings, assignments, and activities that are spread out over 36 weeks every semester. The students have their respective email accounts that they can use within the school’s domain, typically for school work and other related activities. 

Students also receive their coursework materials in printed and digital versions.  The coursework is largely nature-based instead of faith-based, but the school gives parents and their children the freedom to include religious study. Parents and students can ask questions from educational counselors during virtual information sessions where individualized learning plans can be made. 

Campus Location: Brattleboro, Vermont

Accreditation: New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

Religious Affiliation: Secular  

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Latin I-III
  • French I-III
  • Integrated Health and Fitness

Course Flexibility:

Courses are delivered online with students able to discuss concerns with their teachers over the phone, email, and video chat. Take note that students here may not need to file as a homeschooler in their respective state.  

Graduation Requirements:

Students must complete at least 22 credits to be considered eligible for graduation. But for students who want to proceed to post-secondary education, the school suggests completion of 24 to 26 credits. Students who want to graduate must also be full-time students during the two semesters of their final year.

Learn more about Oak Meadow School.

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Pasco eSchool

School Standouts:

Pasco eSchool, a public school, offers exceptional K12 education for free in a full-year program characterized by the best of tradition and innovation. Its top-notch teachers provide timely, relevant, and empathic instructional support and guidance to their students as well as use the latest online learning technology. It also accepts students co-enrolled in other private, public, and charter schools, including new Pasco County students. 

Students in Grades 6-12 can choose to be a full-time or part-time student. Full-time students take all their classes online. Part-time students attend their respective schools for a certain number of hours and then have online classes for their remaining coursework. All students are allowed to participate in school-sponsored clubs, events, and sports, too.

Campus Location: Spring Hill, Florida

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED
  •  

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement or SACS CASI

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Health/Life Management Skills
  • History of the Holocaust
  • Theater Cinema & Film Production

Course Flexibility:

Students enjoy a virtual classroom anytime, anywhere.

Graduation Requirements:

The minimum number of credits for graduation depends on the diploma track chosen. A standard diploma equals 24 credits, while an ACCEL diploma requires 18 credits only. Students must earn a 2.0 GPA for graduation purposes. 

Learn more about Pasco eSchool.

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The Ogburn School 

School Standouts:

Parents and their children who are looking for non-traditional high school programs should consider The Ogburn School! It offers numerous self-paced online courses designed and delivered following the State of Florida standards. Its online courses are available to students 24/7 and who, in turn, can graduate in 4 to 6 weeks.

Both young people and adults can enroll in their courses, too, although the adults have their adult programs. All students are provided with access to teacher support services, online coursework materials, and academic counseling services, among others. Upon graduation, they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and employment, thanks to the rigorous curriculum designed by experienced educators.

Campus Location: Fernandina Beach, Florida

Accreditation:

  • AdvancEd
  • Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools or MSA-CESS
  • National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA)
  • Association of Independent Schools of Florida (AISF)

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • American Sign Language I-II
  • Art History
  • Creative Photography

Course Flexibility:

Students have the freedom to start their courses online anytime, anywhere they want. They also have the option of enrolling at any time during the year (rolling admissions) and of studying during the summer toward early graduation.

Graduation Requirements:

The school requires its students to earn at least 25 credits to be considered eligible for graduation.

Learn more about The Ogburn School.

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Texas Online Preparatory High School

School Standouts:

Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS) has an innovative learning program that meets if not exceeds the state standards. Parents find it easy to become active participants in their children’s education without being overwhelmed by it. Students, along with their parents, receive their complete curriculum, instructional materials including books and workbooks, and lesson planning programs free of charge.

Students are encouraged to take a full course load consisting of core subjects, world language, and electives. Hardworking state-certified teachers facilitate classes, and classes are usually conducted via live, interactive online means. Parents and students engage with teachers and staff via email, phone, and web-based classrooms, too, while social outings, in-person events, and community service activities provide ample socialization opportunities. 

Campus Location: Lewisville, Texas

Accreditation:

  • Texas Education Agency (TEA)
  • AdvancED

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Business Information and Management
  • Finding Your Path
  • Anthropology

Course Flexibility:

Typically, online high schools have minimum pacing and progress requirements, including deadlines for submissions. But the school also allows some flexibility in pacing and advancement options. Aside from web-based learning, students also work on old-fashioned instructional materials.

Graduation Requirements:

Eligibility requirements for graduation include satisfactory completion of 22 credits.

Learn more about Texas Online Preparatory High School.

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Clonlara School 

School Standouts:

Clonlara School is well-known for its ready-to-go courses, which include links to resources and readings, and its effective use of the Full Circle Learning model. Students earn between 5 and 6 credits every year, although they can also fast-track their graduation by taking nine credits per year. Every student has an individual advisor and a teacher for every individual course, and teachers provide support, including comments and lesson reviews.

Students design their coursework, too, with guidance and support from the advisors. They can also access the Clonlara Commons, the school’s web portal, for their transcripts and forms. They can start their respective coursework at any time of the year, too.

Campus Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • National Council for Private School Accreditation
  • Accreditation International

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Culinary Arts
  • Human and Social Services

Course Flexibility:

Self-designed, self-paced coursework but with guidance from the teachers and assistance from the individual advisor.

Graduation Requirements:

Students must earn at least 22 credits and complete other non-academic requirements, including the submission of a reading list and community service of up to 45 hours per academic year.

Learn more about Clonlara School.

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iUniversity Prep

School Standouts:

iUniversity Prep, an online public school, gives great value since it’s tuition-free. Still, it provides first-class education, thanks to its challenging curriculum, trained and dedicated teachers, and a collaborative school community. The school has high expectations for its students, from their exemplary academic performance to their good citizenship, and even expect parents to be actively involved.

Students learn via virtual classrooms, but they can also avail of face-to-face class sessions and one-on-one tutorials for their specific needs and test preparation. They can, however, complete their coursework anywhere due to the school’s flexible learning environment. They work with their Learning Coach, usually a parent, and their teachers in developing their individualized Personal Learning Plan.

Campus Location: Grapevine, Texas

Accreditation: Texas Education Agency

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Principles of Health Science

Course Flexibility:

The school provides great flexibility for its students’ learning pace since most of the instruction is done through online means, including emails and chats, as well as by phone.

Graduation Requirements:

Take note that for a student to remain eligible for enrollment, he/she has to take at least six courses every semester. Graduation eligibility requirements include completion of 26 credits. 

Learn more about iUniversity Prep.

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Advantages School International 

School Standouts:

Advantages School International operates the Advantages Online Private School that, in turn, is considered among the best in online high school education. Such an excellent reputation comes from a combination of the use of advanced educational technology, innovative educational experiences, and a rigorous curriculum. The competent and compassionate guidance from the teachers, all of whom possess impressive professional credentials, contribute to the top-notch education here. 

Students are allowed to co-enroll in other educational institutions even as they are enrolled at Advantages Online Private School, and their credits are usually transferrable both ways. All courses are offered 100% online, and exceptionally intelligent students have the opportunity to work with academic advisors to formulate the right course load.

Campus Location: Reno, Nevada

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED
  • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Spanish Language
  • Mathematics of Personal Finance
  • Art Appreciation

Course Flexibility:

All classes are done 100% online, so there’s a high degree of flexibility to the program, not to mention that the school encourages self-paced learning.

Graduation Requirements:

For General Studies students, a minimum of 13 credits is a must for graduation. But for College Preparatory students, it’s 20 credits at least.

Learn more about the Advantages of School International.

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Calvary Prep Academy

School Standouts:

Calvary Prep Academy uses an online curriculum with a biblical perspective and is based on the Apex Learning platform. Students meet their teachers in virtual classrooms (online) for their assignments, quizzes, and exams. The teachers then grade and evaluate their students’ work lives, and parents are encouraged to be active in these live discussions.

The classes usually consist of a combination of audio components, instructional videos, and interactive animations, as well as study sheets, among other learning tools. Regular online bible classes are also conducted, and the school expects its students to follow the Christian ethic and its staff to be role models of Christian values. 

Campus Location: San Marcos, California

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Religious Affiliation: Christian

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Computers in Business
  • Creative Writing
  • Digital Photography

Course Flexibility:

The school uses a blended model of learning, meaning it combines off-campus independent study and live teacher support. Students have access to their instructional materials 24/7.

Graduation Requirements:

Students must satisfactorily complete 22 credits, minimum, including credits for electives and Bible courses.

Learn more about Calvary Prep Academy.

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Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School

School Standouts:

The Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS) is a public online charter school open to residents of the State of Pennsylvania.  It’s among the most awarded schools in the state and, is in fact, ranked as the #1 charter school for ACT scores. Its students are among the most privileged, too, in terms of services – as soon as they are enrolled, students receive their laptop, printer/scanner/copier, and headset/microphone set as well as learning kits, textbooks, and online resources. 

The school adopts the traditional school year model, particularly a 180-day school year, in-service days, and winter and spring breaks. Students must log in to PALCSchool, the school’s platform, every school day as a way of tracking their attendance. But assignments can be passed within a week after these were posted online.

Campus Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania

Accreditation: Pennsylvania Department of Education

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Introduction to Computer Science – Python
  • Arts & Culture: Ancient Civilizations to Medieval Times
  • Mind, Body, and Wellness

Course Flexibility:

While students are required to log in every school day, there’s no specific time and duration unless live class sessions are scheduled.

Graduation Requirements:

Students should complete at least 21 credits in addition to the 0.2 credit for the Graduation Portfolio for every year of enrollment. 

Learn more about the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School.

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The Christa McAuliffe Academy School of Arts and Sciences

School Standouts:

Established in honor of its namesake, the Christa McAuliffe Academy School of Arts and Sciences (CMASAS) adopts a personalized learning model. This allows students to choose and complete their courses according to their learning style and pace. Students can choose between a standard diploma program and a dual enrollment program, both of which are characterized by a contemporary and challenging curriculum. 

Students and teachers meet through fixed schedules or by appointment depending on the coursework, a flexible arrangement made possible because of the asynchronous nature of the courses. But students also have the opportunity for meaningful social interactions via regional gatherings. The school offers Honors and Advanced Placement courses, too, which are considered among the best in the country. 

Campus Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED/Cognia
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Forensic Sciences
  • Digital Photography
  • Holistic Health

Course Flexibility:

Courses are self-paced and mastery-based, with 80% and above as the accepted rate. Students can move at their own pace according to their level of understanding of the coursework. 

Graduation Requirements:

Eligible students for graduation should earn at least 24 credits.

Learn more about Christa McAuliffe Academy School of Arts and Sciences.

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Alpha Omega Academy

School Standouts:

Keep in mind that Alpha Omega Academy is a Christian online school that offers three curriculum options based on a biblical perspective. These options include Ignitia, Horizons, and LIFEPAC, with all three types consisting of numerous core courses and electives in career development, world languages, and civics, among others.  Students can also choose the Career and Technology Education program as a preparatory step toward gainful employment after graduation.

Every student is provided with an individualized learning plan, which was developed with a counselor and based on his/her current academic standing, education and career goals, and learning style. Advisors, teachers, and counselors form a personalized support team, too.

Campus Location: Rock Rapids, Iowa

Accreditation:

  • Cognia
  • Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)
  • North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI)

Religious Affiliation: Christian

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Earth Science           
  • Physical Science      
  • History and Geography      

Course Flexibility:

Students can set their calendars and access their instructional materials 24/7 through Genius, the school’s student information system. 

Graduation Requirements:

At least 21 credits completed are required for graduation from this faith-based online high school.

Learn more about Alpha Omega Academy.

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The North Dakota Center for Distance Education 

School Standouts:

The North Dakota Center for Distance Education’s continuing success as an online school is due to the collective efforts of its curriculum providers, teachers and parents, and software providers, among others. These stakeholders contributed their specific expertise toward the creation of a world-class curriculum designed to provide students with a top-notch education.

All the courses are asynchronous, which gives students the flexibility to learn when and where they want, even how they want. The courses span a wide range of subjects, from aerospace to technical education.  The school uses active measurement tools in evaluating and reporting student academic performance, too.

Campus Location: Fargo, North Dakota

Accreditation:

  • AdvancED
  • North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

Religious Affiliation: Secular

Some Interesting Electives:

  • Aerospace: The Journey of Flight, First Semester
  • Personal Management: Independent Living
  • Medical Terminology

Course Flexibility:

Students have to follow their pacing chart or online assignment calendar, but they have fairly good flexibility in this regard. The school suggests devoting 1-2 hours of work every day to keep pace with the calendar. 

Graduation Requirements:

The school requires completion of at least 22 credits for a student to be eligible for graduation.

LEARN MORE ABOUT The North Dakota Center for Distance Education 

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What types of equipment must students have to complete online high school?

Keep in mind that the technology requirements are specific to each online high school. Parents must then ask about the hardware and software requirements before enrolling their children. These requirements are usually a mix of the basics, such as a complete computer set up and specialized software for course-specific work (e.g., art or information technology software).

With that said, online high schools ask their students to meet these basic hardware and software requirements. 

  • A fully functioning desktop or laptop is a must for online classes. But your computer should also comply with the specific hardware and software requirements, such as RAM, video and audio card, and office software.  The latter includes word processing, spreadsheet, and slide presentation programs, which are the most commonly used for online classes.

Your computer should also have a compatible web camera, headset with a microphone, and a CD/DVD drive, among others. You may add gizmos to your basic computer setups, such as a social media output channel, a projector, and a presentation clicker, but these are usually optional. 

If you have limited financial resources to comply with these requirements, you may be able to ask for assistance to address the issue. Many private online high schools also include the cost of equipment in their tuition, so be sure to ask about it, too.

  • A good Internet connection is also a must. Indeed, there won’t be online classes if not for high-speed Internet connections! This is vital in online classes since smooth audio, and video conversations are instrumental in learning. Just imagine being in an online class with choppy connections – your concentration won’t be at its best, and you’ll think that it’s a waste of time.

You should also be able to upload and download files quickly on your computer. You may have to upgrade or call your service provider in case these tasks aren’t being accomplished as quickly as necessary (i.e., slow Internet connection). 

Many online high schools also give their students books and modules to study and use as a reference, too.

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How involved must parents be in the online high school setup?

The biggest challenge for parents of students attending online high school programs is striking the right balance between providing guidance and giving freedom to their children. On the one hand, they have to monitor their respective children’s weekly and monthly progress; a task made easier when the school provides regular progress reports. They also have to check their children’s assignments, tests, and lessons and ensure their completion.

On the other hand, parents have to give their children a certain level of autonomy, accountability, and responsibility for their academic performance. The higher the grade level, the greater the level of freedom so that students have ample opportunity to hone their academic, time management, and real-world skills. These skills are crucial factors for success at the secondary and post-secondary levels and life in general.

What then is the right balance? There is no one-size-fits-all answer since every student has his or her own unique needs and wants about online education! You and your child have to discuss the ground rules for online education, including the level of involvement acceptable for both parties.

You may, for example, find that your involvement in your children’s online learning is limited to the evenings and weekends when discussions about lessons, challenges, and progress can be made. At other times, your children will likely spend between five and six hours every day on independent study and virtual lessons. Your participation may be limited to checking their daily schedule and ensuring their compliance with the academic requirements. 

You, the parent, must also take full advantage of the support services provided by the online high school! These include guidance counselors, parents-teachers’ association, and the teaching staff, even the non-teaching staff. You may also join a parent network where online training programs, live events, and conferences are provided to build a parent-centric community.

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What makes for academic success in an online high school program?

For students planning to enroll or are already enrolled in an online high school program, you have to remember that your academic performance is largely your responsibility. You have to be willing and ready to succeed as a high school student, as well as maintain a balance of setting big dreams while keeping your feet grounded.

Aside from your computer operations knowledge and skills, you should also have mental and emotional skills suitable for online learning. But remember, too, that these skills are just as useful in the real world, such as in college and the workplace. It’s never too early to strengthen these skills, too! 

  • Persistence is key to your academic success because, as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You have to stick to the mathematical equation, for example, until you get its concept and solve the problem. You can take breaks, of course, but you shouldn’t quit. 

Tip: Don’t hesitate to seek help from your classmates and teachers. Learning is better when it’s a shared journey.

  • Effective time management is also a vital skill in your success. While many online high schools have set daily schedules, many others allow flexibility in the students’ learning schedule. You may want to procrastinate because the deadline’s a long way off, but resist the temptation – soon enough, that deadline is in your face.   
  • Strong communication skills are also essential in online learning, as it is in face-to-face learning. You won’t be able to pick up on the non-verbal cues of your teacher and classmates, and they won’t pick up on yours either. You must then state your concerns and answers clearly, as well as use the right emoticons and other non-text tools for this purpose. 

Of course, your communication skills should include proficient reading and writing skills. You may want to take speed reading and typing classes if you’re having issues in these areas. 

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