Making the Grade: Virtual Summer School

The Virtual High School, a non-profit, is offering summer courses for students looking for something academic this summer

Kevin Smith from Littleton, Massachusetts, has some big plans for his summer vacation.

The soon-to-be eighth grader wants to hang out with friends and improve his football and basketball skills, but that's not all. His mother wants him to do something academic, too.

It's not exactly his idea of fun, but Kevin, like a growing number of middle and high school students, will be logging onto his computer two to three times a week for Virtual Summer School.

In Kevin's case, he wants to learn how to design video games.

"Every week the teacher gives you lessons to complete," he said, adding, "To turn them in, you either turn them into a group discussion or a dropbox or maybe a private topic if that's what she asks."

"It's really just like being in a regular classroom. It's just that everything is done online," Jeffrey Elliott said.

Elliott is the president and CEO of the Virtual High School, a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts that has partnerships with more than 700 schools across the country and the world. The Virtual High School provides online courses for credit during the school year and the summer. These classes appeal to students looking for enrichment or maybe an extra credit.

"They would pick up right where they left off the previous day. They would start reading maybe an assignment. They would watch a video and interact in a discussion board with a group of other students," Elliott said.

These classes are not free though: A four week summer school session will cost a parent $225, while an eight week session comes out to $450.

"They are really concerned about that brain drain that typically happens during the summer months. They want their kids to stay on top of everything and taking a summer course is just a great way to do that," Elliott said.

"First week or two, it's kind of complicated, but once you know how to do it, it's real easy," Kevin said.

Virtual Summer School is keeping kids engaged in learning at a time when learning often takes a break for the summer.

For up-to-the-minute news and weather, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Contact Us