2013 Virtual Public School Family Survey

Dear Virtual School Supporters,
The results are in!  We can’t thank you enough for participating in this year’s family survey, which helps us communicate to policymakers and the general public about the reasons parents choose their school and how it’s working for them.  Over 370 Oregon families responded, which gave us an incredible snapshot of our schools.

We believe that every child learns differently, which is why the Oregon public school system needs options that meet different needs.  The traditional classroom is a place where many children thrive.  But, many don’t.  According to the survey, here are some of the main reasons why families chose full-time virtual public school:
- 48% of parents report that bullying or other inappropriate behavior in the classroom was inhibiting learning
- 41% report that their children were falling behind academically
- 27% have advanced learners who were not challenged in the classroom
- 20% have children with behavioral issues that required an individualized learning environment
- 15% have children with health issues that ruled out a traditional classroom
Once upon a time, many of our kids would have simply fallen “between the cracks” in the system.  With the advancement of technology and some favorable public policies, however, every Oregon child now has a chance to reach their full potential.
In addition to finding the environment they need to learn, our survey also found that they are finding the extra-curricular activities they need to socialize with peers.
The survey finds that 81% of virtual public school families have their students in some form of extra-curricular or socialization activity outside the home.  Some activities include:
- 43% of families report their students are involved in youth organizations such as scouts, YMCA, clubs, or church activities
- 41% are involved in sports
- 30% are involved in volunteer service
- 23% play a musical instrument
- 21% are in theatre, dance, or the visual arts

Here are some stories that Oregon families agreed to share with us.

I have watched my son turn from a kid who was struggling to stay afloat to a happy little boy who loves to learn. That is enough to make any parent’s heart smile. I know it has mine. The last question I leave you with is this: if it was your son/daughter would you not fight with everything you have to give him/her the education he/she deserves? My answer is “yes!” That is why I have taken the time to research and let you know I will fight for what I think every child should have. That is the option for a proper education that best fits them.

Shylee M.
Salem, OR

Our forever daughter, means she is adopted from the Or State Foster Care System, is labeled w/high functioning autism and is multi talented. However, you have to reach them to teach them as the old but pertinent phrase goes, and by the end of 5th grade it was evident that the "traditional" method of educating students, was not reaching her. Digital schooling does reach her because we pace it at her rate of learning, can take breaks as needed, has the extra bells/whistles, stimuli that reaches her funny bone and keeps her engaged, plus immediate gratification so she never feels frustrated but instead rewarded for doing her personal best.

Bonnie Duncan
Tigard, OR

Autumn has ADHD and Dyslexia, plus she was tested to be cognitively slow.  She is capable of learning but it takes her twice as long as her peers.  In a traditional classroom environment she is unable to take notes at the pace of the class and misses a lot of important information.  She is afraid to ask questions for clarity because the children already bully and harass her for being different.  In our virtual public school, Autumn does very well.  She is allowed to proceed at her own pace to learn the lessons.  She has learned more in the last 3 years in our virtual school than she learned between 2nd and 6th grade in traditional school.  Please continue to back Virtual learning.  For some of us, it is the only hope our children will learn enough to be able to be productive after graduation. 

Katherine Knott
Salem, OR

My son is a Type 1 diabetic, with other educational and medical challenges. The small rural school he was attending was not equipped to deal with his medical issues, especially when he was diagnosed with a severe form of Urticarial that causes Anaphylactic shock.  The online education accessibility is essential for my son's education. He can usually attend the courses as scheduled, but we know that he can make up via recordings if he is too ill, or is at a doctor's appointment. This has taken a lot of stress off him (and me), which helps tremendously in managing his illnesses and mental health. He really loves his teachers (which is a first!). I think if this online education option was not available, my son would be a drop-out,” as there is no other option available that works for him. He has plans to continue his education after graduation, and looks forward to the availability of online higher education to supplement/replace his on campus classes. 

Sandi L.
Lowell, OR 

When local schools experienced teacher staff reductions and increased classroom sizes, as well as a decrease in non-core funding for music, art and PE, we were more than concerned that our child would not receive the quality of education we desired for her. Because of the phenomenal increase in class size (42 students/1 teacher) there were often times when peers would engage in catty and downright bullying behavior around my daughter. The teacher was often times unaware, or unwilling to intervene.  Online school gave us the opportunity to have Morgan concentrate and excel in an educational environment that allowed her to blossom as a student and individual. Removing her from a stressful social situation and placing her in online school was one of the best decisions I've ever made and I wish I had done it sooner! We couldn't be more pleased with the high standards of excellence the education now provides.

Marilyn D.
Beaverton, OR 

All four of our kids were adopted through foster care and were exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero and have varying degrees of delays and disabilities as a result.  Having our virtual public school as an option is truly the only way for us.  Not one of our kids can sit in a classroom full of kids with all the noise and distractions.  They all need more one-on-one help with their schoolwork, along with a quiet and very structured environment and routine.  I cannot speak highly enough about our virtual public school and having it as an option for our family.   Our family is super happy with it and all that is offered from excellent administrators to amazing teachers along with all the help we need to allow our children to succeed. 

Znette B.
Beatty, OR

Thank you for your support.
Steven Isaacs