At the beginning of the school year, Chris Concepcion started his freshman year of high school at Montgomery High School in South San Diego.
But after failing all of his classes in his first semester, he knew Montgomery High School wasn’t the school for him.
“There were too many students and the teachers really wouldn’t help you that much,” he said. “I couldn’t have the time I needed with my teachers.”
Chris wanted a school where he can interact with the teacher, so he enrolled at the San Diego Virtual School, a sixth to 12th grade online public charter school.
“(The school is) easier because I can talk to the teachers faster, and it’s much easier because I’m on the computer most of the time,” he said. “This school has really brought up my grades.”
He said he went from all F’s at Montgomery to mostly B’s and C’s at the San Diego Virtual School.
The San Diego Virtual School has three learning centers in the county with a center in La Mesa and Vista and another at 496 Third Ave. in Chula Vista.
“We decided to start the location here in Chula Vista because a lot of the students that were enrolled at the beginning from the online portion were located in this area,” said Brennan McLaughlin, executive director of the San Diego Virtual School.
“So we wanted to be a little bit closer to where they were.”
The learning center made its way to Chula Vista in August 2012.
The San Diego Virtual School’s model is to have students do their class work daily via the internet. Should a student need help they can come into one of the learning centers or use the online chat feature to get assistance from a teacher.
About 255 students are enrolled in the online school, McLaughlin said.
Because it’s a public charter school, McLaughlin said, the school is state funded.
McLaughlin said the school provides free laptops to its students to help in their academic success. English teacher
Nicole Lincoln is familiar with the online school model since she received her teaching credential through online courses at National University.
“Our program is set up a little bit like college classes but there is much more support,” she said.
“I had a great experience with online learning so when I realized I could teach online as well it was a big draw, just because I could relate with the students.”
McLaughlin said teachers at the school have 30 students or less on their roster, making it easier to communicate with them. The school uses the new common core curriculum.
McLaughlin said that at the different centers there are credentialed teachers in a variety of subjects.
McLaughlin said the school attracts a wide variety of students, some who can’t make it to class regularly at a traditional school because of health reasons, others who need to catch up on credits, and, McLaughlin said, some students are professional singers, dancers or athletes and because of their traveling schedule an online school works best for them.
McLaughlin said although classes are online, it doesn’t mean it’s an easy A.
“It’s not for everyone because it’s tough,” he said.