With the end of the 2020-21 school year approaching – for many students, the first full school year attending virtually – parents are facing the decision on how to move forward. Beginning May 3, students can apply for the full-time program at Florida Virtual School (FLVS), while families that would like to incorporate one or more online courses as part of their education plan for the upcoming school year, can enroll in FLVS Flex year-round.
As school districts across Florida continue to announce their options for the 2021-22 school year, the latest survey conducted by FLVS revealed that 65 percent of parents – regardless of their children’s grade level – expect online education to be a part of their child’s future for the next school year. Parents of younger children also feel confident that online learning will meet their kids’ education needs, with 55.5 percent of K-5 parents expressing the highest level of confidence in online learning compared to in-person.
Although too much screen time and infrequent social interaction are still a concern according to the survey results, parents also noted the benefits they’ve uncovered from online learning. Parents found that kids have developed better study habits, as the online environment allows them to focus more and have less distractions than in-person learning. The individualized experience was also a benefit, and parents felt that there is better and more frequent communication between parents and teachers.
“This past school year exposed many families to online learning for the first time, and although there were challenges, there were parents that noticed that an online learning environment is what their children needed to blossom,” said Robin Winder, Senior Director of Instruction for Florida Virtual School. “On the other hand, FLVS Flex is perfect for those that want to continue with some online courses, while still registered at their zoned school, or that are homeschooled; or for students that want to take advantage of the summer to get ahead, as they can start at any time.”
Florida Virtual School offers full-time and part-time flexible options for grades Kindergarten through 12. Students have access to more than 190 courses – including core, elective/specials, Advanced Placement , and Career and Technical Education courses – all tuition-free for Florida residents, and taught by state-certified teachers using a curriculum developed specifically for the online learning environment to ensure students’ success.
The survey was conducted by Florida Virtual School in November 2020, and was deployed to parents of children of all grade levels, including FLVS Full Time and FLVS Flex student populations. The 22-question survey was composed of six demographic questions, two school history questions, five questions on parent concerns and levels of confidence associated with their children’s education, and nine questions on parent perspectives of their role in schooling and schooling in general. Question types included Likert ratings, single- and multi-select multiple choice, and short answer responses. Of those invited, 2,441 parents/guardians completed all questions on the survey. Statistical analyses of responses as well as thematic analysis of open responses revealed important insights about parents’ levels of confidence in online education and their concerns for the future. To read the complete survey results and analysis, click here.