Families select virtual school for cause

New study results released today find the most important factors motivating Oklahoma families to enroll a student in a virtual charter school are the individual learning needs of the student, followed by a medical need of the student or family member. 

The independent study conducted by a national consulting firm that specializes in community-based research and planning, Thomas P. Miller and Associates, was commissioned by the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board (SVCSB) to provide a nonpartisan study focused on determining the reasons families choose to enroll, the benefits families perceive to gain and the challenges are for the families with students enrolled in virtual charter schools across the state.

With more than 12,000 students enrolled in one of Oklahoma’s four virtual charter schools, less than 2 percent of the state’s public school enrollment, these schools offer full-time public education options delivering instruction through an online format. Parents and/or guardians from all four virtual charter schools, including Epic Charter School, Insight School of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Connections Academy and Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy, participated in this first-time study for the state agency, through a survey and individual interviews.

 “The findings of the comprehensive report may allow schools to make research-informed decisions about the support students and families need to be successful in their educational journey,” SVCSB Executive Director Rebecca L. Wilkinson said.

Additional findings included:
• Bullying or threats from classmates at other schools was commonly cited (40.6 percent of respondents) as motivation for enrolling in a virtual charter school
• Benefits of enrolling were that virtual schools provide a flexible schedule and a learning format that works better for the student
• Challenges of virtual education cited most often included a lack of social opportunities in virtual charter schools, issues with technology and struggles with self-discipline and motivation

The in-depth findings from the report were presented to the SVCSB in a public board meeting yesterday Jan. 9. A full report will be made available at the SVCSB website, click here for more.

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