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Virtual High School

27 Main Street North, Box 402, Bayfield, Ontario, N0M 1G0

Grades (Gender):
Gr. 9 to Gr. 12 (Coed)
$449 to 579/course
Main Language:
Avg. Class Size:
Day: 6,000 (Gr. 9 - 12)

School Address
27 Main Street North, Box 402, Bayfield, Ontario, N0M 1G0



About this school:


Virtual High School is an online private school offering OSSD credit courses to Ontario students as well as students from other provinces and countries. Students may begin their course on any day and progress through at their own pace by choosing when to write tests, when to submit assignments, and when to write the proctored final exam. There are no textbooks required. VHS offers the highest quality online education and the best in online teaching by following a unique, student-centered approach to learning.

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Our Take: Virtual High School

our take

There are many things that online instruction can offer that other schools simply can’t, including distance learning and remediation. Stephen Baker began developing the concept of the Virtual High School in 1995 with that in mind, and VHS gained accreditation in 2002. While there are some students who require structure and routine in order to thrive and succeed in their course work, and the VHS is, in some very real senses, for the opposite type of student: one who is self-starting and prone to managing their time efficiently and effectively. Courses can be started at any point, and students are able to work through the material at their own pace. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities for interaction and collaboration with other students and instructors. At the end of the day, it’s a unique approach, and it has proven itself with a range of learners to a range of academic purposes.

Principal's Message


Stephen Baker, Principal, Founder and CEO

The idea of Virtual High School started in 1995 when I began exploring the concept of offering courses over the Internet. This idea, relatively unheard of at the time, forged an insightful partnership among teachers, curriculum writers, content developers, and school administrators that resulted in offering the first fully online high school course in Canada in the spring of 1996. The initiative continued to develop and diversify along new and exciting paths over the next five years. On March 4, 2002, the Ontario Ministry of Education issued the BSID number 665681 to Virtual High School, designating it as a Ministry inspected private school with the ability to issue Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) credits.

Virtual High School is rooted in the philosophy that education should be flexible and centered on the individual student. As a result, our students can start their fully online course on any day of the year, move through the course content at their own pace, and write their final exam online on a day of their choosing. In addition to our engaging course content, our qualified teachers, caring student services staff, and efficient school administration team all contribute to the positive student experience at Virtual High School.

I hope you enjoy learning about our unique school and exceptional students.


Curriculum Traditional

Primary Curriculum: Traditional

What Virtual High School says: Virtual High School emphasizes that students actively inquire into and make connections between ideas and subject areas. A variety of teaching methods will be used including; direct instruction via structured lessons and activities, differentiated instruction to meet the diverse learning needs of students, scaffolded instruction to promote greater independence in the learning process, opportunities to collaboratively construct knowledge through discussions and reflection, and personalized and comprehensive assessments. We focus on educating the whole student and cultivating digital citizens by giving students opportunities to think critically and creatively, solve complex problems, and communicate well.

  • Approach:

  • Pedagogies and subject courses:

  • Mathematics Traditional Math

      Traditional Math typically teaches a method or algorithm FIRST, and THEN teaches the applications for the method. Traditional algorithms are emphasized and practiced regularly: repetition and drills are frequently used to ensure foundational mastery in the underlying mathematical procedures. The traditional approach to math views math education as akin to building a logical edifice: each brick depends on the support of the previously laid ones, which represent mastery over a particular procedure or method. Traditional Math begins by giving students a tool, and then challenges students to practice using that tool an applied way, with progressively challenging problems. In this sense Traditional Math aims to establish procedural understanding before conceptual and applied understanding.
      Learn about the different mathematics approaches  

    • What Virtual High School says: The Virtual High School Math department strives to reach all learners by incorporating a variety of resources for students to learn from. Along with text, students also have the opportunity to learn from videos written and developed by our multimedia team, as well as images, diagrams, and interactive activities. We model problem solving with a variety of detailed examples and offer opportunities to practice with our exercises. Our team has developed many formative activities, which allow the student to gain valuable feedback from the teacher before completing the graded assessments.\nOur assessments aren\'t limited to the traditional rote math problems. We also incorporate opportunities for students to develop skills that will allow them to be successful in post-secondary studies and in the work force. Students will have opportunities to write papers following the APA format, as well as create presentations to demonstrate their understanding of concepts taught within the course.

    • Textbooks and supplementary materials: No additional textbooks or supplementary materials are required.

    • Calculator policy: Students may use any scientific, non-programmable, non-graphing calculator.

    Science Equal Balance

      Science programs that balance expository and inquiry learning equally will likely have an equal blend of tests and experiments; direct, textbook-based instruction and student-centred projects.
      Learn about the different science approaches  

    • Teaching approach: This information is not currently available.

    • Topics covered in curriculum:

      Subject = offered
    • Treatment of evolution:

      Evolution as consensus theory
      Evolution as one of many equally viable theories
      Evolution is not taught

    Literature Traditional

      In traditional literature programs students focus on decoding the mechanics of texts: plot, characterization, and themes. These texts tend to include a balance of contemporary and “classic” literature. When studying a past work, students investigate its historical context -- but only insofar as this adds understanding to the work itself. Past works are therefore studied “on their own terms”, and not merely as historical artifacts to be deconstructed: traditional literature programs are firmly rooted in the humanities, and carry the belief that great literature can reveal fundamental and universal truths about the human condition. These programs emphasize class discussions and critical essay writing, and aim to develop in students critical thinking, communication skills, and a cultivated taste and ethos.
      Learn about the different literature approaches  

    • What Virtual High School says: Students are exposed to a variety of genres throughout the course and develop skills to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of texts which may include poems, short stories, novels, non-fiction texts, plays, videos, and songs or other media texts from a wide range of cultures and time periods. Students identify and use various strategies including building vocabulary, learning to understand and use features and organization of texts, and developing knowledge of conventions. Throughout the course, students develop into stronger readers, writers, and oral communicators while making connections to the workplace and international events.

    Humanities and Social Sciences Equal Balance

      These programs represent an equal balance between the perennialist and pragmatic approach to teaching the humanities and social sciences.
      Learn about the different humanities and social sciences approaches  

    • What Virtual High School says: In the humanities and social sciences, students are exposed to a variety of disciplinary traditions, including history, geography, politics philosophy, religion, anthropology, sociology, and psychology in a wide variety of courses. Students develop cultural literacy and an understanding of the human condition by analyzing foundational texts, historical artefacts, and social relationships. The key goals of the program are to teaching students critical thinking and persuasion skills, but most importantly, an ability to apply this knowledge and skill to real-world contexts.

    Foreign Languages Communicative

      The communicative method of language acquisition emphasizes the use of the target language in authentic contexts. The approach commonly features interactive group work, games, authentic texts, and opportunities to learn about the cultural background of the language. Drills and quizzes may still be used, but less frequently than with the audio-lingual method.
      Learn about the different foreign languages approaches  

    • What Virtual High School says: This French as a Second Language course has been designed to present French language structures in engaging communicative contexts (listening, reading, speaking, and writing.) Students are supported to practice these skills in a risk-free environment, and to build confidence, before any formal assessment occurs. The teacher of the course will support individual learners\' needs by providing timely, detailed, clear, feedback.

    • Languages Offered: • French • ESL

    Fine Arts Equal Balance

      These programs have an equal emphasis on receptive and creative learning.
      Learn about the different fine arts approaches  

    • Program offers:

      Subject = offered
      Graphic Design
      Visual Arts
    • Visual studio philosophy:

    • What Virtual High School says: Through drama, music, and visual arts, students develop creativity as they learn and apply concepts, styles, and conventions unique to the various forms of fine art. Students enhance their personal creativity through the creation, appreciation, analysis, and performance of different artistic mediums. The key goal of the fine arts program is to build knowledge and develop skills in drama, music, and visual arts that reflect and cultivate students’ personal skills, social awareness, and goals beyond school.

    Computers and Technology Heavy integration

      A major effort is made to integrate the development of digital literacy throughout the curriculum and in everything students do. Digital literacy is understood to be a fundamental skill in the 21st century: it therefore follows, the idea goes, that teachers should find ways to connect every lesson back to technology. Effort is made to ensure the use of technology is meaningful and advances students’ skills beyond what they would otherwise be from using computers outside the classroom.
      Learn about the different computers and technology approaches  

    • What Virtual High School says: All courses are completed online, exposing students to digital skills in every aspect of our courses.

    • Program covers:

      Subject = offered
      Computer science
      Web design

    Physical Education
    • What Virtual High School says: This information is not currently available.

    Sex and Health Education Ontario curriculum
    Topics covered in sex and health education: This information is not currently available.

    What Virtual High School says: Additional topics include influences on sexuality and being sexually active.

    Mostly value-neutral

    By and large, we teach sex education free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. We try not to impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on our students when teaching sex and related issues.

    Fairly value-based

    Sex education is sometimes taught from a particular moral or ethical standpoint. Sometimes particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) are invoked when teaching sex and related issues.


    This includes a range of positions. A traditional approach might, for example, go as far as emphasizing the nuclear family and complete abstinence from sex before marriage. Alternatively, this approach might simply involve placing less emphasis on sex outside of the context of marriage and more emphasis on abstinence. Or finally, it might just involve focusing less on sex outside of the context of marriage.


    This might mean more emphasis is placed on the importance of such things as social equality, diversity, and choice in sex education.

    What Virtual High School says: Our courses approach the material from the perspective that each person goes through a series of distinct developmental stages at their own pace and that sexuality is more than being male or female, it is part of a person and their interactions with others. Healthy sexuality develops over time and everyone develops their own unique sexual identity. As children become adults, they continue to learn how to interact with others through socially appropriate behaviours. They develop their understanding of values, the understanding of a healthy body image, reproduction, and peer pressure. Sexuality is the developmental knowledge and behaviour in the areas of physical, emotional, social, and moral categories as they relate to gender.

    Curriculum Pace Student-paced

    • Standard-enriched
    • Accelerated
    • Student-paced

    The main curriculum pace is non-standardized and is HIGHLY responsive to the pacing of individual students, (via differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, etc). In theory, some students outpace the default/normalized curriculum, while others spend periods "behind schedule" if they need the extra time.

    Flexible pacing:

    Flexible pacing style = offered
    Subject-streaming (tracking)
    Multi-age classrooms as standard
    Ability-grouping (in-class) as common
    Frequent use of cyber-learning (at-their-own-pace)
    Regular guided independent study opportunities
    Differentiated assessment

    What Virtual High School says about flexible pacing: All VHS courses are fully online. There are no additional textbooks or materials required.

    Academic Culture Supportive

    • Rigorous
    • Supportive

    A school with a “supportive” academic culture focuses more on process than short-term outcomes: academic performance is a welcomed side-benefit, but not the driving focus. This does not mean the school lacks standards, or has low expectations for its students: a school can have a supportive academic culture and still light the fire of ambition in its students. It does mean, however, the school provides a less intensive culture than schools with a “rigorous” academic classification, and is focused more simply on instilling a love of learning and life-long curiosity.

    What Virtual High School says: This information is not currently available.

    Developmental Priorities Balanced

    Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
    Equal attention is paid to a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social, and physical.

    What Virtual High School says: This information is not currently available.

    Special Needs Support No support

    No support

    Virtual High School offers no/limited support for students with learning difficulties or special needs.

    • Academic Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation
      Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties
    • Mild but clinically diagnosed ADHD
      Support Type = offered
      Extra support
    • What Virtual High School says: This information is not currently available.

    • Support for moderate-to-severe special needs:
      Special needs
      ADHD (moderate to severe)
      Learning disabilities
      Dyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)
      Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
      Language Processing Disorder
      Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)
      Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit
      Asperger's Syndrome
      Down syndrome
      Intellectual disability
      Williams syndrome
      Behavioral and Emotional
      Troubled behaviour / troubled teens
      Clinical Depression
      Clinical anxiety
      Suicidal thoughts
      Drug and alcohol abuse
      Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
      Multiple sclerosis
      Cerebral palsy
      Muscular dystrophy
      Spina Bifida
      Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)
      Cystic Fibrosis
      Multiple physical
    • Forms of support delivery:
      Support Type = offered
      A regular class with indirect support
      A regular class with resource assistance
      A regular class with withdrawal assistance
      A special education class with partial integration
      A full-time special education class
    • Additional Support:
      Support Type = offered
      Social skills programs
      Occupational therapy
      Speech-language therapy

    Gifted Learner Support In-class adaptations

    Dedicated gifted programs:

    Program = offered
    Full-time gifted program (parallel to rest of school)
    Part-time gifted program (pull-out; parallel to rest of class)

    Curriculum delivery: Acceleration (The main focus is on acceleration. This means that all students work at a much quicker pace than public school peers (usually working at least one grade-level ahead). )

    In-class adaptations:
    Practice = offered
    Custom subject enrichment (special arrangement)
    Custom curriculum compacting (special arrangement)
    Guided independent study (custom gifted arrangement)
    Cyber-learning opportunities (custom gifted arrangement)
    Formalized peer coaching opportunities (specifically for gifted learners to coach others)
    Custom subject acceleration (special arrangement)
    Career exploration (custom gifted arrangement)
    Project-based learning (custom gifted arrangement)
    Mentorships (custom gifted arrangement)

    What Virtual High School says: This information is not currently available.

    Gifted education: If you want to learn more about gifted education, check out our comprehensive guide. It’s the first of its kind: it covers different kinds of gifted schools and programs, and a whole host of issues parents face in finding the right option for their gifted child.

    Class Sizes Not available

    This information is not currently available.


    What Virtual High School says:

    This information is not currently available.

    • Sports OfferedCompetitiveRecreational
      Ice Hockey
      Track & Field
    • Clubs offered: None

    Tuition & Financial Aid


    Day$449 / course$499 / course$549 / course$579 / course
    What Virtual High School says: The tuition fee includes all material required for the course — no textbooks are required.

    Need-based financial aid

    Grade range that need-based aid is offered: 9 to 12
    Percentage of grade-eligible students receiving financial aid1%
    Average aid package size$579
    Percentage of total enrollment on financial aid1%
    Total aid available$3,500

    Application Deadline:
    Rolling deadline

    More information:

    Application Details:

    The goal of the John Smallwood Bursary Program is to provide enrollment subsidies to economically disadvantaged students by ensuring that they have access to high-quality online education as they work to achieve their academic goals. Complete applications include the application form, the parent(s)'s most recent notice(s) of assessment, and an up-to-date high school transcript.

    Merit based Scholarships

    This information is not currently available.


    Total enrollment 6,000
    Average enrollment per grade1500
    Average class sizeVaries
    Gender (grades)Gr. 9 to Gr. 12 (Coed)
    Boarding offeredNo

    Student distribution: This information is not currently available.



    Admissions Assessments:

    Assessment = requiredGrades
    SSAT (out of province)
    Entrance Exam(s)
    Entrance Essay
    Application Fee 

    Application Deadlines:

    Day students:

    What Virtual High School says:

    There are no admissions requirements, though students will be required to proof of the successful completion of a prerequisite course or equivalent, if applicable.


    Acceptance Rate:


    Type of student Virtual High School is looking for: Everyone is eligible and welcome to take courses with Virtual High School, an institution that reflects the diversity and complexity of education in the twenty-first century. At VHS, students choose when to come to class, when to study, when to submit assignments, and when to write tests and the final exam. This requires that students take personal responsibility to for managing their own education, in addition to furthering the development of their own digital skills. Taking courses at VHS instills independence, maturity, and self-motivation in students, all of which are invaluable skills that will be beneficial in further studies and employment.

    Student Entry Points

    Student Type9101112
    Day Acceptance
    (Acceptance rate)

    University Placement

    Services = offered
    Career planning
    Mentorship Program
    University counseling
    Key Numbers
    Average graduating class sizeN/A
    *Canadian "Big 6" placementsN/A
    **Ivy+ placementsN/A

    *Number of students in 2015 who attended one of McGill, U of T, UBC, Queen's University, University of Alberta, or Dalhousie University.

    **Number of students since 2005 that attended one of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, University of Chicago, Oxford or Cambridge (UK)

    In the News


    November 14, 2017 - Run4Kids 2017 Recap

    Over 120 runners/walkers, over 35 volunteers, and many spectators joined us in Bayfield to support Aiden who has a cardiac condition. ...

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