You’re probably thinking about transferring your child to online school. It’s a natural inclination, given the challenges of traditional schooling that hamper your child’s learning and well-being. Online schooling opens doors to independent, student-centered learning in the safe, secure environment of your home.
Still, you might be juggling two competing thoughts. You want to find a school that allows your child to thrive, but you fear that the change will disrupt your child’s life and education. Even that first step of completing the transfer from public brick-and-mortar school to online school can seem daunting.
At CCA, we’re here to assure you that transferring to online school is painless. It’s not complicated at all. Here, we share the simple steps involved. With this knowledge in hand, you will build the confidence to help your child break from old ways of schooling and rediscover the joy of learning.
Do Your Research on Transferring to Online School
You might be asking yourself how to transfer to online school, but there’s a more important question to answer first. Which school is right for my child? If you’ve never dealt with online schools before, it’s crucial to know that each one is different. Research the range of available schools. When you find an online school that appeals to you, look into these questions:
- How successful is it? The Pennsylvania Department of Education should have data on reading and math proficiency, academic growth, career standards, graduation rates, teacher effectiveness and other indicators of school success. You might find additional details, such as availability of AP classes, rates of students pursuing higher education, military service or jobs after graduation, and racial, ethnic and gender breakdown of the student body.
- What grades does it serve? Not every online school offers the full spectrum of K-12 learning.
- Does this school offer special education, advanced coursework or other supports for my child’s unique learning needs?
- Are teachers qualified and state certified?
- Is the school accredited by a recognized entity, such as a regional accrediting association?
- Is this a tuition-free public school chartered or approved to operate in my state?
- Do families pay additional fees for applications, technology, textbooks and supplies, or activities? If it’s a private school, what are the tuition fees? Are scholarships available?
- What are other parents saying about this school online and in person?
How to Choose a School That’s Right for Your Family
Once you’ve narrowed the list of suitable schools, it’s time to zero in on the one that fits the needs of your child and the circumstances of your family. Each online school has its own culture, mission and educational focus, so consider these factors:
- Does the school offer a rich and rigorous selection of classes that can be customized to my child’s interests?
- Can my child access classes according to his or her own schedule?
- Is the school committed to career-readiness that prepares my child for life after graduation, whether it’s higher education, career training, military service or workforce participation?
- Does the school organize events that allow children to make friends and families to network? Many parents new to online learning worry about the loss of socialization, but a good online school will offer clubs and activities that help families bridge the gaps and connect children with a circle of friends.
- Does the school offer hands-on learning and a full slate of educational field trips that bring learning to life?
- Can my child engage in extracurricular activities? Some brick-and-mortar school districts allow online learners to participate in sports, drama, music and clubs. In many areas, private, faith-based and nonprofit leagues and organizations also offer enrichment and physical activity.
- Does the school provide the technology and the technical support my child will need to connect to teachers and lessons? Is my home equipped with the connectivity needed to access classes?
- Does the school have strong policies and procedures for dealing with cyberbullying?
- Am I committed to making learning a family affair? And is the school committed to mentoring and guiding us through the experience?
Complete the Enrollment Process
Enrolling in an online school involves a straightforward procedure, but the impact can be profound and life-changing. Procedures differ by school and by state, but in general these five simple steps explain how to transfer your child to an online school.
- Create an account. For some schools, such as CCA, this is as simple as submitting an email address through an online form. You will receive a secure link to start the application process.
- Gather the required documents. With only a couple of exceptions, the documents required are the same ones you’ve been using for many aspects of your child’s life. You may need to provide proof of the student’s age from an official birth certificate or U.S. passport; proof of residence, such as a utility bill, mortgage statement or lease agreement; proof of immunization, which can often be forwarded by the child’s prior education provider or created in a form filled out by the family physician; and if relevant, any custody order involving the child. You might also need to fill out a Charter Enrollment Form that will be used to inform the prior school district that your child is officially enrolled in an online school. Transcripts and any 504 plan or IEP might not be required, but they can help the online school determine your child’s grade-level placement and course of learning.
- Complete the enrollment application. A basic form can be quick and easy to fill out, asking for such information as names of parents, guardians, student and others in the household, plus your technology capabilities for connecting to the online school.
- Submit the required documents. After the enrollment application is submitted, the online school might invite the parent or guardian who is designated as the student’s caretaker to access a parent portal. This is when you provide more information about the student and submit the required documents.
- Attend an orientation session. This doesn’t necessarily have to involve travel or time off work. Although online schools often organize in-person information and orientation sessions, these schools are, of course, experts in online learning and communication. Choose your orientation session. Then, start down the road to learning about the responsibilities of parents, students and staff. It’s also helpful to get an introduction to the learning management system your child will be using.
At any point in the process, your chosen school should be happy to answer your questions and easy to reach for help. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of support offered by phone or email.
Transferring to Our Online School is Easy
We get it. You have concerns about transferring to online school, but a cumbersome enrollment process should not be one of them. CCA believes this is how school should work, by capturing your child’s attention and customizing learning to his or her interests. We don’t want the application process to stand between your child and a captivating new world of learning.
At CCA, we’re happy to share details and answer every question you have about how to transfer to online school and what to expect when your child is enrolled. Contact us to request information and learn why CCA is the right fit for your family.