Online Schools

What is a Blended-Learning High School?

Free, blended-learning schools in Colorado (also known as hybrid schools or cyber/virtual schools) vary widely. The common factor is that students enrolled in online/blended schools attend class primarily through computer-based curriculum delivery. The courses may have live or in person meetings, may be entirely non-live, or a combination of the two.
Students work toward their diploma the way they would at a traditional school, but in the convenient, safe and comfortable environment of their home or other location. In some free blended-learning high schools, Colorado students work on a more personalized learning program and schedule than they could at a traditional school.
In high-quality schools, students have a strong support system of teachers, advisors, tutors, and parents who regularly check in to ensure pace and understanding of the material. High-quality blended-learning schools also supplement learning with a wide variety of enrichment and socialization activities.

Quality

It is important to recognize that online/blended schools vary widely in both structure and quality. If comparing schools, the following are some important questions to ask:

  • Is the curriculum and learning program individualized to Colorado high school diploma students’ needs?
  • Is the curriculum just static content delivered online or does it cater to multiple learning styles with a range of enriching activities and engaging media such as videos, podcasts and interactive activities?
  • Are opportunities provided for socialization and extended learning?
  • Are all teachers certified? Do they have special training in online teaching techniques?
  • What tools are provided for communication between students, teachers, advisors and families?
  • Are these tools comprehensive, clear and easy to use?
  • What type of accountability and testing can you expect?
  • How does the school ensure that your student is staying on track?
  • How long will it take for the school to recognize a problem?
  • How and when will you be notified if your student is falling behind?
  • What opportunities do students have to meet their teachers and advisors in person?

Some Key Benefits of Online/Blended Schools

Equal or better: According to an analysis by the North Central Regional Educational Library of hundreds of online education studies, “On average, students seem to perform equally well or better in online learning” when compared to face-to-face methods. (Synthesis of New Research on K-12 Online Learning, NCREL, 2005).

A more recent study published by the US Department of Education found that, “Free online high schools in Colorado can provide easy access to standards-based, state-of-the-art lesson content, highly qualified instructors, and a wide variety of rigorous course work, regardless of physical location or other limitations.”

Lessons and pacing can be individualized to meet a student’s specific learning needs. Students learn vital skills needed to be competitive in the technology-centered 21st century workplace.