Last year was the inaugural school year for BYU Online High School, and for many students, it was their first time trying anything like it. Some students were transitioning from traditional public schools, so learning to navigate online school was a new experience for them. Other students had been homeschooled, and adapting to BYU OHS’s structured online environment presented an entirely different challenge.
“I was surprised at how well the students transitioned to the format and expectations of BYU OHS,” says Ann Baxter, an administrator and advisor at BYU OHS. “For a few students, it took several weeks to get a handle on things, but others immediately took charge and got their assignments in on time and did quality work. I have seen amazing growth in many students.”
Mrs. Baxter spends a lot of time getting to know the students at BYU OHS. You might wonder how people who work at an online high school can actually interact with or get to know the students at all, but for Mrs. Baxter, who is over Semester Enrollment, it’s one of the perks of her job. She frequently holds “huddles” with the students so she can monitor their progress, help them navigate their schedules, and find which classes are the best fit for each student.
Some of the other perks to her job are events and opportunities that are unique to BYU OHS. “Once a month we have held a special mini-devotional that we have called Especially for Friday. Our speakers have been great. This month, we had Guinness Book of World Record holder Martin Frey come and speak. He challenged us all to have an adventure mindset. It was great.”
The students were also able to have a talent show in January. “We had acts as varied as cello solos, to drawings, to being taught how to serve a tennis ball, to astounding vocal solos. It was a lot of fun to see how talented our students are. We have piloted several student clubs and have several more waiting in the wings for next year. I am excited to see those take off with the returning students as well as our new students.”
One of the best things about BYU Online High School, though, is its flexibility, which allows diversity, freedom, and a top-notch education to thrive all at once in the same program. Kids from all over the world get to be part of the same student body and take classes when and where it’s convenient for them, meeting each student’s unique educational needs.
“I think that our extreme flexibility is one of our most attractive features,” Ann says. “A student might start in Semester Enrollment and for certain reasons move to Open Enrollment or the other way around. We had several students move during this past school year. Some from one house to another, others from state to state, and one from the (United) States to another country. All were able to keep the continuity of their education going from day to day and week to week. Their courses were the same, their friends were the same, their routine, for the most part, was the same.”
But it’s clear that her enthusiasm lies in building relationships with the students. “In my weekly interactions with these students, I have really gotten to know them and what some of their joys and struggles are. Several will be moving on to great adventures internationally, and I look forward to continuing my association with them as pen pals!”
What makes BYU OHS so special? A combination of a challenging curriculum, diverse student body, schedule flexibility, and people like Ann Baxter. Find out more by visiting BYU Online High School today and see how we can help meet your student’s unique educational needs!