A positive, responsive, and respectful online school culture does not happen in isolation but arises as all teaching and administrative staff focus on achieving the three goals set by Virtual High School in a thoughtful and meaningful manner. As a school, we have identified three goals:
3.1 Reaching out to National and International Students
According to the Conference Board of Canada, “Canada earns an “A” on its Education and Skills report card, ranking 2nd among 16 peer countries.” Many international students come to the province of Ontario from other countries to pursue their secondary school needs, because Ontario is now recognized across Canada and around the globe as a leader in educational excellence, and the Ontario government is committed to continuing to raise the bar even higher. Virtual High School focuses on providing a positive educational experience for our international students seeking online OSSD courses at VHS so that many of these students will consider Ontario as a potential destination for their post-secondary education. Actions to be taken by VHS are:
- to ensure VHS course activities provide a high quality learning experience for international students.
- to focus on the specific educational needs of international students and provide direct intervention to meet these needs in meaningful ways; and
- to consider every student as being unique and thus provide opportunities for the student to achieve success according to his or her own interests, abilities and goals.
3.2 To Be Responsive to the Educational Needs of Our Students
The philosophy of education of Virtual High School has always been to provide a student-centered education in an online environment. The positive growth in (a) numbers of students taking our courses, (b) the high level of completion rates within the courses, and (c) the strong academic performance of our students as they progress into post-secondary institutions affirms that we are focused on the essential outcomes. Actions to be taken by VHS are:
- to allow the student to start his or her VHS course on any day, move through the course at any pace and write the final exam on any day,
- to contact the student upon registration in order to provide the necessary information to the student so he or she can begin the online course right away,
- all school administrative staff will have their contact information viewable from our main website,
- to foster communications between the student and teacher upon enrollment in order to begin the dialogue concerning teacher expectations in the course,
- to adhere to the principles and policies outline in "Growing Success: Assessment and Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools" in order to improve student learning,
- to evaluate the effectiveness of the initial student communications, course introduction units, News items and main school website as means of communicating items of academic interest and use to the student,
- to have VHS Department Heads share best practices of teacher-student interactions among all VHS teachers,
- to enable all VHS staff to receive student feedback in order to determine the extent to which students needs are being met, and
- to create an environment where student and parent complaints are encouraged and welcomed and that these complaints are acted upon in a prompt and effective manner.
3.3 To Be Responsive to the Administrative Needs of Our Students
Virtual High School makes every attempt to provide a full range of academic services to its students - services normally found in all public schools in Ontario. Our goal is to make sure that this full range of academic services is provided in a professional and timely manner to all students. Actions to be taken by VHS are:
- to establish and maintain OUAC or OCAS accounts for our OSR students planning to entering post-secondary institutions upon graduation from high school;
- to produce and forward copies of the Ontario Student transcripts to post-secondary institutions in a timely manner;
- to make arrangements for students to write the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT);
- to replicate and establish a VHS Individual Education Plan (IEP) for exceptional students in order to identify the student's specific learning expectations and how these expectations are to be accommodated within their online course;
- to establish and maintain Ontario Student Records (OSR) for those students who are the sole responsibility of VHS, following the Ontario Ministry of Education's guidelines; and
- to determine the equivalent credits earned by students entering the Ontario school system in their previous educational setting and to advise the student on the remaining requirements to be completed in order to earn the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).