Distance Learning Program at American School

08.03.21

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Who is this program for?

- Children, who want to study completely remotely and at the same time receive a diploma of graduation from an American school;

- School children, who want to get an American school diploma in parallel with a diploma from their own country and without interrupting their studies at home school;

- Teenagers, who decide to take a break from their school for a year to improve their English and do distance learning experience in an American school.

The distance learning program at school (online high school education) was originally invented in America for children whose learning rhythm does not correspond to the general class team, for example, the child learns the material very quickly, and he becomes uninteresting, or someone needs more time to understand what the teacher said. Or children, who are professionally involved in sports and do not have the opportunity to regularly attend lessons in the classroom. The program was designed to learn at a time convenient for the child and at its own pace. There is an opportunity to return and review the material again. Some children move to distance learning because they are not accepted by other children and they are not comfortable in the classroom. Everyone has different reasons why he switches to online learning.

At the same time, a big advantage of online platforms is that the content of the lessons is constantly updated, which is much more difficult to do in traditional face-to face teaching, since in that case the teacher needs to spend a lot of time tracking all the novelties in his subject and constantly improving his qualifications. The online platform on which the Washington Academy education is built is automatically updated, since any information is now available online and it is easier to update it on the platform than to make sure that all the innovations are mastered by all teachers before the lesson.

Children who study the American online program usually have much higher motivation, since even telling the friends that someone studies the American program a looks cool in the eyes of the child himself.

Many parents worry that their children do not have a live communication with the teacher. In fact, in each subject 3 hours per semester are allocated for communication with the teacher and the children know about this, since there is an icon on the platform with a hint - to ask the teacher a question. In this case, the teacher will definitely contact the student who has a question and will make an online meeting, where they will see each other on the screen and will be able to talk or write in a chat. The system itself will keep track of how many minutes are used and the student can also see it. At the same time, children are in no hurry to use the option of meeting with the teacher, most often because of fear or embarrassment, they are afraid to seem ridiculous or that the teacher might not understand them. It is easier for children to write to the teacher in a chat, read or listen to the material again and figure it out for themselves. In any case, it is better to schedule such meetings with the teacher in a month or two, when the child has already figured out the platform, how to learn and complete tasks, has already passed part of the material. If the teacher sees that the child is doing something wrong, he first writes to the student, if he sees that the student continues to make such mistakes, he himself asks to meet with the student in order to explain everything to him.

The Washington Academy online program was created in two versions: obtaining a Dual Diploma and obtaining a Full American Diploma.

The Dual Degree program provides that the student continues to study at his school and, before graduating from his school, must complete 6 subjects (credits) of the American school. It is normal to break these 6 subjects into 2-3 years and study the American program for an additional 1.5-2 hours a day after studying at home school. In total, 23 credits are required to graduate from the Washington Academy, but with the Dual Degree program, the school counts the program of the local school as 17 credits in addition to the credits received from the American school and the student is issued a diploma of graduation from the American school - Washington Academy. At the same time, the diploma does not indicate that the studying was online - a diploma of graduation from the American school is issued showing the academic performance, including credits earned at both schools: at home school and at the Washington Academy.

If we are talking about doing a Full Diploma program, then the child does not study anywhere else, but he studies 6 subjects a year remotely. The student can take all 6 subjects at once and study them all throughout the year, or he can take and complete 3 subjects for each a semester. For the Full Diploma program, the student needs to estimate to study for 4 or more hours per day. Which subjects to study is determined by the school, there are compulsory subjects, it is also assessed what subjects the student studied earlier and at what level. The Full Diploma program is suitable if your child for some reason does not want to continue to study at home school, or the family often moves and does not want to change schools. Also, if the student graduated from the school in home country and wants to complete the American program and receive a diploma from an American school in 1 year.

Language requirements.

To be able to study the program online, knowledge of English must be at the B1-B2 level, since despite the possibility of translating all texts and audio, without a good understanding of the language, the student will not be able to complete the assignments and final tests. Of course, the level of English improves significantly every year of studying at this program due to the expansion of academic vocabulary and constant practice of using the English language.

What subjects are available.

This year, the program simultaneously enrolls about 300,000 students from all over the world, for whom the program is offered in a total of 150 subjects. Each age group has its own set of subjects, while not all subjects are accredited by the school. Therefore, students who need to make a program in a short time choose only accredited subjects, which are also always a large selection. Those who have been studying at American school for several years, in addition to accredited subjects, can take any of the ones they like to get additional knowledge. Children from 12 years old are admitted to the program, although there is no age limit. Now there is already a distance learning program for elementary school, the main thing is that if the child has enough English and independent enough to study remotely.

To complete the program and receive a diploma from an American school, each student must take several compulsory subjects at a certain level. These include: US history (can be taken from the 9th grade), English language and literature - in-depth study (can be taken from the 10th grade) ... The rest of the subjects are at the choice of the student and depending on the academic background. The most popular high school subjects include psychology, mathematics, business, economics, entrepreneurship, world history, and sociology. Subjects can be taken at the standard level, at the Honors, AP or even at the university level, the first 2 levels are included in the cost of the program (for Honors only students with high academic performance are accepted), for subjects at the AP or university level one needs to pay extra. Some subjects require additional equipment (for example, chemistry, painting), but nothing complicated.

Enrollment and selection of subjects.

With application, the prospective student sends the report cards for the last 2 years and the curriculum of their school. Washington Academy evaluates report cards and school curriculum and proposes subjects that are appropriate for a particular student to study. In the process of further consultations, subjects for the first and subsequent years are selected from the list, but since some of the subjects are added annually, the list of them for the next years may change. If time permits, for example, if a student is going to study at school for at least 3 years, then it’s better to choose more interesting or easy subjects for the first year. New subjects are added to the platform each year, so the program for further years of study is adjusted. It is recommended to pass compulsory subjects in advance, without leaving them for the last year.

AP courses and who needs them

Students choose AP (Advanced Placement) courses as an addition to their university portfolio. There is an extra fee for taking AP courses, but one needs to understand that they are not required. Some universities recognize AP courses as university credits, which gives advantages in admission and slightly reduces the program of study in the first years of the university.

It should also be borne in mind that there are final exams for all AP courses, which are evaluated by a commission outside the school. That is, after completing the AP course, the student may not pass the exam and then the course will be credited only at the standard level. There is also an exam fee, but the good news is that the student can take it remotely from home with the camera of the computer turned on. AP courses can be accepted by universities in different countries, while only by applying to the university, the applicant can see which AP courses that university accepts.

University courses.

From last year, Washington Academy offers 2 University of California courses in Entrepreneurship and International Business, which can be taken in addition to the required program. The course is held in a small group of up to 10 people. For 17 weeks, the group gathers for 2 hours a week on the platform and has live lessons with a teacher. In addition to that the student takes a daily course on the platform. University courses can be taken instead of elective subjects to get school credits in the Diploma program, and there is an extra fee for choosing to take University courses. Upon successful completion of the course, the University of California issues a certificate of completion of the course and such course counts towards further education at the chosen university.

The Accelerate Ed Platform.

The Accelerate Ed platform was created in 2010 and has about 300,000 students annually. The platform is very easy to use, very intuitive.

Before the start of each lesson, the student should go to the Resources section, which will contain all the information on this lesson on the platform, plus information, for example, on literature, which books should be read to complete the lesson. There is an information how to study correctly in this subject. During the task performance here is a link right in the task, to go and read on the platform resource or, for example, for the literature, which book they have to read. In the Grades section - a journal of assignments and progress, you can immediately see when and what needs to be done, when it’s been passed, what is the student progress, teacher's comments on the completed assignment, how much time the student spent on each assignment - which is convenient for monitoring progress. For many children, knowing that a computer controls their learning, increases their diligence and success. There is also a very convenient calendar on the platform, where the system itself sets the schedule for each student, depending on when he has registered and when he should finish. Students can start studying at any time of the year, they just need to set a goal for when the program should be completed. Initially, the program distributes studying by subject for 10 months, but if the student sets the final date earlier (for example, if the student started the program in the middle of the school year, and wants to finish faster than in 10 months, the student can change the graduation date and the system will recalculate the calendar). When a student enters his subject, he also sees who his teacher is, all the correspondence with the teacher. Here the student can also schedule a video conference with a teacher, which is recorded to have the possibility to watch it back. Student can immediately see resources, academic performance and the lesson itself, which consists of texts and videos. For international students, it is possible to translate the lesson texts into their own language, highlight individual words in order to view their translation or listen to the pronunciation. There is a possibility to add English to the videos. The student can stop the video any time, slow it down, review several time, check the translation of certain words in subtitles. All this makes it much easier to study for foreign students who do not have enough English to understand a live lesson. Each topic ends with a test, but before the test, during the lesson, constant exercises and a practice test is given, which is very similar to the real one, and they all prepare students for the test on the topic. To pass the test on the topic, only 1 attempt is given and a score is given based on the results. If the student is not happy with his result, he can ask the teacher to retake the test. The teacher can give another test, or allow to the student to redo some task, it may be necessary to listen to the whole lesson again and do practice tests - only the teacher can decide on the test retake. After completing the semester course, whenever the student is ready, the student takes a final test on the subject.

University admission assistance.

After completing grade 11 of the Washington Academy online program all students register in the CEP (college entrance program) system. The consultant contacts the student and asks where the student wants to go to the University. This is a separate platform where the student communicates with the consultant online, the student uploads the necessary documents for the selected colleges, the consultant helps to fills in all the application forms in three jointly selected universities. All successful students of online Washington Academy are guaranteed an admission to one of the partner universities (375 in total) in America, the UK or Australia. In parallel, a consultant helps to apply for a scholarship.

In conclusion, I would like to summarize the pros and cons of the program. The obvious pluses include:

- studying at your own pace, flexible schedule;

- very low cost (full-time study at the Washington Academy costs from $ 50,000 per year, online Washington Academy for a Double diploma program costs from $ 3,700 per year);

- interactive and interesting study materials that motivate you to achieve the highest result;

- comfort of using and continuous improvement of the English language;

- simultaneous receipt of a school certificate of home country;

- acceptance of subjects passed at home and recalculation grades into the American system;

- assistance in entering the university and obtaining a scholarship.

By cons:

- loss of socialization at school;

- the inability to feel the country, which would have happened with full-time study in America.

At the same time, it must be remembered that the student can transfer to full-time education at any time.

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