Military families relocate more than the average American family. In fact, some military families relocate once every two years (the norm is once every five years), according to a National Military Family Association report. What's more, military children might lose class credits when they transfer to a new school. This can lead to frustration for kids and parents. And, most students are forced to repeat a course, attend summer school, be home schooled, or take extra classes in an effort to catch-up to the curriculum. However, online programs such as Virtual High School can help military kids take courses without interruption or loss of class credits. Virtual High School was created in 1996 with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of this online program was to evaluate whether or not students and teachers could successfully learn using online sources of education at a pre-collegiate level. "We trained onsite mentors, and they were responsible for selecting the students that participated in online classes," says Liz Pape, president and CEO of Virtual High School. Within the first year, Virtual High School found that not only could students learn using online programs, but that they could also get professional training and skills -- such as engineering or practical law -- that are valued today. "The first year, we brought about 28 teachers from 28 schools -- and we had about 500 students. Today we have 7,800 students enrolled in online courses in more than 350 schools, 28 states and 20 countries," Pape adds. Virtual High School credits its success to its unique, engaging and flexible course design. Students can take these online courses any time and anywhere. And, this online program works in conjunction with a traditional high school's curriculum in addition to offering advanced placement (AP) courses. In fact, military kids can continue to take regular courses at their new high school while completing online courses."Virtual High School has been a way for schools to enhance their course offerings. [But] we offer a wide variety of courses most schools do not offer, like our advanced placement courses," Pape says. Additionally, students attending any high school (regardless of its participation in the Virtual High School program) can take these online courses. Students can enroll in the online courses on an individual tuition basis. If students enroll in VHS and decide to withdraw, a 75 percent refund will be granted if the withdrawal occurs prior to the first week of the semester. It's important to note that VHS does not grant high school diplomas or GEDs. VHS works in conjunction with a high school curriculum to supplement a student's class schedule. Relocation doesn't have to interrupt military kids' education. Virtual High School can help students stay current in their studies and develop professional skills. For more information about Virtual High School and other online resources visit www.govhs.org/ or Military.com's Education Center.
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