What grades are offered by the Chicago Virtual Charter School?
The Chicago Virtual Charter School offers grades K–12.
What subjects will my child study?
Language Arts, Math, Science, History, and Art are the core courses. There will also be other courses in the appropriate grade levels, such as Health, Physical Education, and World Languages. Visit our K–8 online courses and high school online courses section.
Does the program provide textbooks and other instructional materials?
Yes. We provide all the textbooks and instructional materials that are needed to complete the program in grades K–8. These books and materials are sent to students directly. High school courses do not require textbooks, so students receive fewer books and materials than elementary and middle school students.
Will my child have the same graduation opportunities as students in traditional public schools?
Yes, we are a public school in Illinois, so students can earn a diploma through our school based upon successful completion and mastery of course content.
Can my child work at his or her own pace?
The flexible curriculum at the K–8 level allows students to structure their days or weeks to suit their learning styles and preferences. There is, however, a certain level of effort required to ensure that a child makes progress in learning the concepts necessary for his or her grade level. If a child is having such difficulty mastering a concept that he or she is falling behind, the certified teacher will step in to provide additional support and services designed to overcome the difficulty and get the student back on a learning track. The teachers also have the ability to monitor activity so that “working at his or her own pace” does not become a synonym for “not working.” At the high-school level, the flexibility is somewhat more restricted due to the need to maintain the universally accepted semester/credit system.
How much time do students spend on the computer?
We expect that students will spend no more than 20 to 30 percent of their time on the computer in the early grades. High school students, since they are more independent learners, spend more time online. We believe in a balanced approach toward education. Computers help us provide you with effective assessment, planning, and time-management tools. Computers also act as powerful teaching tools that can motivate, stimulate, and inform children about the world around them. They do not, however, replace a solid education. Rather, they help facilitate one. That's why we use a unique multimedia approach that also includes a great deal of well-written and designed textbooks, workbooks, and hands-on instructional materials.
What does it cost to attend the Chicago Virtual Charter School?
Because the Chicago Virtual Charter School is a public charter school program, there is no tuition. The Chicago Virtual Charter School loans students a computer system and provides all instructional materials for the program. However, students and families will be responsible for providing some consumable materials (such as printer ink and paper).
Do you provide curriculum for special needs children?
Depending on a child's IEP, we can tailor our curriculum to meet your needs. A director of special education and special education teachers ensure that children with special needs receive appropriate accommodations and services. Students with disabilities are served according to federal, state, and local laws regarding special education. The Chicago Virtual Charter School, as a public charter school program, is open to all students. Children with and without disabilities will be admitted on the same basis.
Can you accommodate the accelerated learning needs of my gifted/talented child?
The beauty of our K–8 program is that it can meet children where they are in any given subject and take them where they want to go. Placement assessments taken online during the enrollment process allow us to place your student in the appropriate level of curriculum. So, for example, if your fourth grader is doing math on a sixth-grade level and reading on a fourth-grade level, we can tailor your curriculum and lesson plans to meet his or her abilities. High school students have the opportunity to take more advanced courses, including Advanced Placement courses for college credit. Visit our gifted and talented student section.
Since students do not go to a physical school building every day, how do they interact socially?
In addition to their required one-day-a-week time in our school building, students are invited to participate in school outings, field trips (e.g., to historical sites, museums, zoos), picnics, and other social events throughout the year. We expect local clusters of students and parents to get together on a regular basis in their areas. We also are exploring new ways to interact socially using the powerful reach of the Internet. With online discussions and forums, new types of communities can be formed that are based not on geography and place but on shared interests.
Will this program intrude into my home?
There are no teacher visits required as part of the program so long as families are fulfilling the attendance and progress obligations. You can ask your teacher to meet with you (completely optional), and there are no cameras or any other intrusions. The state of Illinois does require that students meet with their teacher in person four times a year. This is accomplished by attending academic workshops, school outings, or parent-teacher conferences. This school was created to help your child obtain a first-class education and serve your family's needs. If you ever feel that it is not right for your family or your child, you can withdraw your child at any time.
Can students do extracurricular activities at area schools?
The staff of the Chicago Virtual Charter School is actively pursuing opportunities to interact with other Chicago public schools.