Colorado online public school students stay busy outside the “classroom” | Schools
The results of a new survey conducted by the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families (CCCF) demonstrate that Colorado’s online students are active, engaged in their communities and find unique ways to fulfill their own interests away from a traditional brick-and-mortar school. Of students who participated in the survey about how they spend their time, 88 percent of these children who are enrolled in full-time virtual public schools spend at least one hour each day engaged in an extra-curricular activity outside the home. What’s more, 99 percent of the students who completed the survey socialize with peers at least one hour each day.
These results, which go against what many perceive to be true of online learners, were published along with stories of students benefitting from this innovative form of public education, in a new booklet, I am an Online Public School Student. An electronic version is available at http://coloradocyberfamilies.org/media/colorado-scrapbook-final.pdf.
“Many of the misconceptions about online students and their socialization come from a lack of understanding about online public education and those who choose this public school option for their family,” said Lori Cooney, president of CCCF and a mother of three cyberschool students. “The fact that a student doesn’t sit in a traditional classroom setting doesn’t mean they don’t interact with peers on a daily basis through activities such as sports, arts, or just hanging out with friends.”
The survey is based on responses from 180 families who attend one of Colorado’s 33 full-time online schools. Findings show that of the students whose families completed the survey:
- 40 percent play a musical instrument
- 30 percent are involved in two or more organized team sports
- 39 percent participate in creative arts activities (e.g., theater, dance, visual arts)
- 75 percent spend time performing community service
The survey and booklet were created in collaboration with the Colorado Cyberschools Association (CCA). CCA president Judith Stokes, said, “Families benefit from choice in education and Colorado is a leader in many aspects of choice. This scrapbook provides a glimpse into the who and the why – but remember it is only a glimpse. Each student’s family has a special story and that is why the Colorado Cyberschool Association is so pleased to collaborate with the Colorado Coalition of Cyber Families.”
Online public school teachers also agree. “I think online education is the way of the future. It will allow for significantly more student learning than is taking place in traditional classrooms,” said Ethan Huff, Social Studies teacher at Monte Vista Online Academy. “With online education I can interact with my students all day, every day, individually. Every single student that I have I am able to communicate with one-on-one and determine how each student learns best and what methods of instructions are best to use with individual students.”
Public online schools are a growing movement in education that provides expanded options to families. According to a report released earlier this year by the state Department of Education, online student enrollment for the 2011-2012 school year increased 6.4 percent.
About Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families
The Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families is a group of committed parents who voluntarily advocate for Colorado’s online public schools, guided by the belief that all children in Colorado deserve to go to a public school that works best for them. Additional information is available at www.ColoradoCyberfamilies.org