The Ultimate Guide to Online School – How Does Online School Work?

By: National School Choice Week Team

Last Upated: September 30, 2021

Whether due to health concerns or other reasons, many parents are looking for a learning option that isn’t in-person.  If online learning or K-12 online school are your top choices for the 2021-2022 school year, this page is for you!

Maybe you’re thinking about switching to online schooling, but you’re not sure how to make the switch. How does online school work? Or, maybe you’re wondering whether your state has an option allowing you to online school full-time for free. We created this ultimate guide to online school to answer those questions.

Maybe you're thinking about switching to online schooling. How does online school work? Or, maybe you're wondering whether your state has an option allowing you to online school for free. @SchoolChoiceWk created this guide to answer those questions. Click To Tweet

You may hear a lot of terms like online school, remote learning, and homeschooling thrown around interchangeably right now, but they’re actually quite different school choices! Read our explainer on the differences.

While the COVID-19 pandemic caused interest in online learning to spike, families have been using online learning programs for years. Internet access has transformed our shopping and social life, and it is transforming schooling as well. Importantly, online learning programs offer students the ability to work from home (or anywhere with internet). That flexibility makes for a good fit for many families.   

As Chris McBride, superintendent at an online school in Nevada, describes, “There are many reasons students may need flexible schedules, from medical issues to competitive athletes to performance artists. Some families enroll at our school because they are escaping some of the bullying and other cultural/climate issues that are present in brick and mortar schools. Other families enroll because they view it as an excellent alternative to home schooling.”

 

 

 

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How to Switch to Online School

How Does Online School Work?

In the U.S., approximately 375,000 K-12 students attended an online school full-time in 2019. While the numbers for 2021 aren’t in yet, there are certainly many more students using online learning full-time.

Online school students work from home and follow a set curriculum, submitting assignments through an online portal. Moreover, students receive feedback and grades from accredited teachers who may communicate through email, web conference, or phone calls. 

While parents aren’t asked to be teachers, online school programs usually ask parents to be involved in their child’s education. Parents act as learning coaches, helping their student stay on track.

You just are so much more in tune with what they’re doing. That’s such a benefit that you wouldn’t have when sending your kid through another schooling option. – Tara Boedigheimer, online school parent

Two of the biggest K-12 online school programs in the U.S. are Connections Academy and K12 Learning. Connections Academy supported schools are tuition-free online public schools that are currently available in nearly 30 states. They are operated by Pearson Online & Blended Learning K-12. Similarly, Stride K12 offers tuition-free public schools in many states, as well as fee-based independent courses and career classes.  

While some virtual schools are fully online, others are “blended schools.” So, what are blended schools? Blended schools are online schools that offer on-site locations that students attend from time to time. GOAL Academy in Colorado, for instance, has “drop-in centers” where students can receive tutoring, participate in activities, or simply spend time with peers.

Besides blended learning, more and more variations of online schooling are developing  – in some states, students can even create a “playlist” of classes between their neighborhood school and an online school. This is why some online leaders say the real power of online learning is personalization. Curriculum can be differentiated to meet student needs, and students can pace coursework and test out of material they have mastered.

adult-points-to-computer-screen

How to make the switch

If you’re just getting started, here are steps you can take to switch to online schooling:

1. Review state guidelines: First, find your state in our list below to review your state’s guidelines for online schools. Did you know that 35 states offer full-time public online schools for free? In other states, private online programs are available at a cost.

2. Connect: Second, reach out to the online school that interests you and get more details. Some may allow enrollment at any time, while others may have deadlines. 

Online public schools must accept all students, regardless of their academic performance or needs. Moreover, students are not required to take special entrance tests for enrollment in online public schools. However, some states place caps on attendance or funding, so make sure there is availability at the school you choose.

When you reach out to the online school, you can also ask about the school’s expectations and what resources you’ll need at home. For instance, you can ask: Will the school provide a computer for my student? Does my child need a web camera? What’s a typical day like? How much parental supervision is required? 

3. Officially withdraw (if applicable): In many cases, if you’re currently enrolled in a public or private school, you’ll need to send a withdrawal letter to your school district if you’re switching to a full-time online school. It’s a good idea to keep a copy of the letter, in case any questions arise. Also, you may want use this opportunity to request your child’s transcripts from the school.

Of course, your state’s guidelines come first. Please note that in some states, like Missouri, West Virginia, and Rhode Island, students only have access to free online schools through their resident district. In these cases, since the district is responsible for paying for access, families should remain enrolled in the district as they switch to online school.

4. Enroll and get started: Now, enroll in your online school of choice. Partner with your child to decide what your new learning routine will look like. For example, what time will your student start school in the morning? How often will exercise and outside activities be worked into the week? Does the online school have an in-person component you’ll be using, or no?

ipad showing student with yellow scarf

Expect a learning curve

If online school is something you and your student decide to try, even just temporarily, it is important to realize that there’ll be a learning curve. Don’t let that get you down!

“You just have to be open minded,” said Bryan Klochack, principal of an online school in Michigan. “We often refer to it as drinking out of a fire hydrant at the start because it is so different.”

While online school is not for every student and every family, it can make a world of a difference for some. As Klochack said, “Having that option for families to put their kids where they’re going to find great success: That’s what we’re all about.”

How to Find Out Your State’s Laws

What options do you have for online learning? Check out your state’s parent guide or scroll below to learn whether your state offers online school for free.

In 35 states, online public schools have been established by state authorities, by school districts, or charter schools, meaning students can attend these schools full-time, tuition-free. In addition, at least 35 states offer part-time online public schooling through course access, which allows students to use online coursework to supplement their education with specific classes. In many states, this is accessible, and sometimes even free, for private school or homeschooled students.

While not every state offers online school for free, paid online school programs are available in all 50 states. For instance, paid options such as Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (which is free to New Hampshire residents), The Keystone School, and Laurel Springs School are available to families in any state. You can learn more about public online schools and resources at the National Coalition for Public School Options and the Digital Learning Collaborative

Sources: Evergreen Education Group and independent research by the NSCW team

Alabama:

Alabama offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, like Alabama Connections Academy, Alabama Virtual Academy, Genesis Innovative School, and Alabama Destinations Career Academy (which currently serves new students in grades-K-10).

Depending on your district, you may also be able to consider a district online school;  for example, students zoned to Huntsville City Schools can also choose Huntsville Virtual Academy.

For free part-time classes, ACCESS Alabama functions as the state’s virtual school and is designed for high school students to take courses that may not be available (or easy to schedule) at their schools. Public school students in grades 9-12 can take classes for free; nonpublic school students can take courses for a fee.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Alabama for 2021-2022?

Alabama Virtual Academy, Alabama Connections Academy, Alabama Destinations Career Academy, and Genesis Innovative School all offer rolling enrollment deadlines.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Alabama Connections Academy and Alabama Destinations Career Academy have seats available in grades K-12. Alabama Virtual Academy is still accepting applications, but 10th grade enrollment is closed and will reopen October 1st for a second semester start date. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Alabama Virtual Academy provides one computer and an internet stipend if the family meets financial and academic standing requirements. At Alabama Destinations Career Academy, qualified students may receive a loaner computer and printer. Alabama Connections Academy and Genesis Innovative School do not provide technology or wifi.

 

Alaska:

In Alaska, middle- and high-school students in certain districts can enroll in online courses through the Alaska Digital Academy for a fee. As mentioned above, Alaska families can also consider national online learning programs, like Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, The Keystone School, and Laurel Springs School, for a fee. 

Additionally, Alaska has many correspondence school offerings, some of which are free, that families can choose from. Finally, the ASD FLEX Program offers a free, fully online home learning program that Anchorage families can choose through their neighborhood or choice school. The virtual learning program is staffed by Anchorage School District teachers and allows families to maintain a connection to their local school.

 

Arizona:

Arizona students can attend Arizona Virtual Academy,  Arizona Connections Academy, Primavera Online School, Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning, or ASU Prep Digital full-time at no cost. Students in grades 7-12 can also consider Insight Academy of Arizona or Hope High School Online, both of which specialize in helping struggling students succeed. Students in grades K-8 can also consider Leman Virtual Academy.

In order for funding to transfer to one of these schools, families switching to an online school may need to initiate withdrawal from their previous school. You can learn more about the online school community in your state at AZ Parents for Education.

There are also many districts in Arizona currently offering full-time online learning. The State Board of Education makes a list of district online programs and the grades they serve available to families. 

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Arizona for 2021-2022?

Leman Virtual Academy and Hope High School Online enroll year round. Arizona Connections Academy offers rolling enrollment, but enrollment will be paused from October 4-18, 2021. ASU Prep Digital offers rolling enrollment, but October 3 is the deadline for taking concurrent college courses. At Primavera Online School, students in grades 11-12 can still apply for six week courses available this fall. For other grades, the application for the second semester is December 17. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Arizona Virtual Academy, ASU Prep Digital, and Primavera Online School have seats available in grades K-12. Insight Academy of Arizona and Hope High School Online has seats available in grades 7-12 and Leman Virtual Academy have seats available in grades K-8. At Arizona Connections Academy, grades K-5 are capped, but seats are still available in grades 6-11.  

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Arizona Connections Academy, a family may opt into one laptop and internet subsidy per household. At Arizona Virtual Academy, a family can receive a computer if they qualify for free or reduced lunch or are special education. A wifi stipend may be available at the end of the school year. At Insight Academy of Arizona, a loaner computer is available to qualified families. Primavera Online School, Hope High School, ASU Prep, and Leman Virtual Academy do not provide computers and wifi.

 

Arkansas:

Arkansas offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, like Arkansas Connections Academy and Arkansas Virtual Academy. There are also district online school options; for example, students in the Siloam Springs school district or students using open enrollment can also choose Siloam Springs Virtual Academy.

For part-time classes, Virtual Arkansas offers online options for any Arkansas student, though online classes for students in grades K-6 are limited. Students enrolled in a public school can take all or some of their Virtual Arkansas classes online. While Virtual Arkansas’ website lists fees for courses, the local school district pays those, not students and their families.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Arkansas for 2021-2022?

Arkansas Connections Academy offers rolling enrollment on a first come, first serve basis until the school’s cap of 4,500 students is reached. After that, students can still apply to be added to a waitlist. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Arkansas Virtual Academy is still accepting applications and Arkansas Connections Academy has seats available for grades K-12. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Arkansas Connections Academy does offer technology and wifi assistance based on income. Similarly, at Arkansas Virtual Academy, if you qualify for free or reduced lunch, a computer and wifi stipend may be provided. District online schools have varying policies; for example, Siloam Springs Virtual Academy provides students a Chromebook for temporary use.

 

California:

California offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, like California Connections Academy and California Virtual AcademiesCalifornia Pacific Charter Schools is another free online choice for students in more than a dozen California counties. Meanwhile, Method Online School serves southern California students, and Compass Charter Schools serves Los Angeles, Yolo, San Diego, and surrounding areas.

K-12 students in Ventura, San Bernardino, Kern, and Orange counties can also consider IQ Academy-Los Angeles. While much of the learning is facilitated by technology, these learning programs offer in-person field trips and meet-ups as well. Students in grades 9-12 needing additional academic support to overcome obstacles may wish to consider Insight Schools of California

Additionally, some districts have created their own online schools, like Davis School for Independent Study. Students in the district or who have received an interdistrict transfer can apply.

You can also check out: California Parents for Public Virtual Education.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in California for 2021-2022?

At IQ Academy California, the deadline for grades 9-12 was September 22, while the deadline for grades K-8 is November 2. Due to high interest, California Connections Academy has closed enrollment for the fall semester. Compass Charter Schools and California Pacific Charter Schools offer rolling admission until they has reached capacity. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, IQ Academy California has seats available in grades K-12. Compass Charter Schools and California Pacific Charter Schools also have seats available. California Connections Academy has no seat availability for the fall semester. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At California Connections Academy, one computer per household and an internet subsidy may be requested. At California Virtual Academies, a computer and wifi stipend may be available. Both Insight Schools of California and IQ Academy California provide computers based on financial need.

 

Colorado:

Colorado offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, like Colorado Connections Academy, Colorado Virtual Academy, and Colorado Preparatory Academy. You can dive into a full list of online options – some of which are district-specific and some of which are statewide – at the Colorado Department of Education. Students in grades 6-12 interested in career technical education may wish to check out Destinations Career Academy of Colorado, which specializes in real-world training for specific careers. Students in grades 9-12 who need extra academic and social support to excel may want to consider Pikes Peak Online School.

In addition, Colorado Digital Learning Solutions offers part-time courses for middle-school and high-school students. While Colorado Digital Learning Solutions charges fees, students attending Colorado traditional public schools and public charter schools may have their fees subsidized. Another part-time option for some Colorado students is My Tech High, which partners Colorado Early Colleges, the Vilas School District, and Kiowa County School District RE-2 to offer students 5-18 online learning.

We recently interviewed a Colorado online school, GOAL Academy. This online school has drop-in centers where students can work and frequent school field trips, offering families a unique blend of virtual and in-person education. To learn more about the online school community in your state, check out the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Colorado for 2021-2022?

Families can enroll at Colorado Virtual Academy on a rolling basis. At Connections Academy, first semester enrollment closed September 23, but Grades K-11 can apply for the second semester. At Pikes Peak Online School, enrollment ends mid-September, but occasionally spots become available for the second semester. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Colorado Virtual Academy has seats available for grades K-12, while Pikes Peak Online School has seats available for grades 9-12. Colorado Connections Academy is accepting applications for the second semester for grades K-11. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Colorado Connections Academy provides students a desktop computer and internet reimbursement. Pikes Peak Online School provides loaner computers and internet service reimbursement in cases of financial need. Destinations Career Academy students may be able to receive a loaner laptop. Colorado Virtual Academy and Colorado Preparatory Academy do not provide technology and wifi, but exceptions due to financial need may be possible. 

 

Connecticut:

While most states have free online school programs, Connecticut only has paid options available at present, such as George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy. While the schools are available to families in Connecticut, they are not specific to the state. 

K12 is actively working to launch an online school in Connecticut, but this is not yet available for families.

 

Delaware:

Most states have free online school programs, but Delaware does not at this time. Paid options are available, such as George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy. These private online schools are available to families in Delaware, but they are not specific to the state. 

 

Florida:

In Florida, districts are required to offer students at least one virtual option. Florida has the largest state virtual school in the nation. Any Florida student can take courses through Florida Virtual School, full time or part time, free of charge. 

Additionally, other free online learning options are available to Florida students such as Florida Connections Academy, Coastal Connections Academy, Florida Cyber Charter Academy, and Digital Academy of Florida. As of 2021, there are enrollment caps for district-run virtual schools in Florida.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Florida for 2021-2022?

For Florida Virtual School’s full-time option, enrollment opens November 1st for the spring semester. FLVS Flex offers course options with flexible start dates year round. The deadline for Florida Connections Academy and Coastal Connections Academy was September 17. The deadline for Digital Academy of Florida was September 20. Meanwhile, Florida Cyber Charter Academy accepts students until capacity has been met. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Florida Connections Academy and Florida Cyber Charter Academy’s caps have been met and all new applicants will be put on a waitlist. Coastal Connections Academy and Digital Academy of Florida still have seats available in grades K-12. At Florida Virtual School, enrollment closed for full-time students for the fall semester. Students in grades 6-12 can still sign up for individual courses through FLVS Flex.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Florida Connections Academy, Coastal Connections Academy, and Florida Cyber Charter Academy provide loaner computers and internet service reimbursement in the case of financial hardship. Florida Virtual School and Digital Academy of Florida provide loaner computers to eligible families. 

 

Georgia:

Georgia Virtual School provides online courses at the high school level, plus some middle-school courses as well. Public school students can enroll full-time or part-time at no cost. Some state funds are available to cover tuition for private and homeschool students on a first-come, first-served basis. Other free, full-time online learning options are also available, such as Georgia Connections Academy and Georgia Cyber Academy.

Some districts in Georgia have developed online schools, and families may be able to transfer into one of these schools. For example, the Thomas County Virtual Program serves K-12 students in Thomas county and neighboring counties. And, students in grades 3-11 in Fulton County can also choose Fulton Academy of Virtual Excellence. 

You can also learn more at Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education.

Due to COVID-19, the state allotted $1.2 million in funding to hire new teachers at Georgia Virtual School and provide increased course access for grades 6-12. The state also allotted $3 million in funding to increase wifi availability in high-need neighborhoods, and $1 million to acquire personal internet hotspots for students.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Georgia for 2021-2022?

Georgia Cyber Academy’s deadline to enroll was August 29. While first semester enrollment is closed for Georgia Connections Academy, second semester enrollment begins October 10. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, the Georgia Virtual School is accepting applications for its spring 2022 courses. Georgia Connections Academy has met its enrollment cap for grades 5, 8-9, and 11-12, but has seats available for grades 6, 7, and 10. Georgia Cyber Academy is no longer accepting applications for the 2021-2022 school year. The school does offer exceptions for siblings and homeless students to enroll in January. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Georgia Connections Academy does not provide students technology and wifi. At Georgia Cyber Academy, a computer, printer, and hotspot are provided to families that request and meet specific criteria. 

 

Hawaii:

High school and middle school students enrolled in any traditional public or charter school can take part-time classes through Hawaii’s e-school. Registration for spring 2022 classes through E-School start November 17

Additionally, for the 2021-2022 school year, some districts are offering online learning plans. You can find a complete list of these options at the Hawaii Department of Education.

Parents who would like to enroll their student in online school full-time can hire a private provider. Paid options such as George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy are available in any state. 

 

Idaho:

Idaho offers several full-time, free online learning options for students statewide in grades K-12, like Inspire Connections Academy and Idaho Virtual Academy. Students in grades 6-12 can also consider Idaho Connects Online School, and students in grades 9-12 can also consider Idaho Technical Career Academy, a full-time online school focused on career readiness. 

For part-time options, Idaho students in grades 6-12 may enroll in online classes through Idaho Digital Learning. Idaho Digital Learning is available to students in any type of educational setting, public or private. But, parents should check with their local public school or district for details, as fees may apply.

Additionally, more than 10 Idaho school districts have established online school programs. For example, students in the Boise School District, or students with an approved open enrollment status from another district, can choose the Boise Online School, which opened in 2020. 

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Idaho for 2021-2022?

Idaho Connects Online School offers rolling admission, with applications accepted at any time of the year. At Inspire Connections Academy, the deadline to enroll is October 1. At Idaho Technical Career Academy, the deadline to enroll was August 30. At Idaho Virtual Academy, there are multiple deadlines the school offers for late starts throughout the year.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Inspire Connections Academy has seats available for grades K-12 and Idaho Connects Online has seats available for grades 6-12. Idaho Virtual Academy has seats available and offers monthly start dates that students can enroll by during the school year. These run until February. Idaho Technical Career Academy has seats available for grades 9-12. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Inspire Connections Academy, one laptop and internet subsidy are available per household. At Idaho Virtual Academy, a loaner laptop is available for eligible families. At Idaho Technical Career Academy, each student is provided a loaner computer and printer, and internet subsidies are available in some cases. At Idaho Connects Online School, a computer may be requested.

 

Illinois: 

Illinois students in grades 5-12 can take supplemental online courses through Illinois Virtual School. While Illinois Virtual School charges fees, some schools and districts pay those fees on behalf of their students. Students can register through their local school or as a homeschool student. 

Paid full-time online options, like George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy, are available to Illinois students, but they are not specific to the state. 

 

Indiana:

Free, full-time online learning options for Indiana students include Indiana Connections Academy, Indiana Digital Learning School, and Phalen Virtual Leadership Academy, which was launched in the summer of 2020. Students in grades 7-12 can also consider Insight School of Indiana, while students in grades 9-12 can consider Indiana Connections Career Academy and Achieve Virtual.

Families who qualify for the state’s voucher program may be able to apply those vouchers to two newly-accredited private virtual schools, GEO Focus Academy and Faith Prep.

Another option Indiana students can choose is IU High School, a fully accredited online private high school run by Indiana University. Students at IU High School can take courses to supplement their educational experiences in brick and mortar institutions, or students may pursue a high school diploma online full-time. IU High school was founded in 1925, so it’s been allowing students to attain a high school diploma at a distance for nearly a century! 

Finally, some schools will cover costs for students to take part-time high school courses through Indiana Online.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Indiana for 2021-2022?

Indiana Digital Learning School, Phalen Virtual Leadership Academy, and Achieve Virtual offer rolling enrollment policies. At Indiana Connections Career Academy and Indiana Connections Academy, first semester enrollment is closed but grades 6-11 can enroll for the second semester starting October 13. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Indiana Digital Learning School has seats available for grades K-12. Indiana Connections Academy has seats available for grades 6-11, with enrollment in grades K-5 subject to a waitlist. Indiana Connections Career Academy has seats available for grades 6-11. Insight School of Indiana has seats available for grades 7-12.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Indiana Digital Learning School, all students have the option of receiving a computer; low income families can apply for a wifi stipend to be distributed at year end. At Indiana Connections Academy and Indiana Connections Career Academy, families do not receive technology and wifi unless they apply for a hardship exemption.  Phalen Virtual Leadership Academy and Achieve Virtual do not provide technology and wifi to students. At Insight School of Indiana, eligible students may request a computer and internet. 

 

Iowa:

Iowa offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, such as Iowa Connections Academy and Iowa Virtual Academy. In order for funding to follow a child to online school, families need to fill out the Iowa Open Enrollment Application with their assigned district for approval; this could potentially be denied if completed after the open enrollment period closes in the spring.

In addition to these statewide options, several districts currently offer online programs. You can find a list of these online schools at the Iowa Department of Education.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Iowa for 2021-2022?

Iowa Connections Academy has a rolling enrollment policy based on capacity and approval from an applicant’s assigned school. Iowa Virtual Academy’s deadline was September 10. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Iowa Connections Academy still has capacity for grades K-5, and Iowa Virtual Academy is accepting applications for grades K-12.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Iowa Connections Academy, computers and internet subsidies are available for eligible families. Iowa Virtual Academy does not typically provide technology and wifi but, based on financial aid, a loaner computer may be available. 

 

Kansas:

Kansas offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, such as Kansas Virtual Academy (K-6), Kansas Connections Academy, and Kansas Online Learning Program. For students in grades 7-12, an additional option is the Insight School of Kansas, which specializes in helping students overcome obstacles to academic success.

The Kansas State Department of Education also keeps a comprehensive directory of virtual school programs, which includes many district online schools. You can search the list for programs that allow out-of-district students to transfer in.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Kansas for 2021-2022?

At Kansas Connections Academy, the deadline to enroll was September 3. Kansas Virtual Academy’s fall enrollment is closed but families can apply for spaces available in the spring. Insight School of Kansas has a rolling enrollment policy until December 11 for grades 7-8 and until September 3 for grades 9-12. Enrollment has closed for the fall semester at the Kansas Online Learning Program.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Kansas Virtual Academy is accepting waitlist applications for grades K-6. Insight School of Kansas is accepting waitlist applications for grades 7-8.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Based on need, Kansas Connections Academy, Kansas Virtual Academy, Insight School of Kansas and Kansas Online Learning Program may be able to provide loaner computers to students.

                                                      

Kentucky:

While many states have free, full-time virtual school available, Kentucky does not yet have such an option. However, part-time or full-time courses may be available at a cost via BAVEL, The Corbin School of Innovation, or JCPS eSchool. In some cases, schools may cover costs for a student’s online courses. More information on these paid options is available on the KY Department of Education website

There are also some private, full-time online schools that are available for a fee in all 50 states, such as George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy.

 

Louisiana:

Louisiana students in grades K-12 can attend Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy, or University View Academy, both online charter schools, full-time. For part-time options, online providers participate in the state’s Supplemental Course Academy program, which offers free classes to students attending underperforming public schools, public schools that do not offer a certain course, or private schools on opportunity scholarships. Students who do not qualify for free classes can take these courses for a fee. 

If a student would like to switch to online school, their parent or legal guardian must notify the currently enrolled school in order to withdraw and identify the online school they are transferring into.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Louisiana for 2021-2022?

Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy’s fall enrollment deadline is mid-September and spring enrollment deadline is mid-January. University View Academy offers rolling enrollment. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, at University View Academy, grades 3, 8, and 12 are waitlisted for the 2021-2022 school year, but there are a limited number of spots in other grades. Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy is full. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy does not typically provide technology and wifi. But, based on financial need, a loaner computer may be available. At University View Academy, a laptop is provided and an internet stipend can be received at the completion of the school year.

 

Maine:

Maine students can attend free, full-time online school programs through the online public charter schools Maine Connections Academy or Maine Virtual Academy

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Maine for 2021-2022?

Maine Connections Academy has a rolling enrollment policy. Maine Virtual Academy’s deadline is September 29.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Maine Connections Academy is still accepting applications for grades 7-12 but the cap has been met, so new applications will be placed on a waitlist until space becomes available. Maine Virtual Academy has limited availability for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Maine Connections Academy, students may request one laptop per household. At Maine Virtual Academy, computers, printers, and internet subsidies can be requested.

 

Maryland:

Unfortunately, Maryland does not currently have its own free, full-time online learning program. But, there are paid, full-time online school options available to families in all 50 states, Maryland included. Some of these paid providers are George Washington University Online High SchoolThe Keystone School, and K12 International Academy.

A local private online option Maryland families can choose is Bryn Mawr Online,  a diploma awarding, AIMS accredited, NCAA approved, and AP authorized online school for girls. The school is an outgrowth of Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, which is ranked as the number one college prep school in Maryland. Bryn Mawr Online is currently enrolling rising 9th and 10th grade students for an initial cohort for the 2022-2023 school year. 

In addition, the Eastern Shore of Maryland Blended Virtual Program offers a blended learning program to public school students in grades 6-12 in certain Maryland districts. These include: Caroline County, Cecil County,  Dorchester County, Kent County, Queen Anne’s County, Somerset County, Talbot County, Wicomico County and Worcester County public schools.

 

Massachusetts:

Students in Massachusetts may attend one of two free public virtual schools, either full-time or part-time, with an agreement from the local school district. Private virtual schools are also available. 

In addition, seven district-run online schools opened in fall 2021. In some cases, out-of-district students may be able to use open enrollment to transfer in. 

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Massachusetts for 2021-2022?

Both Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School and TEC Connections Academy offer a rolling enrollment policy. The schools operate in a series of open application periods until the enrollment limit is met. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School is accepting applications for its waitlist. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, a Chromebook is available to every student enrolled and internet subsidies may be available. At TEC Connections Academy, one laptop can be requested per household.

 

Michigan:

Michigan offers several free, full-time online learning options for students. These include Michigan Connections Academy, Highpoint Virtual Academy of Michigan, Michigan Virtual Charter Academy, Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy, Uplift Michigan, Michigan Cyber Academy, West Michigan Virtual Academy, iCademy Global, Michigan Online School, My Virtual Academy, and Michigan International Prep School. Students in grades 6-12 who would like extra academic support or credit recovery courses may be interested in considering Insight School of Michigan.

 In addition, Michigan Virtual offers part-time online classes for middle-school and high-school students; fees may apply.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Michigan for 2021-2022?

Insight School of Michigan’s deadline for enrollment was September 7. Michigan Connections Academy’s deadline is October 6. Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy’s deadline is September 29. Highpoint Virtual Academy of Michigan and Michigan Virtual Academy have rolling deadlines. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

At Michigan Connections Academy, Michigan International Prep School, Michigan Virtual Charter Academy, and Highpoint Virtual Academy of Michigan, there are seats available for grades K-12. Insight School of Michigan has seats available for grades 9-12.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Michigan Connections Academy, students may request one computer and an internet subsidy per household. At Highpoint Virtual Academy of Michigan, loaner computers and internet subsidies may be available based on financial need and eligibility. Insight School of Michigan students are provided a computer and printer. Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy and Michigan Virtual Charter Academy families are provided a computer and an internet stipend. All Michigan International Prep School students receive a school-issued Chromebook on loan, as well as either a MiFi hotspot or basic internet package.

 

Minnesota:

Any student who lives in Minnesota, even if they have permanent residency elsewhere, can attend a full-time online school free of charge. For instance, students can do this through Minnesota Connections Academy, Minnesota Virtual Academy, IQ Academy of Minnesota, Minnesota Online High School, Tonka Online, Minnesota Virtual School for Success, and Blue Sky Online. K12, the online education provider that powers Minnesota Virtual Academy and IQ Academy of Minnesota, also offers Insight School of Minnesota, which specializes in helping struggling students in grades 6-12 catch up and achieve academic success. 

Many Minnesota districts are also offering online schools, such as 279 Online (for students in Ossea Area schools) and Bloomington’s New Code Academy. Some of these, like Minnesota Public Schools Online, are open to students statewide. And, as of fall 2021, families with students in grades K-8 can also choose Cologne Academy Online, a public charter school with a Core Knowledge focus.

Free part-time options are available for students enrolled in public schools (including charter schools). In addition, paid part-time options are available for nonpublic school students. Learn more about full-time and part-time online learning options at the Minnesota Department of Education, which provides a complete list of online choices. In order for the funding to follow a student who switches to online school, the family must fill out a Statewide Enrollment Options form. 

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Minnesota for 2021-2022?

Minnesota Connections Academy, Minnesota Virtual School for Success, Cologne Academy Online, and IQ Academy of Minnesota have rolling enrollment policies. The deadline for Insight School of Minnesota was September 8. The deadline for Minnesota Online High School is November 8. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, IQ Academy Minnesota and Minnesota Virtual Academy have open seats available in grades K-12, while Insight Academy of Minnesota has open seats in grades 6-12. Minnesota Online High School has seats available in grades 9-12 and Cologne Academy Online has seats available in grades K-8.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Minnesota Connections Academy, students in grades K-5 must provide their own computer but students in grades 6-12 are provided a computer. At Minnesota Virtual Academy, a computer and internet stipend may be available based on financial need and eligibility. Cologne Academy Online and Blue Sky Online do not provide technology and wifi. Insight School of Minnesota provides eligible students a computer and internet subsidy. Minnesota Online High School can provide a computer and internet support in cases of financial hardship.

 

Mississippi:

Mississippi does not offer a free, full-time online school. However, in some cases, students may be able to enroll in part-time classes through their school district and Mississippi Online Course Approval

Also, paid online school options, such as George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy, are available to students in every state, including Mississippi. 

 

Missouri:

Missouri public school students have access to  individual online courses or free, full-time online programs through MOCAP (Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program). In order to participate, students must get enrollment approved by their resident school district. Some districts only allow classes to be taken on campus, others allow for full-time virtual learning. Students must be currently enrolled in a Missouri public school to switch to MOCAP or Missouri Connections Academy. 

Also, any non-public student in Missouri, from kindergarten through 12th grade, can take courses online through MOCAP for a fee. In some cases, such as students having certain medical conditions, the tuition can be waived.

Unfortunately, some families applying to Missouri online schools have experienced administrative delays or been challenged by their school district.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Missouri for 2021-2022?

Enrollment deadlines for MOCAP depend on each school district, so interested families should contact their public school. Missouri Connections Academy has a rolling enrollment policy.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

Availability for MOCAP varies by school district. 

Will families be able to switch mid-school year, if needed?

At MOCAP, whether a family can transfer into the online school mid-school year is dependent on their school district. At Missouri Connections Academy, mid-year transfers are accepted as long as the school’s enrollment cap is not met.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Whether technology and wifi is freely available to MOCAP students depends on each school district. Missouri Connections Academy does not provide technology and wifi to students. 

 

Montana:

While Montana does not currently have a free, full-time online learning option, Montana Digital Academy allows middle and high school students to take online classes on a part-time basis through their local school. Also, families in any state can choose from paid online learning providers for a full-time option. Paid online schools include George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy.

In some areas, families can also choose a district-run online school. For example, the Bozeman School District has an established online high school for district students, and recently added an online charter school for students in grades K-8. 

 

Nebraska:

While most states have free, public online programs that families can choose, Nebraska does not currently have that option. The state does offer a paid option: University of Nebraska High School Online. Other paid options, like George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy, are available to Nebraska families but are not state-specific. Families interested in enrolling at University of Nebraska High School Online can do so at any point during the year; there is no deadline for enrollment. The school does not supply families with technology and wifi. 

Additionally, Omaha Public Schools offers students Omaha Virtual School, a blended learning program that incorporates both in-person sessions and at-home online classes.

 

Nevada:

Nevada offers several free, full-time online learning options, such as Nevada Connections Academy, Nevada Learning Academy, Leadership Academy of Nevada, and Nevada Virtual Academy.  The Nevada Department of Education provides a complete list of distance learning options, some of which are district-specific and some of which are open to students statewide. 

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Nevada for 2021-2022?

Nevada Learning Academy has no set deadline for enrollment, it remains open to new students until all seats are full. Nevada Virtual Academy also has a rolling enrollment policy. At Nevada Connections Academy, the deadline to enroll is November 12. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, at Nevada Learning Academy, there are currently seats available for grades K-12. At Nevada Connections Academy, there are seats available for grades 9-10 only. Nevada Virtual Academy has limited availability for new students.  

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Nevada Learning Academy,  Nevada Connections Academy, and Nevada Virtual Academy, some students are eligible to receive loaner computers and internet subsidies. At Leadership Academy of Nevada, computers are provided to eligible students.  

 

New Hampshire:

New Hampshire elementary, middle, and high school students can take courses free of charge, full- or part-time, at Virtual Learning Academy Charter. If there will be a gap between attendance at a student’s previous school and their start at the virtual school, the student must file a notice of intent at their local public school. 

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in New Hampshire for 2021-2022?

At Virtual Learning Academy Charter, ongoing registration is available; you may enroll at any time throughout the year. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

Virtual Learning Academy Charter does not have a cap on the number of students it enrolls. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Virtual Learning Academy Charter does not provide technology and wifi to students.

 

New Jersey:

Unfortunately, New Jersey does not have a free, full-time online school option. However, New Jersey Virtual School offers full-time and credit-recovery enrollment to students in grades 6-12 for a fee. Enrollment begins September 7. If students are interested in enrolling mid-year, they may be able to sign up for semester-only courses for the spring. Students attending New Jersey Virtual School must have access to technology and wifi; the school does not supply these for families. 

Besides New Jersey Virtual School, students can also consider other paid online school options, like George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy.

 

New Mexico:

In New Mexico there are free, full-time online learning options for students, such as New Mexico Connections Academy, Pecos Cyber Academy, eCademy K8 and eCademy High School, and New Mexico Destinations Career Academy. In addition, the New Mexico Virtual Course Consortium offers a supplemental online course program for students across the state. The state-run program charges fees to schools who enroll students. Some local districts absorb these costs, while some pass them along to families.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in New Mexico for 2021-2022?

All of New Mexico’s online schools have rolling enrollment policies: first come, first serve. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, New Mexico Connections Academy has seats available in grades 4-11, but grade 12 is full. Pecos Cyber Academy, eCademy K8 New Mexico Destinations Career Academy are still accepting applications. eCademy High School is full and only accepting students in emergency situations.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At New Mexico Connections Academy, families may request one computer and an internet subsidy per household. eCademy High School provides a computer for students. Destinations Career Academy provides a computer and a wifi hotspot. eCademy K8 provides a computer and an internet reimbursement. 

 

New York:

While most states offer a free, full-time online learning program, New York does not currently do so. However, in some districts, students with medical exemptions may be able to access remote learning programs.

There are some paid online school options that are available to students in New York and all 50 states. These include George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy.

 

North Carolina:

In North Carolina, middle school and high school students may enroll full-time or part-time in North Carolina Virtual Public School. Especially in rural districts, some students use North Carolina Virtual to take classes not offered at their local school, such as an AP class, STEM class, or alternative class. Public school students interested in attending North Carolina Virtual Public School should connect with their school’s e-learning advisor to enroll. Students not enrolled in public schools may be required to pay tuition. Other free, full-time online learning option available to families include North Carolina Virtual Academy and North Carolina Cyber Academy.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in North Carolina for 2021-2022?

At North Carolina Cyber Academy, 9-11th grade applications for the spring semester will be accepted until December 17. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, North Carolina Virtual Academy is at capacity and enrollment is closed for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

North Carolina Virtual Public School does not provide technology and wifi to students. At North Carolina Virtual Academy, a computer, printer, software, and internet stipend may be available based on financial need and eligibility.  North Carolina Cyber Academy provides a computer and internet subsidy for eligible students.

 

North Dakota:

While there is not currently a free full-time option for North Dakota students, elementary through high school students may enroll in courses through the North Dakota Center for Distance Education for a fee. Families can enroll in courses at any time throughout the year, and most courses do not have a set deadline. The North Dakota Center for Distance Learning has availability for all grades for the 2021-2022 school year, though some courses in each grade may be full. The school does not supply free technology and wifi to families, so students must have access to these at home.

Besides North Dakota Center for Distance Education, students can also consider other paid online school options, like George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy.

Additionally, some North Dakota districts offer online programs, such as Mandan Virtual Academy. In some cases, out-of-district students can transfer in through an agreement with the student’s home district.

 

Ohio:

Students in elementary through high school grades may enroll full-time or part-time in courses through Northwest Ohio Virtual Academy at no cost, but they must register through a school district. Each school district determines availability, acceptance, and logistics for their students’ courses. Other free, full-time online learning options are also available, such as Ohio Virtual Academy, Buckeye Online School for Success, Alternative Education Academy, Quaker Digital Academy, and Ohio Connections Academy. TRECA Digital Academy is an option that serves at-risk students, and students aged 16-21 needing extra academic and emotional support may be interested to finish high school may be interested in Ohio Digital Learning School. 

You can find a complete list of Ohio’s e-schools at the Ohio Department of Education. You can learn more about the Ohio online learning community at the Ohio e-School Families and Friends Coalition.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Ohio for 2021-2022?

Ohio Connections Academy, Ohio Digital Learning School, and Ohio Virtual Academy have rolling enrollment. Enrollment deadlines for Ohio Digital Learning School vary by district. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Ohio Connections Academy’s cap has not been met and it is still accepting applications, as is Alternative Education Academy. Ohio Virtual Academy has openings for students to enroll in grades K-12. Ohio Digital Learning School has seats available for students in grades 9-12 who are between 16 and 21-years-old.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Ohio Connections Academy, a computer and an internet subsidy will be provided to families. At Ohio Virtual Academy, a computer, printer, software, and internet subsidy will be provided to families. Ohio Digital Learning School provides a computer if the student qualifies for free or reduced lunch. Alternative Education Academy and Buckeye Online School for Success provide a computer and internet subsidy for eligible families. TRECA Digital Academy provides students with a computer and iPhone, as well as with internet or internet reimbursement. Quaker Digital Academy provides loaner computers to students as well as internet reimbursements. 

 

Oklahoma:

Oklahoma currently offers several online public schools for students, including Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy, Oklahoma Connections Academy, Epic Charter School, Insight School of Oklahoma (grades 6-12), E-School Virtual Charter Academy and Oklahoma Information and Technology School (currently grades 6-7). Part-time supplemental online courses may be available through your public school via the Oklahoma Supplemental Online Course Program. Remember, virtual school is different and it can feel like “drinking from a fire hose” at first. But, for some families, it becomes the perfect fit. Learn more about all of Oklahoma’s virtual learning options at the Oklahoma Virtual Charter School Board

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Oklahoma for 2021-2022?

The deadline to enroll at Oklahoma Connections Academy is November 10. Epic Charter School, Insight School of Oklahoma, and E-School Virtual Charter Academy have rolling enrollment policies. The deadline to enroll at Oklahoma Information and Technology School is October 1. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy and Oklahoma Connections Academy has seats available in all grades K-12, while Epic Charter School has availability in grades 3-12. Insight School of Oklahoma has availability in grades 6-12. Oklahoma Information and Technology School has availability in grades 6-9 Oklahoma, and Insight School of Oklahoma has availability in grades 6-12. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

All the schools listed above provide computers for eligible students. At Epic Charter School, a “learning fund” may be available to use for expenses. At Oklahoma Information and Technology School, Insight School of Oklahoma, and E-School Virtual Academy Charter, wifi hotspots or internet reimbursements may be available. 

 

Oregon:

Oregon offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, like Oregon Connections Academy, Oregon Virtual Academy, Frontier Charter Academy, and Baker Web Academy. In addition, a complete list of Oregon schools powered by the online education organization K12 is available. Some of these online schools accept students in certain districts or grades while others are open to all students.

In order for funding to follow a student to online school, the student’s family must submit a letter of intent, stating that they will be enrolling in a virtual school. You can learn more about the online school community at the Oregon Virtual Public School Alliance.

Another option for some Oregon families is to attend a district-run online school. Some districts, such as the Beaverton School District, plan to continue online schooling as an option after the pandemic.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Oregon for 2021-2022?

Oregon Connections Academy has a rolling admissions policy as long as the 3% state cap has not been met (only up to three percent of students in any public school district across the state can enroll in one of Oregon’s full-time virtual schools). Frontier Charter Academy also offers rolling enrollment.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

At Frontier Charter Academy, most grades are currently at capacity but the school is still accepting applications in case spaces become available. As of September 2021, Baker Web Academy is still accepting applications for grades K-11.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Oregon Connections Academy, one laptop and an internet stipend may be requested per household. Oregon Virtual Academy supplies families with a computer and a twice a year stipend to offset technology and wifi costs. Baker Web Academy provides laptops to students enrolled in online programs. 

 

Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, such as PA Virtual Charter School, Reach Cyber Charter School, Agora Cyber Charter School, Commonwealth Charter Academy, 21st Century Cyber Charter School, PA Leadership Charter School, PA Cyber Charter School, and Insight PA Cyber Charter School.

After a student has been accepted into an online school, his or her family must complete withdrawal paperwork as their assigned school to ensure that there are no gaps in enrollment and that funding follows the child.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Pennsylvania for 2021-2022?

PA Virtual Charter School, Reach Cyber Charter School, Insight PA Cyber Charter School, 21st Century Cyber Charter School, and Commonwealth Charter School all have rolling enrollment policies. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Insight PA Cyber Charter School, PA Virtual Charter School, Reach Cyber Charter School, and Commonwealth Charter Academy have seats available in all grades. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At PA Virtual Charter School, a laptop, printer, and internet stipend will be provided to eligible students. At Reach Cyber Charter School, students may request one computer and an internet subsidy per household. At Insight PA Cyber Charter School, a laptop is provided to every family. At Commonwealth Charter Academy, a computer, printer, and internet subsidy is available to students. 21st Century Charter School provides computers to students. At PA Leadership Charter School, each student receives a laptop, printer, and online connectivity.

 

Rhode Island:

Beginning in fall 2021, Rhode Island Connections Academy will offer a free, full-time online learning option for Rhode Island students. Participating students remain enrolled in their school district and must have the approval of their superintendent.

There are also paid, full-time online learning options available to students in all 50 states, Rhode Island included. These paid options include George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy.

Plus, in some Rhode Island districts, students in grades 3-12 can enroll in part-time online courses through their local school district. You can contact your local public school to ask whether there are free or paid online options available in your district. 

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Rhode Island for 2021-2022?

Rhode Island Connections Academy offers a rolling enrollment policy.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Rhode Island Connections Academy is accepting applications for all grades.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Rhode Island Connections Academy only provides technology and internet subsidies in the case of financial hardship. 

 

 

South Carolina:

South Carolina offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, like South Carolina Virtual Charter School, South Carolina Connections Academy. SC Whitmore School, the South Carolina Preparatory Academy, Odyssey Online Learning, and Cyber Academy of South Carolina. In addition, public, private, and homeschooled students in grades 7-12 in South Carolina can enroll in tuition-free online classes through Virtual SC. VirtualSC recommends taking a maximum of four classes at a time, and does not award diplomas.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in South Carolina for 2021-2022?

South Carolina Connections Academy, South Carolina Virtual Charter School, Odyssey Online High School, and SC Whitmore School have rolling enrollment policies. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, South Carolina virtual Charter School has seats available in grades K-12. At South Carolina Connections Academy, enrollment is limited to 6,500 students, and the cap has been met for grades K, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Limited space is available in grades 6-11. At Odyssey Online Learning, students who apply beyond late September will likely be on a waitlist for the second semester. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

South Carolina Connections Academy does not supply families with free technology, but internet subsidies may be available in the case of hardship. South Carolina Virtual Charter School and SC Whitmore School do not provide technology and wifi in most cases.

 

South Dakota:

South Dakota families may be able to take free, online learning courses through their local school district if it participates in an online learning community. Some districts allow students do take online classes full-time, some allow students to take online classes part-time, and some do not allow for online learning. Students taking online courses remain enrolled in their home district and follow their district’s procedures and policies. Typically, registration is only open at certain times of the year and families must supply their own computer and internet access. 

In addition, the South Dakota Virtual School, in conjunction with the state Department of Education, offers a list of approved providers for part-time courses. Students coordinate with and register through their local district to take these online classes. Whether the student’s district will absorb the cost of the classes or will require the student to pay a fee varies by district.

Finally, keep in mind that there are paid, full-time online school options that are available to students in all 50 states, South Dakota included. Some of these are George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy.

 

Tennessee:

For the 2021-2022 school year, Tennessee has 57 virtual schools, 29 of which are new ones! Virtual schools in Tennessee are overseen by school districts. While some virtual schools may be open only to in-district students, others (like Tennessee Virtual Academy and Tennessee Connections Academy) serve students statewide.

What is the deadline to enroll in online schools in Tennessee for 2021-2022?

Tennessee Connections Academy has a rolling enrollment policy. At Tennessee Virtual Academy, the school allows cohorts of new students to start throughout the year.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Tennessee Connections Academy has seats available for grades K-11. Tennessee Virtual Academy will be creating a waitlist soon.

At Tennessee Connections Academy, mid-year transfer students are accepted as long as the school’s enrollment cap is not met. Tennessee Virtual Academy also accepts students mid-school year; it sets dates for different cohorts of new students to start throughout the year. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Tennessee Connections Academy and Tennessee Virtual Academy do not typically provide technology and wifi, but families may be able to apply for technology based on financial need. 

 

Texas:

Texas offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, including tuition-free online schooling through the Texas Virtual School Network’s Online Schools. For the 2021-2022 school year, there were seven full-time online schools to choose from in the Texas Virtual School Network. Also, students may find part-time options through the Texas Virtual School Network.

For Texas district and charter schools, state funding has historically been based on the number of students physically present in classrooms, which has made it tough for schools to fund virtual learning. Still, some school districts have developed online schools, such as Harmony Public Schools’ new virtual offering. In 2021, Texas lawmakers passed a funding bill to help districts cover the costs of virtual learning. According to the law, district and charter schools that received a C or higher in the latest accountability ratings can receive funding for students enrolled in full-time remote learning in their boundaries. In some cases, district online options may be available to out-of-district students through open enrollment.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Texas for 2021-2022?

The Texas Virtual School Network offers families seven different online choices, some of which have rolling deadlines. District online options have differing deadlines. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

If you are flexible as to which platform you choose, there is availability for this school year through the Texas Virtual School Network.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Some of the Texas Virtual School Network choices provide a laptop, while others do not. For the schools that do not, you may be able to apply for an exception based on financial hardship.

 

Utah:

All Utah students, grades K-12, can enroll full- or part-time in online courses through Utah Online School. All courses are tuition-free. Other free online learning options are also available, such as Utah Connections Academy and Utah Virtual Academy. Moreover, Utah’s My Tech High partners with public schools to offer a full-time, personalized, distance education program for students ages 5 to 18.

Mountain Heights Academy is another free online public option for students in grades 7-12. The school is the first secondary school in the country to create and publicly release its own curriculum as an “open educational resource” freely available for anyone’s use. 

Additionally, a number of Utah school districts have developed online school programs, some of which may be options even for out-of-district students. 

Parents, educators, and community members can find education-related data about all public schools, including online public schools, at Utah State Board of Education’s Data Gateway.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Utah for 2021-2022?

At Utah Online School, the deadline for K-5 is September 28 and there is rolling enrollment for grades 6-12. Utah Connections Academy has rolling enrollment as long as the school’s limit has not been met. My Tech High offers rolling enrollment every day of the year. At Mountain Heights Academy, new students in grades 6-10 may be accepted each new quarter (August, October, January, and March). Seniors are only accepted for full-time status in August. Juniors are only accepted in August and January.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Utah Online School, Utah Connections Academy, My Tech High, and Mountain Heights Academy have seats available in every grade. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Families attending Utah Online School can fill out an application for a computer based on need. Families in grades K-6 at Utah Connections Academy can request one laptop and internet subsidy; families in grades 7-12 must provide their own. At Utah Virtual Academy, a family may request a computer if they qualify for free and reduced lunch. At My Tech High, a technology subsidy up to $300/year may be provided. 

 

Vermont:

While Vermont does not yet offer a statewide, free, full-time online learning option, some students may be able to take part-time or full-time courses through the Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative. A variety of factors determine whether the school or parent will pay tuition. For more information, contact your local public school.

There are also paid, full-time online options, such as George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy, that are available to students in any state. 

 

Virginia:

Virginia offers students the option of free, full-time online learning through Virginia Virtual Academy. Find out more about Virginia Virtual Academy in Highlighting Happiness, and our interview with Head of School, Suzanne Sloan.

Students in middle and high school may be able to take part-time or full-time online classes through their local school in partnership with Virtual Virginia. Tuition is usually covered by the public or private school in which the student is enrolled, or the parents if the student is homeschooled. In some areas, districts have also developed their own online school programs. 

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Virginia for 2021-2022?

As of August 2021, Virginia Virtual Academy had reached capacity for accepting students for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

Virginia Virtual Academy is no longer accepting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Virginia Virtual Academy does not supply families with technology and wifi. 

 

Washington:

Washington offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, like Washington Virtual Academies, Washington Connections Academy, and Virtual Prep Academy of Washington. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has compiled a list of districts with online learning options, some of which may offer free courses. Additionally, students in grades 9-12 looking for extra academic support may consider the Insight School of Washington

In order for funding to follow the student, families of a child switching to online school must get a choice transfer release from their school district each year. To learn more about online learning in Washington, you can also check out the Digital Public School Alliance – WA.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Washington in 2021-2022?

At Washington Connections Academy, the last day to register for the fall semester is October 18. After that, students in grades K-11 can still apply for the second semester. At Insight School of Washington, there are multiple cohort start dates for each trimester. But, if you do not start at the beginning of a semester the number of courses that can be taken are limited.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Washington Connections Academy, Washington Virtual Academies, Virtual Prep Academy of Washington, and the Insight School of Washington are still enrolling. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Washington Connections Academy does not typically provide technology, but a family may submit a technology hardship application. At the Insight School of Washington, families may request a laptop based on financial need, but internet is not provided. Washington Virtual Academies does not provide technology and wifi to students. 

 

West Virginia:

Whether your child wants to accelerate his or her learning or needs a quieter environment in which to focus, you may be interested in giving virtual school a try. West Virginia public school students can access part-time or full-time online learning for free through the West Virginia Virtual School. Enrollment takes place through a student’s local school district, which may set guidelines and determine the number of courses a student can take. Non-public and homeschool students can access the virtual courses by enrolling as a part-time student in their local school. Fees apply for summer online courses, and in some other cases.

In some cases, districts have developed their own virtual offerings. The West Virginia Department of Education’s school recovery guidance for the 2021-2022 school year says that virtual school should be available, at least for grades 6-12

There are also paid, full-time online options, such as George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy, that are available to students in any state. 

 

Wisconsin:

In Wisconsin, students can access several free, full-time online school programs. These include Wisconsin Connections Academy, Wisconsin Virtual Learning, and Wisconsin Virtual Academy. K12, the online education provider that powers Wisconsin Virtual Academy, also offers Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin, a technical skills-based online school for students in grades 9-12. Additionally, K12 offers a program for at-risk students in grades 9-12, called iForward.

In order for funding to follow a student to online school, their family must submit an Alternative Application through the Department of Education.

You can find a complete list of virtual charter schools at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

For part-time classes, middle-school and high-school students in Wisconsin may be able to enroll through their local public or private school in Wisconsin Virtual School. There may be fees attached and you should connect with your school to learn more. 

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Wisconsin for 2021-2022?

You can apply to an online school in Wisconsin (like Wisconsin Virtual Academy, Wisconsin Connections Academy, Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin, or i-Forward) at different times of the year through the state’s open enrollment policies. 

Families are encouraged to apply from February through April, directly through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. After the open enrollment period has technically ended in Wisconsin, students interested in an online school must apply via the alternate enrollment process.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

At Wisconsin Connections Academy, students in grades 9-12 can apply on October 13 for the second semester. i-Forward is accepting applications for all grades beginning October 1 for the second quarter. 

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Wisconsin Connections Academy, families in grades K-8 can receive one laptop per household and families in grades 9-12 can receive one laptop per student. Households may also request a subsidy toward the cost of internet. iForward will provide a computer to families without one, and will reimburse some Internet costs for qualifying families. At Wisconsin Virtual Academy and Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin, families are not typically provided technology and wifi. But, there can be exceptions in cases of financial hardship. 

 

Wyoming:

Wyoming offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, like Wyoming Virtual Academy, Wyoming Connections Academy, Cowboy State Virtual Academy, Tech Trip Academy, and Spur Virtual Academy. Additionally, paid part-time options are available through a variety of other providers.

Some Wyoming districts have also developed online school programs, some of which may be open to out-of-district students.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in Wyoming for 2021-2022?

Wyoming Connections Academy’s enrollment deadline is October 6 for grades 7-12 and November 6 for grades K-6. Cowboy State Virtual Academy has rolling enrollment. Wyoming Virtual Academy’s deadline was September 27. 

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

As of September 2021, Wyoming Connections Academy has seats available for all grades, as does Wyoming Virtual Academy.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

At Wyoming Connections Academy, a laptop and internet subsidy may be requested per household. At Tech Trip Academy, families can use supplemental learning funds toward technology and wifi. Cowboy State Academy does not provide technology and wifi. Wyoming Virtual Academy provides computers to students, and internet subsidies may be available in some cases.

 

Washington, D.C.

Whether your child wants to accelerate learning or needs a quieter environment in which to focus, you may be interested in trying virtual school. Students in Washington D.C., from kindergarten through eighth grade, can enroll full-time in Friendship Public Charter School Online, a fully online, tuition-free school. The school does not offer a part-time option, but paid part-time options may be available from other providers.

What is the deadline to enroll in online school in D.C. for 2021-2022?

Enrollment in Friendship Public Charter School Online takes place through the My School DC Public School Lottery. The application deadline has passed, but you may be able to submit a mid-year application. If you are matched or if a seat is available, you will receive email confirmations from both My School DC and a Friendship Public Charter School Online representative.

Which online options still have seats available and in what grades for 2021-2022?

Since enrollment is facilitated by My School DC Public School Lottery, families must apply to the lottery to see whether they can access a seat at Friendship Public Charter School Online. Parents can also call 202-729-8287 with enrollment inquiries.

Does the school provide technology and wifi?

Friendship Public Charter School Online may be able to loan a computer system and offset the cost of internet for eligible families.

 

Shareable Facts about Online School

Virtual-Learning-Infographic
Sources: The School Choice Roadmap, by Andrew Campanella; Snapshot 2020, by the Digital Learning Collaborative.

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Myths about Online School

Because online school programs aren’t as well-known as traditional school programs, there are some common misconceptions about them. For instance, here are two myths about K-12 online schools, along with answers from online school experts.

 

Myth 1: Online school would make it too hard for my child to have friends.

Suzanne Sloan, head of school at Virginia Virtual Academy (VAVA) shared a perspective on this. “One of the myths of virtual learning is that students are at home learning and they don’t get a chance to socialize and they don’t get a chance to be with other people,” she said. “Our families will tell you that it is the polar opposite. Because they have the ability to be flexible with their scheduling, they actually have more opportunities to be with other students. One of the ways they do this is through service projects, which help their individual communities.” 

 

Myth 2: Online school is less academically rigorous than traditional schooling.

We talked with another online school leader who had this to share about the rigor of online learning: “Our coursework is very challenging,” says Bryan Klochack, Principal at Michigan Connections Academy. “When we provide surveys to our parents about their happiness with our curriculum and whether it’s more or less challenging than their previous experience, it’s well into the high percentage of numbers that [say] it’s more challenging.”

He continued, “One of the things that we continue to fight over the years is that when you take a course online, people think of it as a credit recovery course that is not very challenging. As a full-time virtual option, that’s not who we are. We’re not a credit recovery program. We award diplomas. We’re expected to meet the same expectations every traditional brick and mortar district has for students to earn credits and their diploma, so it is very challenging, it is rigorous.”

mom-shows-children-how-to-use-computer

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Stories from Online School

If you’d like to hear more firsthand advice about online school, check out these interviews and stories from our archives:

online-school-student-celebrates-in-baseball-cap

Why one family tried online school and hasn't stopped yet

VAVA Students at the Capitol 2015

At this online school, each student designs a volunteer project

GOAL Academy-students-hold-school-choice-week-signs

At this blended model school, students get prom AND online classes

online-school-student-holds-my-passion-is-technology-sign

Here's what you should consider before switching to online school

 


The information in this guide to online school is designed to help families who are considering online schooling in their decision-making process. Our mission is to provide families with the information they need about all the school options available – traditional public, public charter, public magnet, private, online, and at home – so they can choose the right fit for their child. Read more guides about choosing other types of schools.

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