What can one student bring to their online school?

Many parents are considering moving their children to an online school because of issues like bullying or academic performance. There are also many families transitioning their children to virtual learning because of the social pressures of being in a traditional school setting. Online education is more than an alternative to brick-and-mortar schools. It is becoming a place where students can begin preparing for their careers through career technology education (CTE) and extracurricular activities. For many students, it has created an environment where they can feel more confident.

“I used to be a very shy, anxious person; I would never ask for help. I didn’t really do much in terms of clubs. And then one day I entered a class, and then a spark kind of hit me like that teacher gave me a spark. And that spark has lasted since then,” says Andrew Dodson, a senior at Texas Online Preparatory School.

Dodson has been attending Texas Online Preparatory School for nine years. During that time, he has taken part in several extracurricular activities that have helped with his shyness and developed social skills. Many virtual academies across the country have lots of extracurricular programs for their students to get involved in and find interests they might not have known existed. For Dodson, if an activity that interested him wasn’t available, he took it upon himself to create it for his fellow students.

“I started a club, and then a year later, I ended up creating kind of like a leadership team. Now I have like a really close, tight-knit group of friends that I find really relatable with and a lot of aspects, regardless of where they are currently in their schooling journey,” says Dodson.

Taking advantage of career prep opportunities is a significant advantage of online learning, and for Dodson, there was plenty to get involved in. It was a way to build up his résumé, but he didn’t want people to think that because he accomplished a lot, his experience wasn’t challenging.

“You might have seen my résumé and thought, ‘wow, you must have never struggled’ like no, I did,” says Dodson.

If you’d like to learn more about the programs Andrew Dodson got involved in and how they enhanced his online learning career, check out a one-to-one interview with him in our K12 On Learning podcasts, available wherever you get your podcasts.


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