Hybrid High School: Mixing Mainstream + Modern Day Education

Choice and personalization are two key words in online high school education, especially at iForward. Students have choices when it comes to determining classes and paths to prepare for their futures. Students can also personalize their educations to match their personal situations and needs. This makes iForward a great option for many types of students.

Road signiForward’s free online public high school has been an educational solution for students who cannot attend or choose not to attend traditional mainstream schools. iForward is also a solution for students who do not want to entirely give up the mainstream school experience.

Since we are chartered through the Grantsburg School District, many students in the district have chosen to take a portion of their credits through iForward’s virtual high school and diminish their classroom time as a result. Combining mainstream school and modern day online education has been a solution for many types of students, including those with work or family commitments or those interested in classes Grantsburg does not offer.

As online education continues to gain popularity in modern day, there continue to be new ways to offer choices and personalize education to fit the needs of every student. For more information about iForward and the choices and personalization we can offer, contact us today!

Why Online School Means Unlimited Access to Education

Online school offers many benefits for students looking for a change of pace from traditional school settings. One of the greatest benefits of online school is unlimited access to education. Students at iForward have unlimited access to education in more ways than one!

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  1. Classes. iForward offers classes in various subjects in order to help students choose classes that match their needs and interests. However, we cannot offer every class that students may want to take. The solution? We are part of a consortium of online schools. As a result, we have access to every online class in the country. If a student wants to take a class that iForward does not offer, we will find it!
  1. Course materials. Online education also means unlimited access to course materials. Recorded lectures, notes, and homework materials are at students’ fingertips 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Students have access to course materials when there is time in their busy schedules.
  1. Teachers. iForward’s teachers are accessible in many ways to their students. Whether it is through live lectures, email, phone, or instant messaging, our teachers are committed to supporting their students in any way possible.

 

Unlimited access to education is just one way more students can be successful in online education settings!

From “At Risk” to “At Home”

Online education can be the education solution for many types of students with schedules and responsibilities that do not align with the structure of traditional schools. Online learning is also a realistic option for students who are unhappy or struggling in their current school settings.

shutterstock_215716540Whether the school environment, teachers, social atmosphere, course material, or another aspect of traditional school is keeping you from being the best student you can be, iForward can be just the change you need to succeed. For students of all different backgrounds and experiences, iForward provides a safe and supportive online learning environment. We have helped dozens of struggling students in Wisconsin graduate from high school.

What can students and parents expect from iForward?

  • Personalized academics- work with our counselors to meet your graduation requirements and take classes to prepare you for your future path
  • Supportive teachers- dedicated teachers follow our “students first” philosophy and are available to help students with questions and course material during live class sessions, as well as over email and instant messaging
  • Peer relationships- in addition to classes, students have opportunities to form peer relationships and get engaged in the school community through extracurricular activities
  • Parent involvement- parents are encouraged to be involved in their students’ progress by contacting teachers with questions, attending online conferences, and monitoring student progress online

Ready to learn more about iForward? Contact us today!

Uncovering the Parent Role in Online Education

shutterstock_267541670Students in traditional school settings with supportive and involved parents are more likely to be successful in school and beyond. For students in online school settings, the same is true. As a parent of an online education student, you should be prepared to provide the same amount of support, if not more.

Students who attend school online are more successful when they have motivation, a strong work ethic, and time management skills. These characteristics help students get their work done and claim their educations. Students who are lacking in one of these areas or younger students are two types of students that may require extra parental support on their paths to independence.

Your role in online education can include monitoring your student’s progress and communicating with your student’s teachers. You can also provide emotional and time-management support when they are studying and completing assignments. While each student needs a different level of support to be successful, the key to remember is that online learners need just as much parental support as traditional students. If you have questions or concerns about how you can support your student, do not hesitate to contact your students’ teachers for suggestions.

Teaching Peer Feedback

At iForward, we prepare our students for success after graduation, regardless of the paths they choose for their futures. This includes teaching skills that are transferable to higher education and the workplace, as well as desirable for today’s jobs. Giving feedback to peers and receiving feedback in return are two skills that can help students be strong leaders in the future.

shutterstock_212664226-[Converted]Life is a learning process because no one has all the right answers! Part of being a leader is being able to give feedback to peers. Making others aware of areas they can improve in and providing realistic suggestions gives a different perspective that individuals cannot always see for themselves. Leaders know their team’s strengths and weaknesses and how they contribute to the team’s overall success. While this may not seem relevant in high school, practicing this skill now will help you improve this skill in order to use it in your future career.

Another important part of being a leader is the ability to gracefully accept feedback. Receiving feedback from others helps us increase our self-awareness, or our consciousness of our strengths and areas for improvement. It helps us admit when we do not have the answer and hold ourselves accountable for our mistakes. While we may want to appear as though we always have all the answers, we can become more effective leaders by acknowledging our weaker areas and showing our efforts to improve and take feedback. This self-awareness can be beneficial in helping you gain trust and credibility, ultimately making you a more effective leader.

Misconceptions About Online School

Online learning has become a viable learning option for students of all ages. There are many reasons students choose to attend school online, including not feeling as though they belong in a typical school environment, family responsibilities, or the desire for more independence. While online school appeals to these types of students and others, those whom are unfamiliar with online learning likely have misconceptions. Keep reading to learn about the truth behind these misconceptions at iForward.

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For more information about iForward, click on the chalkboard!

Misconception #1: Online school is easier than traditional school.

  • Truth: Online courses have the same rigor as traditional brick-and-mortar courses. The main difference is that they are presented in a different format. Students still have options to choose the classes they take, including advanced placement courses.

Misconception #2: There is no homework in online school.

  • Truth: Online courses have homework, just like traditional courses. Our students take three classes at a time. Students typically study for two hours per day per course, adding up to about 30 hours per week. In this time, students read course materials, complete homework assignments, attend lessons, and participate in discussion threads.

Misconception #3: Online school is self-paced.

  • Truth: iForward students attend classes at specific times each week. The online lessons are live and encourage participation from students. Lessons are also recorded and used in circumstances where students have excused absences. Due dates for homework and tests are put in place to help students stay on track.

Misconception #4: Teachers at online schools do not care about their students.

  • Truth: Our licensed and certified teachers conduct classes 180 days a year, which is the same as traditional teachers/classes. Even though teachers are not in the same physical space as students, they can answer questions during virtual office hours, and over email or instant messaging. iForward teachers make themselves available to students because they want to support their learning regardless of where they are!

Misconception #5: A diploma from an online school is different than a diploma from a traditional school.

  • Truth: Diplomas from iForward are the same as the diplomas students receive at traditional schools since iForward is operated through the Grantsburg School District. High school graduates from iForward are able to use their diploma to attend universities and colleges throughout Wisconsin and the country.

To discover all the iForward has to offer, Open Enroll today via the state of Wisconsin Open Enrollment Application found here: https://apps4.dpi.wi.gov/Opal2012/

7 Great Study Habits

Regardless of whether you attend school in-person or online, practicing good study habits is important and will help you be successful now and in the future. Studying is not always a fun activity, and it can be hard to balance with other commitments such as work, athletics, and family.

Your mental approach to studying and studying location are just two examples of factors you can change in developing study skills! While actions take some time to transform into habits, it is not too late to try new approaches to studying. Here are 7 great study habits to try.

  1. Improve your study mindset- While studying may be necessary, changing your approach can help improve your studying. Study during a time when you can focus and not be distracted by other life events. Incorporate positive thinking by focusing on your skills and abilities and avoid comparing yourself and your performance to others.
  1. Find the right location- Distractions are not your friend when you are trying to study! If the TV is on in the background, the dog is barking outside your door, and you are surfing the internet, you are not going to accomplish any work. When you need to buckle down and focus, try a library or quiet coffee shop and find a place that fits your needs and habits when it comes to studying.
  1. Be prepared- Once you have found your idea study spot(s), make sure you always have the necessary materials with you. Your textbooks, paper, and writing utensils are all likely to be needed. Avoid bringing extra distractions you do not need. If you are prepared to study, you will be able to focus instead of worrying about materials you do not have or running back and forth to find them.
  1. Make a schedule- Making a schedule is one step, sticking to the schedule is just as important! Make a realistic schedule with small 30- or 60-minute chunks of study time. Making time for studying each day will support your learning of the material rather than cramming at the last minute.
  1. Take breaks- Studying for long periods of time can reduce your productivity. Allow yourself to take breaks to regroup or grab a snack. Find the time limits that work best for you in order to increase your chances for success.
  1. Reward yourself- While you are studying, you can set goals and reward yourself once you accomplish them. For example, you can allow yourself to spend 30 minutes online for every book chapter you read. Some students like to place small candy pieces, such as jellybeans, throughout their textbook page and reward themselves after reading each section. Be as creative as you want and find what motivates you to study.
  1. Maintain health and balance- It can be hard to balance school with other commitments, but balance is important for supporting your growth and learning. Focus on your academic tasks, but give your friends, family, and other interests time as well. Balance will allow you to be happier and more productive. It does not necessarily get easier, but we continue to get better with experience. Maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle will help you be able to focus.

At iForward, students are not alone in their quest to develop strong study habits! Teachers and faculty are accessible and readily available to help and support students in their development of strong study habits.

The World is Your Oyster: Post-Secondary Options

What kind of job are you going to get? Where are you going to school? What are you going to study? Where are you going to live?

post-secondary optionsWhen students graduate from high school, there is tremendous pressure to have the next step in life completely figured out, regardless of what that next step is. In reality, you do not need to have every detail determined, but at the minimum you should have a plan. Your high school diploma is the key to unlocking your future! You can take steps in many different directions to create the life you want. Here are some options to think about:

  • Two-year community college- Community colleges typically provide classes and resources to help students get a two-year Associate’s Degree. Students can take a career-specific path, such as nursing or business, or take general classes to transfer towards their Bachelor’s Degree at a college or university.
  • Four-year college or university- Students who want to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree can start at a community college for general credits, or can begin right away at a four-year college or university. These college and universities typically offer more variety in terms of areas to study. If you choose this route, it is important to visit the colleges you are considering. There are several factors to consider, such as campus culture, public vs. private, size, and location.
  • Gap year- If you are stuck and unsure about what your next step should be, taking a gap year is always a possibility. A gap year is essentially a year after graduation in which you do not begin school or a specific career. It is intended to give you an opportunity to explore and develop a plan for your next steps. Without the stresses of school, it allows you to think more clearly about your future plans and gives you time to see what opportunities are available to you.
  • Travel abroad- The time after high school graduation is great for discovering yourself and challenging the life you have created so far. One way to do this is by getting outside of your comfort zone and exploring a new culture and environment. There are endless opportunities to travel abroad and see the countries you have been dreaming about. For example, as an exchange student you would get to experience school in another country. You would also gain independence and problem-solving skills from being on your own in a new country. If you have an interest in children, you could also be an au pair and spend a year with a host family in another country. As an au pair you would take care of the host children, complete classes at a local school, and be immersed in a new way of life.

It is okay to not know what your future holds. As a high school graduate you will have many options available to you, so take the time to explore, find your passion, and go after the future you desire!

What is a Career Cluster?

iForward offers a variety of classes to meet students’ needs and interests! When students can make clear connections between what they are learning and what they want in the future, they are more successful in school. Career-minded students often find this in our career clusters. Career clusters are vocational classes designed to help students prepare for the future careers they desire.career cluster

Why do students choose these classes?

  • Develop essential knowledge and skills for specific career paths
  • Experiential learning opportunities that match student interests
  • Opportunities to explore careers if students do not have a set career in mind
  • Variety to break up schedule of required courses

iForward currently offers five career clusters. As the program continues to grow, there will be a total of sixteen career clusters. Currently students have access to:

  • Business Management, Administration & Finance
  • Health Science
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing

Future clusters include Human Services, Marketing, and Education & Training. All career clusters can be found here.

Parent Resolutions: Get Healthy, Stay Healthy

Did your New Year’s resolution involve eating healthier or exercising more often? If so, you are not alone. You are also not alone if your resolution did not last past the first couple weeks of January.

Life gets busy. Motivation fades. Old habits die hard.

Instead of getting upset for not making your health more of a priority, try a different approach. Your health does not affect you and only you. It also affects your children in more ways than you may realize. Your conscious and subconscious behavior, choices, and habits all influence your children. Children of all ages observe the actions of adults. They continue to reflect on their observations of right and wrong as they continue to get older.

family bike ridePointing out the fact that your children are watching your every move is not to make you feel pressured or anxious. Instead, it is to make you realize that your actions regarding health affect more than just you. By no means do you need to demonstrate a “perfect” healthy lifestyle for your family. Rather, thinking consciously about your health decisions can have lifelong effects for your family. Here are some ideas to help you start getting healthy and staying healthy:

  • Involve children in meal preparation- Having your children help you plan meals, pick out foods at the grocery store, and prepare healthy meals for your family will help them feel included in making healthy decisions. Talk about which foods are better choices, and how to select healthy foods on a budget. Not to mention, you can incorporate life skills such as budgeting and cooking!
  • Hold each other accountable- Working on your health as a team can help keep you motivated. It is more difficult to skip a workout or eat too much ice cream when you have others looking out for you and working towards a common goal.
  • Work out together- Look for new and fun ways to incorporate the entire family into a workout. Taking your dog for a walk or having fitness challenges within your family can create opportunities to bond while being healthy at the same time.
  • Regular doctor’s visits– Demonstrate the importance of yearly health check-ups, such as visiting the dentist, pediatrician, and optometrist, as well as getting immunizations. Showing your children that you take your own health seriously will help impart a similar mentality in them for the future.