Virtual High School ACADEMICS & EXTRACURRICULARS
Curriculum approach at Virtual High School: Traditional
Virtual High School has a Traditional approach to Curriculum (as opposed to Liberal Arts, Progressive, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf approach).
Traditional curricula tend to be very content-based and rooted in the core disciplines. It is a structured approach that involves the teacher delivering a unified curriculum through direct instruction. Students usually learn by observing and listening to their teacher, studying facts and concepts in textbooks, and completing both tests and written assignments - which challenge students to not only demonstrate their mastery of content but their ability to analyze and deconstruct it critically. Class discussions are also used to create critical dialogue around the content of the curriculum.
Liberal arts - 14%
Progressive - 32%
Montessori - 11%
Reggio Emilia - 0%
Waldorf - 2%
What Virtual High School says about their overall curriculum and approach:
We put students in the driver’s seat. Virtual High School students have the freedom to learn at their own pace with fully online courses that accommodate and respond to individual learner needs. Throughout our courses we encourage students to connect their learning to the world around them. Our teaching methods include instruction through structured lessons and activities; differentiated instruction—text, audio, video, and interactive activities—to meet the diverse learning needs of students; scaffolded instruction to foster independence in the learning process; opportunities to collaborate in discussions with VHS students around the world; and personalized assessments. By giving students plenty of opportunities to think critically and creatively, solve complex problems, and practice effective communication, we aim to educate the whole student and foster digital citizenship.
Pedagogies and subject courses:
Mathematics approach at Virtual High School: Traditional Math[Show: About 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.Mathematics at schools on OurKids.net:  Traditional math - 26%
Discovery math - 5%
Equal balance - 69%
What Virtual High School says:
The VHS Math Department aims to reach all learners by responding to their individual needs. Students have opportunities to learn through text, images, diagrams, and interactive activities. We model problem-solving in detailed examples and offer lots of opportunities to practice with structured exercises. Our formative activities allow students to gain valuable feedback from their teacher before completing graded assignments. Our assessments are not limited to traditional rote math problems. We also include opportunities to develop skills that prepare students for success in post-secondary studies and in the workforce. Students also have opportunities to write papers following the APA format, and create presentations that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of concepts covered in their course.
Textbooks and supplementary materials:
No textbooks or additional materials are required.
Students may use any scientific, non-programmable, non-graphing calculator.
Science approach at Virtual High School: Equal Balance[Show: About 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.Science at schools on OurKids.net:  Equal balance - 70%
Expository - 5%
Inquiry - 25%
Similar to traditional classrooms, our science instructors use a range of strategies and approaches. Clear and concise writing, helpful graphics and diagrams, hands-on laboratory activities, and research assignments with direct instruction and coaching form the foundation of our science courses. Additionally, teachers and students have at their disposal numerous tools that are unique to online learning environments. These include electronic simulation activities, discussion boards and email correspondence, assessments with real-time feedback, and interactive activities that engage both the student and instructor.
Treatment of evolution:
Subject offered Evolution as consensus theory Evolution as one of many equally viable theories Evolution is not taught
Topics covered in curriculum:
Subject offered Biology Chemistry Ecology Geology Meteorology Physics Physiology Zoology
Literature approach at Virtual High School: Traditional[Show: About 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.Literature at schools on OurKids.net:  Traditional - 22%
Social justice - 3%
Equal balance - 75%
What Virtual High School says:
Students in our English courses develop the skills needed to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of a text. Our courses present literature—poetry, short stories, novels, non-fiction, and plays—from a range of cultures and time periods, as well as videos, songs, and other media texts. We aim to help students become stronger readers, writers, and oral communicators while making connections to the world around them.
Humanities and Social SciencesEqual Balance
Humanities and Social Sciences approach at Virtual High School: Equal Balance[Show: About Equal Balance?]
These programs represent an equal balance between the perennialist and pragmatic approach to teaching the humanities and social sciences.Humanities and Social Sciences at schools on OurKids.net:  Equal balance - 81%
Perennialism - 8%
Pragmatism - 11%
What Virtual High School says:
Students in our humanities and social science courses are exposed to a variety of disciplinary traditions, including history, geography, politics, philosophy, religion, anthropology, sociology, and psychology. By analyzing foundational texts, historical artefacts, and social relationships, students develop cultural literacy and an understanding of the human condition. We aim to teach students critical thinking and persuasion skills and, equally importantly, how to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world contexts.
Foreign Languages approach at Virtual High School: Communicative[Show: About 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.Foreign Languages at schools on OurKids.net:  Communicative - 34%
Audio-lingual - 3%
Equal balance - 63%
What Virtual High School says:
Our French courses present French language structures in engaging communicative contexts (listening, reading, speaking, and writing). Students have the opportunity to practice these skills and build their confidence in a safe environment, before any formal assessment. Teachers in our French courses support learners by providing timely, detailed, clear feedback based on individual needs.
Fine ArtsEqual Balance
Fine Arts approach at Virtual High School: Equal Balance[Show: About Equal Balance?]
These programs have an equal emphasis on receptive and creative learning.Fine Arts at schools on OurKids.net:  Equal balance - 65%
Receptive - 2%
Creative - 33%
Subject offered Acting Dance Drama/Theatre Graphic Design Music Visual Arts
Visual studio philosophy:
What Virtual High School says:
Students in our art courses develop their creative skills as they learn and apply the concepts, styles, and conventions of various forms of fine art. This is accomplished through the appreciation, analysis, and performance of different artistic mediums in a range of creative disciplines, including drama, music, and visual arts. We encourage students to springboard from their interests and personality when approaching coursework and assessments. Our aim is for students to build knowledge and develop creative skills in the arts that reflect and further cultivate their personal skills, social awareness, and goals beyond school.
Computers and TechnologyHeavy integration
Computers and Technology approach at Virtual High School: Heavy integration[Show: About 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.Computers and Technology at schools on OurKids.net:  Heavy integration - 31%
Light integration - 17%
Medium integration - 52%
What Virtual High School says:
Because our courses are completed entirely online, VHS students are constantly developing and practicing the digital skills needed to thrive in a rapidly evolving world.
Subject offered Computer science Robotics Web design
What Virtual High School says:
Online physical education gives students the flexibility to not only work through the course in whatever order they prefer, but it also allows them to choose activities for assessments that best fit their individual skills and comfort level. Students demonstrate their understanding and abilities through a variety of assessment opportunities. When it comes to the physical part of online physical education, activity-specific skills and strategies are supported by video instruction. Students see the movements of a skill or activity prior to participation, and then submit a video of themselves performing it for assessment and feedback. Additionally, through the use of case studies and self-reflection, students learn to think creatively and critically about a number of issues related to healthy and active living.
Advanced Placement coursesThis information is not currently available.
Sex and health educationOntario curriculum
Sex and health education approach at Virtual High School: Ontario curriculum
Virtual High School has an Ontario curriculum approach to Sex and health education (as opposed to Does not follow prrovincialcurriculum approach).[Show: About Ontario curriculum?]
The structure, pacing, focus, and tone of the sex education curriculum reflects that of the provincial one, taught in public schools.Sex and health education at schools on OurKids.net:  Follows provincial curriculum - 60%
Does not follow prrovincial curriculum - 40%
Approach to sex and health education:Virtual High School has a approach Mostly value-neutral (as opposed to Fairly value-based approach).[Show: About Mostly value-neutral?]
By and large, students are taught about sex free of any particular moral or ethical standpoint. The school doesn't impose any particular values or value systems (such as social, political, or ideological values) on students when teaching sex and related issues.
What Virtual High School says:
Our courses approach sex and health education 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.
Learn about Virtual High School's languages of instruction and enrolment.
Virtual High School offers English as the primary language of instruction.
Language of enrolment include: English, French
Virtual High School's online learning approach and offerings. Learn about this school's online programs and courses offered, its course formats, and its teaching and learning approaches.
Virtual High School operates as an online school.
What Virtual High School says about their course flexibility:
Virtual High School has an ongoing enrolment process, which means that students may enrol any day of the year and begin their course(s) within 24 hours of registration. Students have up to 18 months in which to complete their courses and are able to proceed through their course content as quickly or as slowly as they desire. There are no set schedules or due dates to follow—students decide when to hand in their assignments and when to take their tests to meet any personal deadlines they might have. VHS courses are text- and image-based with interactive components like pre-recorded supplementary videos to illustrate a concept, so there are no live lectures for students to attend. This model allows students to work at their own pace and create their own schedules.
What Virtual High School says about their course format:
Distance: Virtual High School offers an asynchronous course content model that does not rely on virtual lectures or face-to-face teaching. VHS teachers are available to support their students via the school email system and online gradebook for questions, clarification, prompt grading, and detailed feedback. Additional academic assistance is provided by an in-house student support team at no extra cost. Students are welcome to start live chats or arrange virtual meetings with Student Academic Support (SAS) coaches. Both the teachers and SAS coaches are easily accessible within the secure learning environment.
Academic support and services
|Dedicated teacher per course|
|Student progress tracker|
|Regular office hours|
|Special needs support|
What Virtual High School says about their academic support and services:
Dedicated teacher per course: A fully qualified teacher works with students in each course. Virtual High School teachers are certified by the Ontario College of Teachers or its equivalent. Teachers are trained to educate in an online environment and are available to assist students throughout each course. Students receive individualized attention from their teachers and have any questions answered on a daily basis. All assessment feedback and grades are returned to students within 5 days of submission in the standard course offerings and within 2 days in the Fast Track course offerings.
Exam proctoring: All exams at Virtual High School are closed book and must be completed online under the supervision of an appropriate proctor. In-person proctoring can be organized by each student so long as their selected proctor meets the approval criteria. The dedicated exams team at VHS is happy to assist students with finding suitable proctors in their local areas, and students are always welcome to write their exams at the VHS administrative building in Bayfield, Ontario if necessary. VHS is also partnered with Examity, an online proctoring option that allows students to schedule and write their exams at any time.
Student progress tracker: Course content is housed in the Brightspace learning environment by D2L, so students can easily determine where they have left off each day in their coursework. Assessments are submitted instantly to the online dropbox through Brightspace, so no emailing is required. Quizzes, tests, and the final exam are completed online through a dedicated tab in the learning environment. Students are able to view their current average grades and individual assignment marks at any time in their online gradebook. All feedback and interaction with teachers occurs via email, within the dropbox space, and within the gradebook.
Regular office hours: The administrative team is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (ET) via telephone, email, or live chat to answer any questions about enrolment, reporting, exams, prerequisites, and any other administrative items. Students will primarily communicate with their teachers through email within the learning environment. VHS teachers are encouraged to log in daily to respond to emails and address inquiries. Other modes of communication with teachers, such as phone calls or video conferencing, may be arranged upon request and at the teacher’s discretion.
Additional support: Academic assistance is provided by an in-house support team for students who have additional questions about their topic of study. Educators are available for all subject areas offered by Virtual High School, and the service is easily accessible within the secure learning environment. When a student needs assistance, they can simply type a question in the chat box to begin a live discussion with a Student Academic Support (SAS) coach. Students can upload files or images of their assignments into the chat box to help explain their questions. SAS coaches are also available for scheduled virtual meetings with students.
Special needs support: Virtual High School will implement applicable assessment accommodations as outlined in a child’s Individual Education Plan where possible. Accommodations may include reducing the workload, simplifying tasks and material, and providing more time for learning and completing activities. VHS’s educational model naturally provides accommodations to all students by affording them the ability to work at their own pace. VHS courses offer ReadSpeaker, which is a tool that reads the text on the page out loud and highlights the words that are being spoken. Students are welcome to use assistive technologies that they have access to and with which they are familiar.
Curriculum Pace Student-paced
Curriculum Pace approach at Virtual High School: Student-paced
Virtual High School has a Student-paced approach to Curriculum Pace (as opposed to Standard-enriched, Accelerated approach).
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.
Standard-enriched - 59%
Accelerated - 18%
What Virtual High School says about their curriculum pace:
Students may begin their course anytime and work at their own pace. With round-the-clock access to course content, Virtual High School students choose when and where to access their course, when to write open-book tests, when to submit assignments, and when to write the online, proctored final exam.
Flexible pacing style
|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|
What Virtual High School says about their flexible pacing:
Our courses are fully online. No textbooks or additional materials are required. All courses include an optional pacing tool for students who wish to set deadlines for themselves, structure their time, and pace their studies and learning accordingly.
Academic Culture Supportive
Academic Culture approach at Virtual High School: Supportive
Virtual High School has a Supportive approach to Academic Culture (as opposed to Rigorous approach).
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.
Rigorous - 51%
What Virtual High School says about their academic culture:
We think every student should have the opportunity to succeed. Virtual High School students are supported by a team of real people determined to help them meet their academic goals. We work with each student to meet their personal goals and deadlines. With prompt feedback and grading, free online tutoring, and the ongoing support from our administrative and guidance teams, our students enjoy a smooth road to academic success.
Developmental priorities Balanced
Primary Developmental Priority: Balanced
Equal emphasis is placed on a balance of priorities: intellectual, emotional, social and physical cultivation.
What Virtual High School says about their developmental priorities:
At Virtual High School, we encourage and inspire a culture of responsibility, respect, integrity, and perseverance. These are the pillars of our learning community, the qualities we expect of our students, teachers, and staff alike. Additionally, we champion the importance of mental health, and the need to create healthy and inclusive communities both online and offline.
Special needs support
What Virtual High School says about their special need support:
VHS can implement Individual Education Plans (IEPs). An IEP is a document that outlines a student’s strengths, weaknesses, learning needs, and any accommodations to be made within a course. We implement any accommodations listed in an existing IEP that apply to our learning environment. Accommodations may include a reduced workload, simplified tasks and materials, or more time for learning and completing activities. Exam and test accommodations may include, but are not limited to, extra time to write an exam or test, the ability to scribe answers or read questions, memory aids for exams, breaks during exams, and no marks deducted for spelling. The assistance of other persons and the use of specialized equipment may also be required to accommodate the needs of the student.
Learning disabilitiesDyslexia (Language-Based Learning Disability)This is a learning disability that can limit a child's ability to read and learn. It can have a variety of traits. A few of the main ones are impaired phonological awareness and decoding, problems with orthographic coding, and auditory short-term memory impairment.Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)This is a sound differentiation disorder involving problems with reading, comprehension, and language.DyscalculiaThis is a kind of specific learning disability in math. Kids with this math disorder have problems with calculation. They may also have problems with math-related concepts such as time and money.DysgraphiaThis is a kind of specific learning disability in writing. It involves problems with handwriting, spelling, and organizing ideas.Language Processing DisorderThis is characterized by having extreme difficulty understanding what is heard and expressing what one wants to say. These disorders affect the area of the brain that controls language processing.Nonverbal Learning Disorders (NLD)These involve difficulties interpreting non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They're usually characterized by a significant discrepancy between higher verbal skills and weaker motor, visual-spatial, and social skills.Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor DeficitA characteristic seen in people with learning disabilities such as Dysgraphia or Non-verbal LD. It can result in missing subtle differences in shapes or printed letters, losing place frequently, struggles with cutting, holding pencil too tightly, or poor eye/hand coordination.
DevelopmentalAutismRefers to a range of conditions that involve challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, and speech and nonverbal communication. They also involve unique strengths and differences. For instance, there are persons with both low- and high-functioning autism (some claim the latter is identical to Asperger's syndrome).Asperger's SyndromeOn the autism spectrum, Asperger's is considered quite mild in terms of symptoms. While traits can vary widely, many kids with Asperger's struggle with social skills. They also sometimes fixate on certain subjects and engage in repetitive behaviour.Down syndromehis is associated with impairment of cognitive ability and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics.Intellectual disabilityThis is a condition characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (e.g., reasoning, learning, and problem solving). Intellectual disabilities are also known as general learning disabilities (and used to be referred to as a kind of mental retardation).Williams syndromeFetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. These may include growth deficits, facial anomalies, and damage to the central nervous system, which can lead to cognitive, behavioural, and other problems.
Behavioral and EmotionalTroubled behaviour / troubled teensroubled teens tend to have problems that are intense, persistent, and can lead to quite unpredictable behaviour. This can lead to behavioural and emotional issues, such as drug and alcohol abuse, criminal behaviour, eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.Clinical DepressionThis is a mental health disorder also called "major depression." It involves persistent feelings of sadness, loss, and anger. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms are usually severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in daily activities, such as school, work, or one's social life.Clinical anxietyThis is a mood disorder involving intense, relentless feelings of distress and fear. They can also have excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations, and repeated episodes of intense anxiety or terror.Suicidal thoughtsThis involves persistent thoughts about ending one's life.Drug and alcohol abuseThis involves the excessive use of drug and/or alcohol, which interferes with daily functioning.Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)This is a disruptive behavioural disorder which normally involves angry outbursts, often directed at people of authority. This behaviour must last continuously for six months or more and significantly interfere with daily functioning.
PhysicalMultiple sclerosisThis is a condition of the central nervous system. It affects the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. Symptoms can include fatigue, loss of motor control, memory loss, depression, and cognitive difficulties.Cerebral palsyhis refers to a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture.Muscular dystrophyMuscular dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder which weakens the body's muscles. Causes, symptoms, age of onset, and prognosis vary between individuals.Spina BifidaThis is a condition present at birth due to the incomplete formation of the spine and spinal cord. It can lead to a number of physical challenges, including paralysis or weakness in the legs, bowel and bladder incontinence, hydrocephalus (too much fluid in the brain), and deformities of the spine.Dyspraxia (Developmental Coordination Disorder)This is a Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Also known as "sensory integration disorder," it affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech.BlindnessVisual impairment is a decreased ability or inability to see that can't be fixed in usual ways, such as with glasses. Some people are completely blind, while others have what's called "legal blindness."DeafnessHearing impairment, also known as "hearing loss," is a partial or total inability to hear. The degree of hearing impairment varies between people. It can range from complete hearing loss (or deafness) to partial hearing loss (meaning the ears can pick up some sounds).Cystic FibrosisCystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition, which affects the body's respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It affects young children and adults.Multiple physicalAccommodating a wide range of physical conditions and disabilities.
Read our guide to special needs schools and special education
|Learning strategy and study counselling; habit formation|
|Extra support and minor accommodations for children experiencing subclinical difficulties|
Mild but clinically diagnosed learning disabilities
What Virtual High School says:
Whether a student has a clinically diagnosed learning disability or develops learning difficulties while enrolled at VHS, we can accommodate and respond to their individual needs. With self-paced courses, round-the-clock access to course content, and 18 months to finish, VHS students have the freedom to take as much time as they need to review content, take notes, and practice retention. Our courses present content a number of ways (text, audio, images, video, interactive activities) and include a built-in screen reader. When it comes to assessments, students may choose how they present their ideas (e.g. write a paper, give an oral presentation, create a visual). Additionally, we make accommodations for students who use assistive technologies in their learning.
|Social skills programs|
Gifted learner support In-class adaptations
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).
|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 about their gifted learner support:
This information is not currently available.
Report Card Policy
How assessments are delivered across the grades
|Lettered or numbered grades||Gr. 9 to Gr. 12|
|Prose (narrative)-based feedback||Gr. 9 to Gr. 12|
|Academic achievement reporting||Gr. 9 to Gr. 12|
While academics remain the priority for most private schools, many also place a strong focus on a well-rounded education and encourage participation in extracurricular activities such as sports, music, arts, or clubs. Involvement in extracurriculars helps stimulate students in their studies, makes them more motivated to learn, and can make school more enjoyable and fulfilling. Extracurricular activities can also provide students with a much-needed break from the stresses of academics, while helping them to develop skills and allowing them to take part in valuable social situations.
Virtual High School offers 0 competitive sports and 0 recreational sports.
Virtual High School clubs and programs information not available.
THE OUR KIDS REPORT: Virtual High School
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