Online high schools in Arkansas
Arkansas online high schools offer alternative learning environments that could encourage students to stay in school. Distance learning may suit motivated students who need more of a challenge, or those who have work or family commitments that might keep them from succeeding at a traditional campus.
The Alliance for Excellent Education reports that an estimated 11,900 students dropped out from the Class of 2010 in Arkansas, at a high economic cost to the state. The Alliance proposes that if even half of those students had stayed in school, they could have earned as much as $42 million more in an average year, supported as many as 300 new jobs, and increased the Arkansas gross state product by as much as $51 million by the time they reach their career midpoints. The option to school online could help more students successfully complete high school.
Public and private online high schools in Arkansas
Arkansas Virtual High School, or AVHS, provides supplemental instruction through tuition-free courses funded by the government. Arkansas state distance learning programs are open to private school and home school students who reside in an affiliated school district.
AVHS classes range from math and science to art and English, with certain Advanced Placement subjects as well. The program can provide a maximum of three online classes per student. The availability of specific classes may depend on funding. Coursework follows a regular semester schedule as well as a summer school session. Upon graduation, students receive diplomas from their local school districts.
For full-time diploma-granting programs, private online high schools offer another option. Tuition-based schools typically feature flexible enrollment and the possibility of individualized study plans. Coursework, scholarship opportunities and accreditation vary by school, and students and parents should be sure to research all their options before selecting a program.
Preparing high school students for careers in Arkansas
According to the Arkansas Department of Education, Governor Mike Beebe and his Workforce Cabinet want to make sure that high school graduates are receiving the education they need to help prepare them for jobs in the growing fields of the future. This includes making sure they are well-educated in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). For this reason, in August 2011, the governor and his cabinet implemented the STEM Works program that looks to institute project-based learning at high schools and to help prep some students for becoming teachers in the STEM fields later on.
This program could potentially lead to increased higher-education graduation rates as students find motiviation to complete the training to work in some of these STEM fields. According to Complete College America (completecollege.org), those rates in Arkansas are now low: for every 35 students who enroll in a full-time two-year degree program in Arkansas seven graduate within four years.