8 essentials for a functioning virtual school

rise in popularity. However, virtual schools are not perfect. Here are eight essential elements that serve as focal points to make virtual schools work.
  1. Best success at home

Students who are naturally high achievers may need more freedom in their studies than the traditional model offers. The virtual school allows students to work at their own pace and find courses that match their abilities and interest levels. Plus, students can set their schedules as well, so they don’t need to follow such a rigid pattern for their day. On the flip side, students who have struggled to perform under these same rigid patterns might find the same freedoms rather calming. In other words, they can become high achievers if they have more control over their education.

  1. Wider class options

Everyone from athletes and actors to scientists, car enthusiasts and carpentry enthusiasts will find something that will meet their attentions and desires. Essentially, the program options can be modeled for the student instead of the other way around.

  1. Expanding Classroom Options in Traditional Schools

Some students may want to stay in a traditional school to participate in sports or experience aspects of typical adolescent social life. Therefore, the school day can be divided between traditional and virtual classrooms. As a result, school districts are incorporating virtual school as a partial or full schedule replacement option.

  1. Frequent movers

For various reasons, some families of students move more than others. Going from one traditional school to another can therefore be very stressful. Course options would change as not all schools offer the same options and schedules can end up being incomplete, which is of concern as students approach graduation. Virtual schools are mobile, so they go wherever the student can go. This form of education is not interrupted by a change of address.

  1. Flexible hours

Some students may find traditional school schedules difficult to maintain for a variety of reasons. For example, students with demanding health issues may need to spend a lot of time seeing doctors or receiving treatment. Virtual schools can meet this demanding schedule without students missing out on a lot of instruction, as lessons can be worked on at any time, as long as deadlines for homework and testing are met.

  1. Promote collaboration

Just because students choose to fully enroll in a virtual school, they don’t have to be alone on their learning journey. They can communicate with their teachers and work on projects with other students as much as they would in a normal school setting. Chat boxes and electronic portfolio methods are used instead of raising a hand and working together on in-person assignments.

  1. Centralized focus on partnerships

Because of the collaborative efforts that these classes require between a student and his teacher, this relationship is at the center of virtual education more than it has ever been with traditional schools. Teachers have time to give special attention to each student without having to worry about hurting other students in the room. Therefore, the student is at the center of the relationship instead of an entire class.

  1. Access to specialists

Teachers who work for virtual schools are often specialists in their field. They don’t have to worry about teaching generalized classes. For example, instead of focusing on a course that examines a wide range of canonical literature, an English teacher may offer a course specifically in Greek mythology or postmodern poetry. Likewise, history teachers can focus on specific time periods for the duration of an entire course. At the same time, the design of these courses matches the way university courses are set up, which will easily prepare a student for higher education.


Virtual schools are no longer a fantasy. They are a real reality for students looking to expand their high school experiences beyond the traditional classroom. They can turn difficult stories into successful successes just as much as they open up more experiences for students who have high abilities for success that are not otherwise encountered in a traditional school. As long as these basic needs are met, then any virtual school will work well for any student.

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Perry A. Thomasson