Q&A: Why Do Online Schools Have Principals?

Q&A: Do Online Schools Have Principals?

Answer: There are typically principals at online schools in much the same way as traditional schools. However, the students are generally not introduced to the principal at an online school in the same fashion. Parents can expect to receive some form of a welcome letter to the school including a message from the principal, an outline of the curriculum, log-in information to the classroom site, and important regulations concerning the school's policies.

The principal generally works from an administrative office where the online school is located, overseeing the teachers and acting as support when questions or concerns arise. If a parent has a concern about their student's progress, the teacher is typically the first person they should contact and arrange a meeting time with, which most likely would occur over the phone. Because participating in online education does not require or may not offer face-to-face encounters, parents and students should expect interactions between families and the principals to be much different than in a traditional school setting.

Most of the family's communication will be with the child's teacher. There will normally be office hours posted for students with available times that the teacher can be contacted. Students should also expect there to be a weekly log-in time where each student and the teacher logs into a live classroom site. Online schooling requires student dedication and motivation to keep track of when daily and weekly assignments are due. If and when questions do arise, it is imperative that the student and family keep the lines of communication with the teacher open. The online school principal, however, should be expected to be there if additional support is needed.

Christi WilsonChristi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.

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