3 Ways Online High School Courses Support Schools’ Needs
By: Steve DiVitto
From the desk of Steve DiVitto, Dean of Students at Milford High School in Massachusetts
Online learning is a valuable tool for supporting schools’ needs in the face of limited resources or other barriers to providing comprehensive, engaging, and advanced course offerings to students.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many high schools to face a sudden, unexpected shift to remote learning and Milford High School was no different. For our school, an existing partnership with VHS Learning made it easier to navigate this unanticipated transition to remote learning. Online courses were extremely helpful during this disruptive time, and they continue to benefit high schools who face limited recourses and other barriers.
Here are three ways online high school courses support schools’ needs:
- Fills Gaps in Resources
Online high school courses can fill gaps caused by budget constraints, a shortage of qualified teachers, or by other challenges such as the pandemic. For example, one of our teachers resigned in the midst of the pandemic, leaving us without a teacher for a physics course. In response, VHS Learning was able to create a physics course exclusively for our school’s students and provide both synchronous and asynchronous teaching support. Students were even able to attend virtual office hours when needed, ensuring they were receiving comprehensive support throughout the course.
- Expands Course Offerings
By taking courses online, high school students can access a variety of advanced and specialized topics that aren’t typically offered in person at the high school level. For example, we’ve seen students take a particular interest in engineering and sociology. Taking an online course like Criminology through VHS Learning allows our students to dive deeper and see if a topic something they may want to pursue in college or as a career. Between Advanced Placement (AP)® courses and a wide range of electives, students can go beyond our introductory courses to fulfill their interests and help them prepare for college.
- Engages and Challenges Students
The rigor of online high school courses helps prepare students for college and the workforce, especially post-pandemic. In addition to their curriculum, students learn critical skills such as time management, digital skills, study skills, and important communication skills. We review a contract with our students to make sure they are committed to developing these skills they need to excel. VHS Learning differs from other online offerings because it provides such a variety of classes for students to take––not only core courses, but also advanced electives to help prepare students for the future.
Online high school courses continue to be a valuable tool for supporting the needs of students and schools in the face of these challenges.