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Tuition-Free Online High Schools for California Students

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Tuition-free online high schools are usually public high schools or online charter schools funded by the government but run by private organizations.

In some states, free online high schools might be operated directly by a local school district or a state office, such as the Department of Education.

Today, many states allow students to receive education online for free. And in California, there have been a lot of tuition-free or no-cost online high schools since 2008. Facing with so many options, you might find it difficult to pick out the one that meets your individual needs. Well, this article recommends a couple of accredited & tuition-free online high schools for California students, take a look.

I. CALPAC – California Pacific Charter Schools

Funded by the state of California, CalPac can provide high quality middle school & high school education for free. For anyone seeking for a flexible and accredited online program, it can be a wonderful choice. CalPac serves 26 counties across Northern and Southern California, and each California Pacific Charter School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Understanding the importance of a supportive, interactive and well-round education, CalPac offers 15 middle school courses and over 45 high school courses, all of which are aligned to California content standards and taught by California credentialed teachers.

CalPac’s basic curriculums include English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies/History, etc. A wide selection of electives reflecting various interests are also provided, including Art History, Spanish 1-4, Digital Art, Computer Applications, Idea Writing, Healthy Living and Physical Education, and so on.

The best part is that the schools also have a series of uniquely designed student-centered curriculums which can benefit students from all walks of life and all learning levels, such as visual learners, auditory learners and linguistic learners.

CalPac doesn’t have strict admission requirements, so it’s quite easy to enroll in a high school program. However, students are required to adhere to some general guidelines to ensure successful completion of courses:

– Login and attend at least one class every school day (From Monday to Friday);

– Complete your homework for all classes every week;

– Attend at least two Live Sessions per course per month (Live Sessions are likely to help you do better in your courses and will be provided on a set schedule);

– Write a description in the Activity Log every day to summarize what you did and learnt;

– Attend California state testing in person at designated testing sites.

Note: Each high school student in California must take state testing at one of the pre-arranged locations. Testing site might vary by year, so you’d better check CalPac’s website for the latest info. The dates for administration of state testing will be on the calendar at the beginning of each school year.

In addition, CalPac requires students to meet all of the graduation requirements to obtain their diploma. Basically, you have to:

– Pass the English and Math portion of the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam);

– Get 80 credits through electives;

– Complete all these courses and obtain 140 credits on: English, Mathematics, Life Science, Physical Science, World History, American History, American Government, Economics, Visual/Performing Art or Foreign Language and Physical Education.

II. Golden State Virtual Academy (GSVA)

Formerly known as Mt. Whitney Virtual Academy, GSVA serves students in Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Mono, San Bernardino and Tulare counties. This tuition-free online high school combines academic rigor, flexibility, and a strong support network to ensure you an enjoyable and successful experience.

Unlike CalPac which serves both middle and high school students, Golden State only offers curriculums for students in grades 9-12. Thanks to its ongoing enrollment periods, you will be able to participate in your favorite courses and programs at any time during the school year. Just remember to check the school’s class calendar to see when the next available class block is.

Golden State delivers a well-supported education and all the courses are aligned to meet California’s as well as national standards. More importantly, the school uses a multimedia-based format to make learning more enjoyable.

A comprehensive set of college-preparatory courses are offered to cover all the required subjects in Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, and P.E. There are also a wide range of electives for students to choose from, including Graphic Design, Career Education, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Psychology, Sociology, etc.

Better still, GSVA offers numerous opportunities for students to take part in daily activities, such as simulations, classroom discussions, reading assignments and games which can help you review concepts and vocabulary.

All courses are free and available to California students in grades 9-12 and up to 21 years of age. Enrollment is easy and quick. Simply complete an online application, fax your records and submit a Records Request Form to your previous high school. Once GSVA receives your documentation, the school will send you a confirmation email and process your documents within 3-5 business days.

GSVA also has a series of regulations regarding attendance. For instance, each student

– Has to log into their classes every school day;

– Must be in attendance a minimum of 25 hours per week;

– Should submit 5 lessons per course each week.

Once you’ve completed all the required courses successfully, you will graduate with an accredited California high school diploma. However, there is one thing worth your attention – GSVA is not an accredited online high school at present. It is currently seeking for accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). To date, it has met or exceeded all the requirements for accreditation and will become an official candidate for WASC accreditation once the first semester ends.

III. Insight School of California – Los Angeles

Insight Schools operate a network of accredited and tuition-free online high school diploma programs for students in Northern & Southern California, Colorado, Kansas, Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, Wisconsin and Idaho.

For those residing in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Kern County, Insight School of California – Los Angeles is an ideal option. It’s accredited by both the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Bringing an individualized high school experience within your reach, the school offers a rigorous curriculum with more than 120 courses including comprehensive & elective courses, honors & advanced placement courses and vocational & skill-building courses, in addition to a number of foundational courses. More amazingly, it allows students to earn college credit while completing their high school graduation requirements.

But notice that Insight School of California – Los Angeles is only available to students aged 19 or younger. And those under 14 are required to provide evidence of completion of eighth grade. As for enrollment, you may begin in grade 9, 10, 11 or 12, but have to complete at least 25 credits to get your diploma.

Enrollment application can be completed and submitted online at any time, but you can only start Insight School courses at the beginning of the fall or spring semester. You should also keep in mind that Insight Schools only accepts full-time high school students. So, if you’ve enrolled in another public or private school, Insight is not your option.

To earn a diploma accredited by the Antelope Valley Union High School District, you also have to meet a full list of graduation requirements. The school requires students to successfully complete:

– 220 credits during four years in high school;

– A student portfolio embodied in iLearning course;

– An exit interview;

– A community service project.

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