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OCCS celebrated 5th Annual Online Learning Day at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus Ohio. The yearly event is hosted by the Ohio eSchool Families and Friends Coalition. In the Statehouse Atrium, representatives and legislators visited with e-school families and students. This unique, open forum empowered families to share their stories of how online education has worked for them.
Student-centered organizations set up booths and provided fun activities and resources for students. Representatives were there from the YMCA, Ohio 4-H Youth Development, the Ohio eSchool Coalition Student Ambassador Program, Ohio History Connection, and OCCS.
Keynote speaker John Watson of Evergreen Education Group delivered a passionate message and guided an open-mic discussion with the group. “No student is average,” he said, “the concept of average really does not work here (education)…and when I talk with the families and students who have chosen online schools, they tend to recognize that.”
A few reoccurring themes came up in interviews and during the open-mic session. Bullying at previous schools, under-performance in traditional schools, physical and mental health concerns and alternative learning styles are common reasons why parents choose online education.
Flexibility is another common reason for choosing alternative education. Amber Simecek, an Ohio Virtual Academy parent said, “we found an online school to give us the guidance and resources that we need, but we love to supplement…my son likes engineering, so he gets to branch out and try robotics courses.”
Hannah Boggs, a young student attending Ohio Connections Academy and published author, attended Online Learning Day. She signed copies of her book, Violent Delights, and was a featured speaker at the event. Hannah shared that after feeling frustrated in a traditional environment while battling various health issues, she decided an online education would work better for her. The decision led to a positive learning experience at Ohio Connections Academy, as well as the time and flexibility to focus on her writing.
Online Learning Day is scheduled again next year at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.