Virtual School Meanderings

March 15, 2015

Allied Online High School Blog

From Thursday’s inbox…

Allied Online High School Blog

Posted: 11 Mar 2015 03:28 PM PDTOnline Summer School Doesn’t Have to Be in the Summertime!


Parents, Counselors, & School Administrators:  Now that the first half of school has passed, have you given any thought to helping your students recover credits, improve their GPA, or create space in their schedule for the fall?

Why wait for May or June to roll around to help students get ahead?  Many Summer School programs fill up, or have enrollment deadline dates.  Many students want to enjoy part of their summer break.  Why get caught in the “mad dash” that often occurs for Summer School when there is a viable alternative?

There are a number of things that you can do to plan ahead.

First, high school counselors are the best resource.  We encourage you to seek advice from the professional who can help you.

Here are a few suggestions on how you can prepare yourself for a phone call with the Counselor or Administrator at the student’s school of record, and how you can proceed from there:

1.       Speak with the student’s high school counselor or administrator about their academic needs.

a.       Does the student need to improve a grade in a single course?  If so, which specific course or courses? English 10A?  Algebra 1B?  Get clear on the details and why.

b.      For college-bound students, does the student need to take an additional semester course to increase their GPA for college application or graduation purposes?

c.       Or would the student benefit from working on a credit that would create space in their schedule in the fall so they can add a drama class or special class of interest?

2.       Ask the high school counselor or school official what the criteria is for what is known as a “transfer of credit”, or “single course for credit”.  Ultimately, you will want the course your student takes to be transferred back to their full-time high school’s transcript, so be sure to find out what is acceptable to them.   More questions to ask:

a.       What type of regional accreditation is needed?  i.e., WASC, SACS, NCA, etc.?

b.      Does the school offering the individual course need to be in a brick and mortar setting, or does the school of record allow online courses?  Online courses offer more flexibility for you and the student, so this is good information to know.

3.       Find out which schools, programs and courses are available, and start your research early – some programs are limited to a certain number of students, some courses are not available, and some have strict entry deadlines and attendance requirements.

4.       When speaking with a school you are considering for a course or two for credit, ask as many questions as you need to!

a.       What type of accreditation and approvals does the school have?  Can you find it on their website and independently verify that they are regionally accredited?

b.      Schools offering courses will very often have a process for you to follow in order to ensure that the course will be transferred for credit.  What are the forms that need to be completed?

c.       How does their program work?  Is it online?  Are there set days & times for classes, or is the schedule flexible?  Are there teachers, and what are their qualifications?  What is the required teacher response time? What type of student progress reporting and support is available?  Will the school send you progress reports and also keep the school administrator updated, if that is what is requested?

d.      Can the school support you in determining how long the course will take, how many hours per week the student must work, and assist you in expediting the mailing of the final transcript to the student’s school of record?

e.      Does the school offer payment plans, or is all tuition required up front?  Can they work with you if you have a budgeting concern?

f.        Is a representative of the school willing to answer any questions you have and assist you in the enrollment process?  Very often, the first phone call will tell you a great deal about what you need to know and the ongoing experience you and your student will have.

Fortunately, there’s a great solution: Allied National High School!

Allied National High School enrolls students year-round, is regionally and nationally accredited.  We are 100% online, have payment plans, and offer two types of grading to accommodate a variety of start dates and completion deadlines.  You can enroll your student right now, and have them “ease” into the course they need to complete, then accelerate once the school year has finished.  This may give them some time they didn’t anticipate having available to enjoy their summer break.

Enrolling early may also relieve some of the pressure students can feel if they start a summer school session in June or July. Additionally, students who enjoy other activities can still do so with ANHS, as they can work through a course during whatever hours work best for them.  Yes, a teen can still go to the beach with their friends during the day and do their studies at night… and parents don’t have to drive them to class, either!

Call us today at 800-968-4034 to speak with one of our Admissions counselors.

The Importance of the Five-Paragraph EssayPosted: 25 Jan 2013 03:26 PM PST
Dean of Instruction at Allied National High School 

Anyone who has made it through a year of high school English knows that the five-paragraph essay is emphasized in the American curriculum, but have you ever wondered why? There are some very practical reasons. The five-paragraph essay:

  • has become a litmus test for college readiness in the admission processes
  • is a vehicle for communicating concept mastery in standardized testing
  • is used regularly by persuasive communicators to set ideas into action

For these reasons, knowing how to write an essay has become a crucial skill, and high school students are wise to practice their writing across the high school curriculum.

At ANHS we have expected schoolwide learning results that establish the skills students should have when they complete our online program. One of those skills is becoming a persuasive communicator, both online and off. Students in our English courses practice the skill of writing persuasively multiple times, and there are instructor-created tutorials to help students establish the foundational knowledge they need to become great writers, and in turn persuasive communicators.

We measure student and schoolwide progress annually through a school-wide writing prompt, which is an opportunity to assess student writing outside of the English curriculum. Each February, ANHS students select one of three suggested prompts and then craft a five-paragraph persuasive essay to respond to the prompt.  Each essay is graded using a rubric, and individual feedback is given to each student so they can reflect on their writing ability, and continue to improve each year.

This is an excellent way for us to assess student progress toward meeting our expected schoolwide learning result, and it also helps us determine what curriculum and instructional changes need to occur to further support student learning in this area. It also provides students with the opportunity to practice a skill that they will undoubtedly be asked to use time and time again to express their opinion, make an argument and show concept mastery.

Students will be informed of our 2012-2013 writing prompt during the first week of February.  Announcements will be posted in Blackboard and e-mail will be sent to each student. Stay tuned!

The World Is Your Virtual OysterPosted: 11 Jan 2013 12:51 PM PST

Dean of Instruction at Allied National High School

Have you ever been to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., the Great Wall of China or the Picasso Museum in Barcelona? Few have the advantage of an endless travel budget, something you’d need to check these must-sees off your list.

Tours are a wonderful way to explore culture, the arts, history and science. Visiting museums and historical sites makes the abstract tangible and gives visitors the chance to see important artifacts first-hand, all of which gives new meaning to significant people, places and events.

However, the rest of us are in luck because it has never been easier to visit these wonderful treasure troves of culture, and for free! As any online learner knows, today you can take a virtual tour of almost any internationally recognized museum or historical site, and I really mean today, as in, right now. I hope you have your comfy slippers on and a cup of joe for the trip.

Online learners can now get this same experience virtually by taking advantage of the many tours available by doing a simple Internet search. I have compiled a short list of tours that I found to be particularly compelling, but the options are almost endless.

So, next time you are sitting around on a cold and rainy day, why not visit a museum or historic site? Virtually that is!

Making the Transition: Home-Schooling to Online LearningPosted: 02 Jan 2013 03:18 PM PST

Dean of Instruction at Allied National High School

Many parents who home-school their children are considering an online school as an alternative because it offers many of the benefits of home-schooling, such as working from the comfort of home, customized curriculum options and a self-paced learning environment. By choosing an accredited online school instead of home-schooling, students also have the benefit of qualified instructors, social interactions and receiving a diploma from an accredited school.

Once a family has decided to make the transition to an online school, they need to be prepared to present the school with documentation of their child’s learning experience so they can be appropriately placed in the new learning environment. This can be a daunting task if it has not been prepared along the way, but with a little preparation any home-schooling parent can easily prepare the proper evidence of learning for a smooth transition.

At Allied National High School we assess incoming home-school students for placement using a variety of methods. There are several ways parents can provide evidence for evaluation.  One common method is presenting a portfolio of student work.  A home-school portfolio should include the list of subjects studied, grades earned (or pass/fail), curriculum materials used and work samples from each subject area, including summative assessments.

We also realize that some parents have not collected this information along the way, and it can be challenging to manage this after the fact.  Alternative documentation can be presented in the form of SSAT test scores for students entering the ninth grade. For those students entering in grades 10-12, we also offer diagnostic testing to determine placement but it needs to be accompanied by a home-school transcript of courses taken and grades earned.

Other assessments can also be accepted, too. For example, some states require annual testing for home-school students to ensure mastery of state standards, which would be sufficient documentation for our placement purposes.

In conclusion, if you are considering making the transition from-home schooling to online learning, it is important to start thinking about the documentation of student learning now so that you can properly prepare it in advance. Also, every school has their own criteria for placement so it is important to contact the schools you are considering.

To learn more about Allied National High School’s placement options please contact Tracey Jay in Admissions at 800-968-4034 ext. 7620.

Happy Holidays To the World from ANHSPosted: 14 Dec 2012 01:37 PM PST

Dean of Instruction at Allied National High School

Right now we’re enjoying an entire season dedicated to celebrations. Globally, hundreds of holidays are celebrated within the months of November, December and January, and yet most people know about only a few of these celebrations personally.

Allied National High School would like to help change that by offering all of our readers a holiday season challenge in the form of a Web quest. We present here a list of 13 December holidays that contribute to the season and holiday cheer around the world. I challenge you to learn something about each of these special holidays by conducting some good old-fashioned internet research (you might even find some not listed here).

I guarantee that you will learn a great deal in a short period of time, and learning about such festive activities is sure to bring a smile to your face. To further this challenge, I encourage you to share what you learn with other people, so that we may all learn to appreciate the diverse rituals and celebrations that make the season special (can you imagine the impact if everyone did this?).

December Holidays Around the World

5: Ashura (Islamic, Muslim)
6: St. Nicholas Day (International)
8: Bodhi Day – Buddha’s Enlightenment (Buddhist)
8-16: Hanukkah (Jewish)
Virgin of Guadalupe (Mexico)
13: Santa Lucia Day (Sweden)
16-25: Las Posadas (Mexico)
21: Winter Solstice (international)
22: Dongzhi Festival (Chinese)
25: Christmas (Christian, Roman Catholic, International)
26: Boxing Day (Canada, United Kingdom)
26: Kwanzaa (Pan-African, North America)
31: New Year’s Eve (international)Stay tuned to our YouTube page for a very special holiday greeting from the Allied staff!

February 28, 2015

Statistics for February 2015

This entry is being posted back-dated.

In what has become the norm… A quick, back-dated statistics entry for this month… This past month there were 3.392 visits to this blog from 2,478 unique visitors (note that WordPress has added a new level of data) – which is down about 1,500 visits and 700 visitors since December, but is actually up by about 200 or so visits and 300 or so visitors compared to February 2014.

The top ten entries this past month were:

  1. Questions About The School Of Tomorrow
  2. Student Holiday Notice
  3. Instructional Technology Dissertation Topics
  4. We Missed You at Last Week’s Webinar
  5. Early Bird Special – May 2013
  6. Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education
  7. Greatest Benefits Of K-12 Online Learning And Visible Learning
  8. Review – Frog Dissection
  9. The History Of K-12 Online Education???
  10. Dissertation Research Ideas?

What is interesting to note is that not a single one of those entries were posted this month.  To find the first popular February 2015 entry it would be in the number 12 position with Tribune Opinion: Struggling Online School Model Raises Serious Questions, followed by the number 13 position with Reviewers Needed, the number 14 position with Recent Post #OnTheFly: Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report, and the number 15 position with Becoming Tech-Savvy And Fearless.

In terms of visitors, the ten most popular countries from where folks viewed my blog are:

  • United States 2,632
  • Canada 216
  • Philippines 100
  • India 87
  • United Kingdom 76
  • Russia 50
  • Germany 41
  • Australia 39
  • France 33
  • New Zealand 26

So while I may be out of step with the dominant (i.e., neo-liberal) paradigm in the United States, it is nice to see that at least some Americans still find this blog useful.  It is also nice to see Canada and New Zealand in the top ten, as that is where a lot of my own research has focused.

As you can see, search engines continue to be the top driver of traffic to the blog (by a long shot).

It is also nice to see the places that I post my entries (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, and Google+) actually scoring well.  While Twitter posts automatically each time I post an entry (so does LinkedIn), I have to copy and paste the items to Facebook, Google+, and Plurk.

In terms of what people are searching for, during the month of February the top ten searches that drove traffic to this blog were:

  • ace school of tomorrow criticisms
  • early bird
  • reading for college success flvs answers
  • notice for holiday in school
  • thormann, j. t., & fidalgo, p. p. (2014). guidelines for online course moderation and community building from a student’s perspective. journal of online learning & teaching, 10(3), 374-388.
  • ncaa rules on e2020 online courses
  • do learners really know best? urban legends in education
  • why start a virtual school presentations
  • posters for virtual placement

I suspect that many of these people were disappointed to land on my blog…  :)

Finally, the statistics from my old blog site


February 22, 2015

Allied Online High School Blog

From yesterday’s inbox…

Allied Online High School Blog

Link to Allied Online High School Blog

Allied National High School – (online high scho…

Posted: 20 Feb 2015 11:00 AM PST

February 8, 2015

Allied Online High School Blog

Also from Friday’s inbox…

Allied Online High School Blog

Link to Allied Online High School Blog

Allied National High School (online high school) – who we are

Posted: 05 Feb 2015 03:04 PM PST

January 31, 2015

Statistics for January 2015

This entry is being posted back-dated.

In what has become the norm… A quick, back-dated statistics entry for this month… This past month there were 4,855 visits to this blog from 3,155 unique visitors (note that WordPress has added a new level of data) – which is up about 1,100 visits and 500 visitors since December, and about 1100 or so visits more than January 2014.

The top ten entries this past month were:

  1. Questions About The School Of Tomorrow
  2. Student Holiday Notice
  3. A Revolutionary Approach to Blended Learning
  4. Pick EdITLib This Autumn!
  5. White Paper: 10 Blended Learning Trends
  6. Instructional Technology Dissertation Topics
  7. Guest Blogger: Examining Accelerated Christian Education
  8. iNACOL Webinar | Jan. 15 – Think Like a Learning Engineer: An Instructional Design Approach
  9. A Look At The Impact Of Predictive Analytics On K-12 Education
  10. Comment – Bloomberg: What Went Wrong at the Upstart School Michael Milken Backed?

Finally, the statistics from my old blog site


« Previous PageNext Page »

The Rubric Theme. Blog at


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,832 other followers