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Online public school programs in California are meeting the needs of thousands of students. There are many personal reasons parents select online public school programs for their child’s education (medical needs, special education, individualized instruction, difficulties in traditional classroom settings, etc.) Online programs offer innovative, mastery-based online learning with a wide range of traditional hands-on instructional materials.

Description of Public Virtual Schools

  • Public virtual education is a public school education.
  • Students who attend are full-time public school students. They work at home under the guidance of a parent or responsible adult.
  • Public virtual schools employ state-certified public school teachers. Every student is assigned to a teacher in their school.
  • Public virtual schools are governed by an independent, non-profit Board of Directors, all of whom are residents of the state.
  • Public virtual schools are a public school option available for qualifying students.
  • Public virtual schools are a partner in public education; an exciting and important education option.

Academics and Accountability

  • Public virtual schools have the same accountability requirements as every public school in the state.
  • Teachers are responsible for overseeing and managing student learning, and to ensure students are meeting all academic progress and accountability requirements.
  • All students must participate in the state assessment tests.
  • All students must meet the attendance requirements.
  • Public virtual schools are subject to federal AYP goals under No Child Left Behind.
  • Public virtual schools use an established curriculum that consists of thousands of lessons in the core subjects: Math, Language Arts/English, History, Science, Art, and Music. The curriculum aligns with state standards.

Public Virtual School vs. Homeschooling

Public virtual schools are public schools. It is not homeschooling. There are many differences that make this school a public school:

  • State-certified public school teachers assign lessons and assess student learning.
  • State assessment tests.
  • Attendance policy and academic progress requirements.
  • An established curriculum in the core subjects that students must follow – (families can’t pick and choose, or eliminate a subject.)
  • Schools are subject to state and federal academic and fiscal accountability requirements.

Role of the Teacher

Every student is assigned to a state-certified public school teacher. Teachers work remotely and are responsible for overseeing and managing student learning:

  • Teachers assign lessons, and provide instruction, guidance and support.
  • Teachers track student attendance and academic progress.
  • Teachers evaluate student work.
  • Teachers develop a strong partnership with parent or responsible adult.
  • In consultation with parents, teachers: recommend remedial or enrichment programs and make placement and promotion decisions.
  • Teachers communicate regularly with their students via phone, email, and face to face meetings, including academic workshops.
  • Organize social and academic outings; promote school community.
  • Participate in regular training and professional development.
  • And much more!

Role of the Parent

All educators agree that strong parental involvement is extremely important to a child’s academic success. In the school, parents are active participants in their child’s education, working in close partnership with teachers.

  • Parents act as a learning coach: work closely with their child, guiding them through daily lessons.
  • Parents actively participate in their child’s daily learning.
  • Parents record student academic progress.
  • Parents communicate with teachers on regular basis to assess child’s learning, academic achievement, etc.
  • Parents become actively involved in parent groups, workshops, school functions and events, and student activities.


  • Public virtual schools offer many opportunities for students, parents and teachers to come together to build friendships and lasting relationships within the school community.
  • Teachers conduct monthly outings – social and academic – for students and their families.
  • Students are involved in a variety of extracurricular activities.
  • Other activities and events, sponsored by schools, may include: teachers workshops and parent workshops, community service projects, clubs, school academic events: spelling bees, science fairs, visits to historical sites.

Why would someone enroll in a public virtual school?

  • Public virtual schools are not for everyone, but for many it is an important public education option.
  • Online public schools provide personalized, one-to-one learning opportunities where education is customized to meet every child’s individual needs and learning styles.
  • For many students, their learning needs are better met outside a traditional classroom. Some examples may include: Special needs; gifted students, family circumstances; a need for an individualized learning program; a desire for a more rigorous academic program; children with medical or physical conditions that prevent them from learning in a traditional classroom environment.