Friday, July 9, 2010

Virtual High Schools for Military Families

The burden of moving around frequently is heavy for children of military parents, but add to it the pressure of catching up in school and the task of maintaining some consistency in children’s education, and the need for online courses is apparent. The United States Department of Defense has responded to the need and developed new online curriculum to support students of military parents.

According to Zach Miners at USNews, the military's first online virtual high school is scheduled to open in time for the 2010–2011 school year. Administrators have worked collaboratively with experts at UNLV to develop the virtual high school’s curriculum and make it compatible with the courses offered in traditional high schools. “If a student switches schools mid-semester and a certain course is not available at the new school, the student could pick up where he or she left off through a virtual class that is fully compatible with the regular class's subject material,” wrote Miners.

The curriculum of the virtual high school is being designed to include all the courses a student would need to graduate from high school. Miners reported, “The online curriculum is based on U.S. state learning standards and aligned with the coursework of a typical American high school. Courses will be taught by DoDEA teachers, and many instructors will have either an orientation toward or experience with distance-learning technologies, [Patricia] Riley [chief of the new school] says. The agency will run training sessions on teaching online, and UNLV also will provide professional development.”

Do you think virtual high school will be a success for students of military parents? Do you have experience as a student or teacher in a virtual high school? What stands out to you as the challenges and successes of virtual education? Please email us at or leave a comment.

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