by Sunnie (Leslie Bowman)
Virtual K-12 Schools
There has been much written and discussed about adult education through distance learning. Teachers are finding that professional development and graduate degrees are both convenient and available through accredited distance learning programs. It is quite possible these days to find online courses and degree programs in all areas of education, from bachelors degrees to doctoral degrees.
Many teachers and students may not realize that there are also online courses and diploma programs available for K12 students. Several states now fund virtual high school programs and there are even more private virtual schools that offer online courses and diplomas. Both part time and full time online teaching is an option now for K12 teachers and those who can teach online will be in demand for quite some time as these K12 virtual school programs continue to grow.
The number of virtual high schools is on the rise. Even many colleges are now offering online high school courses, presumably to "keep up with the competition." There are private online course providers (fully accredited and diplomas are accepted at accredited universities) for homeschooled students as well as any other student who wishes to supplement a traditional high school education. There are also more and more online courses becoming available for K-6 students.
For a full listing of virtual K12 schools, visit this website:
For information about state operated and/or planned virtual high schools, please visit:
Of all the virtual high schools, the one I am the most familiar with is Michigan Virtual High School. Last fall I was privileged to be invited to present a guest lecture and facilitate discussions in the Online Teacher Training Course for MVHS. In my conversations with directors, instructors, and future online teachers (who were experienced traditional high school teachers), it was quite evident that MVHS sets a high standard for the quality of courses, instruction and teachers for the online high school. I was most impressed with the teacher training course, which indicates a belief that in order to have successful online students, there must be successful online teachers who have also been online learners themselves. This is a very important part of learning how to teach online and MVHS has a very effective program to ensure that both students and teachers will be successful in the online learning environment.
There is no state virtual high school in my state, however this does not mean that students here cannot take advantage of online learning. My county school division participates in the Virtual High School consortium through which students in the county schools can take accredited high school courses online to either supplement their current high school education or to make up courses. Teachers in the county high schools have the opportunity to teach through Virtual High School (and also serve as site-based mentors). http://www.cait.org/shared_resource_
There are many exciting opportunities for both teachers and students beyond the brick-and-mortar of traditional schools. For students, virtual high schools open up a whole new world of learning. For teachers, virtual high schools open up a whole new world of teaching. Virtual schools are no longer limited to secondary schools. There are virtual schools for K12 and these are growing rapidly in number. The opportunities for both students and teachers will continue to increase as the convenience and opportunities for global learning become more desirable in K12 education.
Leslie Bowman (Sunnie) is a frequent contributor to the Teachers.Net Gazette. Other articles written by her are;