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Academic issues- academic options?

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I just learned of Stanford's EPGY Online High School (OHS)--"the first diploma-granting online high school for gifted" students. There is an application deadline for the next school year. I thought this might be helpful to some of those families searching for a strong academic online school program. I am sorry that I have no further information: this just came to me through my son's cyber school.

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I have been communicating with some people who have taken online courses (as well as physically present summer programmes) through both EPGY and Johns Hopkins, and sometimes other programmes, and the general impression is that JHU has best quality online classes (although not everybody agrees), with EPGY being near the bottom of the spectrum of online gifted education. This may change with Stamford's introduction of a full high school curriculum and diploma, but since they accept transfer credit the consensus among the people I have talked to has been that if an online diploma is desired (rather than online classes applied to a local school), one should take the minimum amount of core curriculum/required classes, plus any EPGY-only electives, from EPGY and the rest from JHU or some other source.


ETA: Everybody I spoke to are people I met through JHU, so they may be biased favourably towards it.

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My daughter switched from to an online high school program this year, opting for Univ. of Nebraska program. She, like so many ballet dancers, is an excellent student, and was at a very good private college prep school. This was a big decision, and was not made lightly!


We investigated all of the options, and were most grateful for all of the information on the BT forums. Very helpful! In addition, at her last summer intensive, she met a number of girls from around the country who were enrolled in similar online programs, and was able to learn from their experiences as well. Several were enrolled in Neb. program; another was in U of Indiana's program. Feedback about Indiana was while it offered a good selection of courses, and was a good program, grading was sometimes very slow. Nebraska, in contrast, we were told, offered a challenging curriculum (AP courses), immediate feedback, and a very well organized system overall, with real human voices (staff) to answer questions and concerns.


Before deciding on Nebraska, she had applied and was accepted at Stanford's EPGY degree program. She decided not to attend after learning that many of the classes were to be held at scheduled times, via a virtual classroom type of setting. This set up would not have worked with her performance schedule, as she is typically at the dance studio in class or rehearsing all day, and was touring in the fall. The other troubling thing was that the full time program is new, and seems very disorganized. It was difficult to access anyone via the convoluted phone system, to answer questions. Very disheartening. It is also interesting that the EPGY degree program seems to be completely separate from the EPGY course by course offering program, which has been around for some time.



She did take AP Calc from EPGY this fall, because Nebraska didn't have an AP Calc offering. Course materials consist of DVD with lectures, interactive CD program and a textbook which she ordered from Amazon. A tutor was available by email. Her experience with this was fair; tutor was often slow to respond to questions; it is virtually impossible to get through to a human administrator to answer general questions. She did manage to complete the course successfully, (actually got an A-) but with a fair amount of frustration. When I finally did reach a human at the other end, they conceded that there were problems with their customer service, and were "starting to document" the communication/technical problems that users were voicing.


Nebraska has been outstanding. They produce their own course materials. Written papers are submitted online, and graded and returned by qualified instructors with constructive, cogent feedback. The administrative staff is incredibly responsive. All in all, very pleased!


Sorry for the length of this, hope our family's experience is helpful.

Edited by atutulover
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Thank-You for your post. We might need to have our dd finish high school on line next year and I will need guidence. Was this Univ. of Nebraska Lincoln?

Thank-You ,


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A few things to keep in mind re: cyber/correspondence school. Most require a minimum number of courses from that school in order to obtain a diploma. At Indiana U HS, 5 courses minimum are required. However, this gives tremendous flexibility to pick and choose courses from other vendors/universities to complete the program, and university level courses from Indiana count too. Turnaround from the instructors from IUHS for the online courses has been quick- even for the college level courses.

Also- most programs (except for cybercourses from Apex, FLVS, Aventa etc) require proctored exams. Nebraska has quite a few each semester. This means finding a proctor- library, university, perhaps dorm supervisor if there is one (and the programs can be quite strict about who proctors), sending in the exam and waiting. Nebraska uses CDs; cybercourses from Apex etc use online instruction with many quizes, email submissions etc. and exams do not require proctors.

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Our DD was also accepted to the new Stanford EPGY Online HS diploma program for this past fall. It wasn't until we had gone through the entire admission process and got to the course selection process that we learned that it is a rather rigid program in terms of times and schedules. The course selections for her last year of High School would have been just fine. It was the idea of an actual school calendar (start/finish dates, specified holiday schedules, specified finals weeks, etc) and the fact that many of the courses would require her to be participating via webcam in discussion groups held at specified hours. There are minimum amounts of those type seminars (they have a name, but I've forgotten what it is) that the student must take and there are maximum numbers of scheduled class that they are allowed to miss. Because of the actual existence of a school calendar, she would not have been able to accelerate her courses.


I did not have any difficulty really with communication with the administrator (whose name I have forgotten), but ultimately we were able to work it out that DD would have only had to attend one of those webcam deals a week---but it was made very clear to me that DD would be participating in the absolute minimum acceptable and the implication was she had better never miss! Unfortunately, with the time change (about 3hrs), the web-class she would have had to attend would not have permitted her time to get to the studio for her first class on time.


DD ultimately put her foot down and said no way could she deal with that strict calendar given the Nutcracker season. (She is at an intensive ballet training program. Those students are used to fill out the corps in a professional company.) In hindsight, she was absolutely correct. She would not have been able to maintain that strict school calendar that Stanford's program is set up for. In fact, she took the entire month of December off from her academics!


Once we nixed Stanford, we enrolled her in the University of Miami's Online High School program. It has many AP courses, which DD has been doing. She is allowed to accelerate courses, which she has. She has a college counsellor. She has frequent contact with instructors--both e-mail and by phone-as do we. She can do the work whenever it works best for her. She does seem to prefer the EPYG courses she has taken through Northwestern University, but I have been pleased with UMOHS all around.

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Wow! Thanks for all this information! I actually talked to someone at Stanford EPGY today and I was under the assumption the students could work on their own time. She mentioned a skater and other students with very intense schedules.


My dd has been attending a traditional high school, but she usually only gets to first period and sometimes another period when the company she dances with is on lunch break. She goes in early to take tests and hands in work. Her teachers have been great, but it's been difficult on dd. One of the most difficult things is staying on the school's schedule. For example, getting a lot of homework and tests during Nutcracker. I'm hoping to find a program that might take a little of the time stress off her.

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Most cyberschools (UMOHS is one) do allow acceleration and flexibility in courses. For AP, however, as the goal is to take the exams in May, the teachers tend to be stricter. I believe UMOHS uses the Florida Virtual School curriculum; it is much more expensive than other schools.

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Even with the AP courses at UMOHS, DD has been allowed to accelerate the courses and to take off the month of December. Actually, she had pretty much finished the AP US Government course sometime before Thanksgiving, but due to the teacher's pregnancy leave and DD's intense Nutcracker schedule, she did not take the course final until she returned after New Year's.


UMOHS sets up a 'pace' chart so that the student knows how many assignments per week need to be completed in order to finish the course on time. (There is a course time allotment. It can be extended with permission, if necessary, I think. A semester length course is set for 20 weeks; a two-semester course is set for 40 weeks) DD's goal has been to accelerate her courses in order to finish before SIs begin. She has consistently been ahead of the 'pace' chart and we get routine reports of her progress by e-mail. The AP courses are reported a little differently and the completed assignment numbers don't always match the routine report that generates those particular e-mails. So, I know that if the student is behind (or if the Student Report shows them behind the 'pace'), the teacher e-mails the parent.


UMOHS has been in this business for a very long time. They may have been one of the first online high school diplomas, but I'm not sure about that. And I'm not trying to stump for them. But I have been quite pleased with their response and communications. They do seem to have it pretty worked out. There is a student newspaper; they do have an actual graduation ceremony. They are used alot by an elite tennis academy, elite athletes, musicians, and a few intense training dancers. My dd was not the first dancer her teachers have had! That, too, helped when Nutcracker time came. Not a single teacher batted an eye or gave her grief. Most inquired about her performances. She was ahead of pace going into Nutcracker and had already completed a couple semester length courses. They have a school code for use on the APs, SATs, ACTs, etc.


Early on, she had internet difficulties and let me tell you, that AP Government teacher was calling both dd and me with concern about her making her pace recommendations. She truly was concerned and involved (almost to the point of aggravation, but then she didn't know what kind of student she had yet) and was sincere in her interest.

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This may seem a little silly to some, but do kids going through high school this way have a graduation ceremony?


:devil: Oops. I guess I'm ready for remedial reading, since I now see Dancemaven has answered this question. .

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My non-dancing son is a brainiac and has tried several of the programs mentioned above. In terms of ease in getting through a class, and flexible scheduling, he says that Keystone National High School is the simplest and easiest (and fairly cheap too!). He's a math guy, so he found the math for that program "a little simplistic" but satisfactory. They grade a little faster than Indiana University's program, and have less repetitive work and fewer challenges than the EPGY or JHU programs.

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I know Keystone now has AP classes and many honors courses (they also just merged with Aventa and they have more classes that transfer into Keystone easily), they seem to be rather popular, I know quite a few people who use their program and have found it rather useful if they have a full time schedule with sports or arts.


Distance ed seems to be becoming very popular! I bet in 20 years from now it'll be standard.


Oh, and some states have programs for their students where the distance ed is paid for like a public school.

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Just to clarify, University of Miami High School does not use Florida Virtual High School curriculum. They have their own curriculum.

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