5 Questions to Ask When Researching an Online School
Researching online education options can seem like a daunting task, as many families find it difficult to know what to look for to determine if the school will meet the needs of their child. In addition, parents seeking an alternative to a brick-and-mortar school experience are often searching for a school that will take their child’s interests, abilities, talents, and style of learning into consideration.
In order to ensure that the online school will not only fit your child’s needs, but also set them up for a successful future, you may want to consider the following questions.
Is the School Accredited?
Accreditation is the most valuable facet of your search and means the school has earned the approval of an external, independent organization that performs ongoing, comprehensive examinations of the curriculum and teacher services. This is one of the most important questions you can ask because it means that students are assured the courses they take will have reciprocity of credits with colleges and universities.
Laurel Springs School’s accreditation with WASC, Cognia (formerly known as AdvancED) and SACS CASI is nationally-recognized and ensures the legitimacy of our courses and transcripts. When students enroll in a course with Laurel Springs, parents can be confident that they are receiving an education that has been thoroughly examined and approved by an independent third-party verifying body. In addition to our accreditation, most Laurel Springs courses are also NCAA and University of California a-g approved.
Is Flexibility Important to You?
A school’s flexibility can be assessed in a number of ways. If you and your child prefer to have more control of their schedule, choosing an option that provides asynchronous learning opportunities may be important to you. Asynchronous learning is a student-centered teaching method that allows students to complete their lessons without the constraints of being in a certain place at a certain time.
Online schools that follow a traditional school calendar require students to log-in during certain times of the day and deduct points if assignments are not completed by their due date. When doing your research, be sure to find out what the school’s asynchronous vs. synchronous learning opportunities are and what will best meet your family’s needs.
Flexibility is one of the primary benefits of partnering with Laurel Springs School for your child’s education. We offer asynchronous learning, which means students can complete the coursework on their own schedule. Additionally, we also offer rolling enrollment, which allows students to enroll and start their courses any day of the year.
How Varied is the Delivery of Instruction?
Everyone learns in their own way, and every child demonstrates their own Personal Learning Style, so it’s important to find a school that offers curriculum options that will suit your child’s needs. To determine this, inquire with a school’s Admissions department about the variety of delivery methods they offer. High-quality programs will offer a combination of curriculum options to create an optimal learning experience for each student.
Laurel Springs is dedicated to ensuring that we offer a curriculum that matches the student, rather than requiring the student to match the curriculum. This is why we are proud to offer text-based and online curriculum options. Students can choose one curriculum option for all courses or a combination to create an optimal learning experience.
- Text-Based – for students in Grades K-12
- Online-Based – for students in Grades K-12
Does the School Offer College Counseling Services?
Many of the top-notch private schools have dedicated School Counselors who assist students throughout their high school experience in preparation for college. We believe that online schools should be held to this standard. A School Counselor typically provides students with valuable information about:
- Searching and applying for colleges
- Planning a challenging and well-rounded course schedule for each year
- Preparing for the appropriate standardized tests
- Providing advice on how to stay academically engaged throughout the summer months.
Some distance-learning programs offer this at an additional cost, so be sure to ask whether or not it is included in the student’s enrollment.
At Laurel Springs, full-time students begin receiving one-on-one counseling services in 8th grade from a dedicated School Counselor who helps them choose their classes for their first year of high school. In addition to providing guidance on the above areas, our School Counseling Department holds webinars for specific grade levels on topics such as:
- Time management and study skills
- College and career planning
- Financial aid and scholarships
- NCAA eligibility for student-athletes
In addition, our students receive assistance throughout the year on where they should be in their college search, what colleges match their academic profiles and career goals, as well as support with the college admissions process. Our School Counselors take pride in writing letters of recommendation for our students.
What Support Services Does the School Offer?
An experienced school knows how to fully equip students for a successful online learning experience. To determine this, ask if the school has a live onboarding process to ensure you and your child will be comfortable with their learning platform. Additionally, many schools understand that parents are not experts in every subject and will provide teacher services to assist students with their coursework. The level of support needed for each family differs, so it’s important to recognize what your needs are and determine if the school can provide you with the proper support.
At Laurel Springs, we believe that a strong partnership and excellent communication between parents, students, and teachers give students confidence and sparks their desire to learn. In addition to the receiving support from certified teachers and School Counselors, our students are assisted by our Student Services Department, who welcomes families, guides them through the onboarding process, and provides training and support for our Learning Management System.
To aid the learning process, we are also pleased to offer numerous ways for our students to receive academic support, including:
- LSS Live – Staffed by Laurel Springs’ teachers and Academic Department Chairs, our real-time virtual classroom allows students to receive direction on an assignment, gain clarification on a specific question, or review area of challenge.
- Writing Workshop – Held daily, Monday through Friday, provides students with dedicated assistance on grammar and other skills related to the writing process.
- ASK LSS – This on-demand instructional support service gives students access to experienced math and science tutors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Laurel Springs is dedicated to providing students an education that fits children intellectually, emotionally, and developmentally. To learn more about Laurel Springs School, contact our Admissions Department today: 800-377-5890