Q: How does the school ensure that students stay on track with coursework?
A: Realizing that time management is one of the largest obstacles for students in an online environment, there are four main ways that Denver Online High School works to ensure students stay supported and on track to complete coursework on time. 1) New students are required to attend a New Student Orientation that teaches students to be effective online learners. 2) Each student meets with a counselor to plan his or her coursework. 3) Courses are designed to keep students on track through progress monitoring or due dates throughout the quarter. 4) Teachers and advisors work together to keep students on track through early detection of problems and working with students on their individualized Student Improvement Plan. See the Academic Support System for more details on this process.
Q: What does an online class look like?
A: Each course is organized into weekly folders. Within those weekly folders, all coursework (e.g. assignments, quizzes/tests, projects) in each class are available for students from the very beginning of the class. Therefore, students can see all assigned coursework for the class and then work at their own pace through it, completing one folder each week to stay on track. Content is all teacher and student driven, where teachers are able to modify coursework to match student needs. Some classes will incorporate live class sessions where students will use Zoom, a web conferencing tool. Using Zoom, teachers may lead a class lecture using PowerPoints, videos, science lab simulations, and other forms of instruction. During these live class sessions, students may interact through video, audio, or text chat with their teachers and classmates.
Q: Do the students have real teachers?
A: Yes they do! Teachers are available on Connection Days, during their scheduled office hours at our physical location, and via Zoom video conferencing, email, phone, and text. Some classes will also incorporate live online class sessions using Zoom where students can connect with their teacher and peers online. Actually, students sometimes have more personalized relationships with teachers at Denver Online High School than at any other school they’ve attended. Can you text your teachers a question at a traditional school? Probably not. Denver Online High School teachers create a personalized education for each student. See what other parents and students have said about Denver Online High School and its faculty on the testimonials page or see what our teachers love most about their job here.
Q: Does Denver Online High School provide computers and internet for students?
A: No. Students are expected to have their own computer and 24/7 access to internet. However, we do have a learning lab where students can use computers to work on their coursework. We also have some great resources for a free download of Microsoft Office, and purchasing low-cost laptops and internet services.
Q: When does Denver Online High School enroll students?
A: We enroll new full-time students every quarter. However, spots are extremely limited 2nd and 4th quarter. Enrollment for part time/supplemental happens twice a year on the semester.
Q: Do I have to attend an onsite campus?
A: Sometimes. In most cases, students can work from home without attending a physical location. However, we have implemented Connection Days for students to increase the feeling of connectedness between peers in the school. 9th/10th graders are expected to come in once a week for Connection Days, 11th graders twice a month, and 12th graders once a month. This gives students valuable time to get to know each other and their teachers, work on coursework, complete state testing, participate in service learning and college/career readiness activities, and more. We also require students to attend New Student Orientation and all required district/state testing. However, we also know that sport competitions, health challenges, and other circumstances arise that may interfere with students attending those Connection Days and school functions. In those cases, the school works with students individually to create a modified plan.
Q: How do I get extra help?
A: There are teachers available at our physical location; all teachers have scheduled office hours. Students are encouraged to make an appointment with a teacher or come during their scheduled office hours. Students can also always make a face-to-face meeting with a teacher, or call, text, email, or Zoom their teachers. There are also on-site faculty members ready to help fix computer problems and answer questions about the online class programs. We also have a counselor here to support students with counseling and college readiness, as well as a social worker for more personal needs.
Q: Can I travel?
A: Yes. Many of our students travel abroad throughout the year for a multitude of reasons. As long as you meet the admissions requirements, you may work from anywhere. However, students are still required to attend New Student Orientation and complete all required district/state testing.
Q: Can I get credit for working?
A: Yes. Students can enroll in our Work Study program to earn credits through working.
Q: When is the lab open?
A: Smedley Learning Center is open Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4pm.
Q: Does the online environment measure up to the traditional learning model?
A: At Denver Online High School, we believe that no student learns in the same way. While some students function better in a traditional model, others flourish in an online environment. Still, some need a mix of both. This is where Denver Online High School excels. We provide flexible online courses but have teachers consistently available for students to meet one-on-one with so that each student gets the personalized attention needed for the most successful combination of online and brick-and-mortar learning environments. We also provide Connection Days and face-to-face credit-earning opportunities at Smedley Learning Center, such as the Art from Ashes poetry workshop, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and a 3D Modeling Course.
Q: Can I work at my own pace?
A: Yes. Students simply need to turn coursework in by the due date that has been assigned to it. See more about this in the below question and answer.
Q: How does attendance work?
A: While teachers will work individually with each student, being flexible to exceptional circumstances (e.g. like health challenges), attendance is measured in three main ways.
- Live online class sessions. Students are expected to be present in their live online class sessions if included in their course. However, if students cannot attend the live class sessions, a make-up assignment will always be available.
- Adequate weekly progress. Students are expected to complete a week’s worth of work (one weekly folder in each course) each week. All coursework (e.g. assignments, quizzes/tests, projects) have suggested due dates to help keep students on track. However, if a student falls behind, he or she can still receive full attendance points for each week after that if they complete enough assignments to fulfill a week’s worth of work, regardless of the deadlines associated to each coursework item. A student can always work ahead, ensured to receive full attendance points as long as each coursework item is completed by its suggested deadline.
- Connection Days/Homerooms. Each student at Denver Online will be in a homeroom course. Students must attend In-Person Connection Days at Smedley Learning Center (9th/10th graders once a week, 11th graders twice a month, 12th graders once a month) or attend the Virtual Connection Days to earn credit for their homeroom course. Students will be assigned by their advisor to participate in the in-person or virtual Connection Days as determined by the student’s schedule and outside (e.g. work, college classes, extracurricular) commitments.
Q: Do students feel isolated doing school online? Don’t they miss out on a lot of important social interaction?
A: Our school motto is DO MORE. Understand that it is not DO LESS. We do not want students to take online courses to simply escape from all social interaction. In fact, we want the opposite. While some students come to our school already actively involved in extracurricular activities, others do not. For the latter students, our school works diligently to connect students with activities, groups, and organizations where they can explore their passions. We work to get students connected with their communities and to give them credit for service learning or work study as applicable. In addition, our school has many other school community activities and outlets. For example, our school provides monthly field trips for students to better connect with one another.
Q: How do you monitor cheating?
A: No institution can ensure 100% that cheating will not take place. For example, students still find ways to cheat in a traditional brick-and-mortar school. However, teachers are constantly reviewing and scoring student work. It does not take long for a teacher to recognize each student’s strengths and weaknesses. Teachers are quickly able to identify if work is turned in that is unusual to the work usually submitted by that student.
Q: How do you ensure students learn and don’t just blaze through their assignments?
A: Our courses are very rigorous, packaging material into a 9 week quarter that is regularly spread throughout an 18 week semester in a traditional school. In this case, students can complete high school credits more efficiently than they would be able to at a traditional school. In addition, our courses are constantly becoming more interactive. All courses utilize Schoology with content driven by our teachers and students. Canned curriculum is not a part of our school design and teachers are constantly modifying content specifically to meet the needs of each student, adding rigor or helping them to better understand a certain topic. If students blaze through a quiz and fail it more than a small amount of times, the Schoology program will not allow the student to continue in that course without a teacher first talking with that student and reopening that specific assignment for the student to complete. This effectively limits the student’s ability to simply guess their way through the assignments without truly understanding the content. While students can move through their coursework at their own pace, sometimes rather quickly if they are committed, we see this as a positive. It allows accelerated students to complete their work without having to wait for others to catch up.
Q: Is there computer training for parents?
A: We realize that the online school environment can sometimes be challenging for parents to adjust to. Therefore, there are two ways parents can overcome this barrier.
- Parent Orientation. We hold a Parent Orientation at the start of every quarter that teaches parents about how to use each of the online programs their students use, how to track their student’s progress and grades, and how best to support online students. This also allows parents to meet one another, interact with faculty from the school, and learn about special opportunities for them and their students to get involved with.
- Computer Training. There is free computer training for parents through Denver Public Schools. These courses help parents learn the basics of using computers, such as checking email, using Word, searching the internet, and other foundational tools to help parents be competent computer users. See the Technology Resources page for more about computer training.