New Findings Released Show Why Oklahoma Families Choose Virtual Charter Schools

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OKLAHOMA CITY – New study results find the most important factors motivating Oklahoma families to enroll a student in a virtual charter school are the particular learning needs of the student, followed by a medical need of the student or family member. An independent study conducted by a national consulting firm that specializes in community-based research and planning, Thomas P. Miller and Associates, was commissioned by the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board (SVCSB) to provide a nonpartisan study focused on determining the reasons families choose to enroll, the benefits families perceive to gain and the challenges are for the families with students enrolled in virtual charter schools across the state.

With more than 12,000 students enrolled in one of Oklahoma’s four virtual charter schools, less than 2 percent of the state’s public school enrollment, these schools offer full-time public education options delivering instruction through an online format. Parents and/or guardians from all four virtual charter schools, including Epic Charter School, Insight School of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Connections Academy and Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy, participated in this first-time study for the state agency, through a survey and individual interviews.

“The findings of the comprehensive report may allow schools to make research-informed decisions about the support students and families need to be successful in their educational journey,” SVCSB Executive Director Rebecca L. Wilkinson said.

Additional findings included:

Bullying or threats from classmates at other schools was commonly cited (40.6 percent of respondents) as motivation for enrolling in a virtual charter school
Benefits of enrolling were that virtual schools provide a flexible schedule and a learning format that works better for the student
Challenges of virtual education cited most often included a lack of social opportunities in virtual charter schools, issues with technology and struggles with self-discipline and motivation

The in-depth findings from the report were presented to the SVCSB in a public board meeting at 2 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. A full report will be made available at the SVCSB website in early 2018.

About Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board (SVCSB)

The SVCSB was created via Oklahoma state statute to have sole authority to authorize and sponsor statewide virtual charter schools in this state. For more information on the board, visit: http://svcsb.ok.gov/

About Thomas P. Miller and Associates (TPMA)

TPMA is a full-service consulting firm, empowering organizations and communities through strategic partnerships and informed solutions to create positive, sustainable change. For more information about TPMA, visit: https://www.tpma-inc.com/

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