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VHS Quarter One Review

Amy Yip
Me participating in a class discussion post.

Virtual High School is a brand new learning opportunity here at Holbrook Middle-High School, offering a variety of exploratory and standardized academic courses. VHS is a great way for students to try out niche or advanced courses that are otherwise not available at their respective schools. VHS offers 228 respective courses, ranging from Chinese Culture and Language to Neuroscience. 

The majority of upperclassmen in VHS are taking a semester-long exploratory in classes such as language or business. Students wanting to learn specific communication skills are currently participating in classes like American Sign Language. Other students who may want to get a chance to learn more about their desired or prospective major in college are taking classes like accounting or finance.  

I personally made the decision to participate in Virtual High School courses as a way to take more rigorous math and science courses, and ended up enrolling in AP Physics 1 and AP Calculus BC. I initially viewed VHS as a risk because I did not know how the grading system would compare to that of in person classes that I have taken in the past. Although I was a little hesitant about the grading system, I decided to go ahead and give it a chance because these courses will greatly improve my knowledge in mathematics and physics going into college. The big draw with AP classes is that they are a chance to earn college credit in high school, but even if I do not pass the exams in May, I will have at least a good preview of what to expect at the college level as a first year engineering student. 

The first endeavor that I had in my VHS learning experience was the summer work. For non-AP students, this is not applicable. The summer work was presented to me within a couple of weeks after summer break had started. Summer assignments were definitely doable when stretched out over summer break, or if you’re last minute like me. I crammed both summer work packets within roughly a week and did not find them particularly difficult. Should you decide to take an AP class through VHS, I do not foresee that the summer work will be a real problem. 

The initial week of Virtual High School consisted mostly of becoming familiar with the system itself. They teach students how to submit assignments, participate in class discussions, and more. After the initial week, the real work started. I have found the AP course offerings to be fast paced, requiring a large amount of time outside of periods allotted to me in school. It probably doesn’t help that I chose to take Physics and Calculus, but odds are if you are taking any AP at all you should be prepared to put in a lot of work outside of  the school day. 

The structure of the courses in VHS are asynchronous, meaning that work is assigned on a regular basis, but there are no real “classes” held in session. This is the biggest thing students need to adapt to, as they are given study materials and essentially have the week to absorb the material and apply skills learned in homework assignments. All teachers are required to have at least one office hour a week, in which they can explain things to students or update them on anything that was missed. I highly recommend that you attend these office hours if you take a VHS Course Offering, as teachers are definitely able to streamline the learning process and fill any gaps in your course knowledge.  

The biggest struggle I have encountered with Virtual HIgh School is time management. When taking an online class, pretty much all of the accountability to finish assignments is on you. In a typical class setting, the teacher outlines the structure of a class period so that work is completed in a timely manner. I have found it very difficult to spread out the work evenly over a given week, but hope to come up with an effective schedule to balance the work that comes with these classes. If you have not taken a virtual class before, I probably would not recommend taking an AP VHS course right off the bat because it will require quick adaptation. 

After the first quarter, I can honestly recommend Virtual High School, including its AP course offerings. I think VHS is a great way for me to learn time management skills necessary for managing a college level workload. It also opened up AP Calc BC and AP Physics 1 to me, which are courses I would not have been able to take prior to adding VHS to our school. I have not found the grading system to be particularly harsh, and the course structure really does set you up for success. I think it was a great addition to our school, and that everyone should take at least a semester long course with virtual high school.


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About the Contributors
Derek Fox
Derek Fox, CBN Staff
Derek Fox is a senior at Holbrook Middle-High School. His main roles for the CBN crew include scriptwriting, anchoring, and making stories. Derek is headed to Northeastern University in the fall to study Mechanical Engineering.
Amy Yip
Amy Yip, Editor in Chief
Amy Yip, or "Yippie" as some call her, is currently a senior at Holbrook Middle-High School. She's served as the Editor in Chief for the school's website since sophomore year and has filled in the role of Weekly Producer for the school's weekly broadcast, Code Blue Now (CBN), as of the end of her junior year. Yip has been involved with the school's journalism program for six years, and video production for three. In order to pass the time, she enjoys the usual: hanging out with friends and listening to music. But some unheard of hobbies she has is cleaning and doing school work, both tasks everyone dreads but Yip finds rather fun. Her favorite subjects include ancient civilizations and chemistry, both of which are still subjects that aren't typically a favorite for most. Aside from school, you've most likely seen her photos somewhere whether it's on the school's website or from people's social media as she mostly specializes in sports photography. She's been the football team's personal photographer for the past three seasons, and the basketball team's for one season. All of those years weren't to waste though because her photos and videos have gained national recognition, some winning various awards of different values. As a career, Amy hopes to be working somewhere in the business field. She’s looking to major in Business Management. Utilizing Holbrook's journalism and video opportunities, Amy has been able to not only grow the programs, but gain the general skills that'll help her in the future. After she graduates, she aspires to see the journalism side of things within the school expand further and to carry out the skills she learned within the program to her future career path.

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  • A

    AprilJan 4, 2024 at 12:52 pm

    Derek- Great article. Thank you for sharing your experience. Can you share how the Final grade is calculated for your VHS class? Curious how the Final exam is weighted into the final grade.

    • D

      Derek FoxFeb 6, 2024 at 1:06 pm

      Hi April, VHS is cumulative so, all assignments are assigned a point value. Obviously tests/exams will be worth more, but the grading is not very harsh. If you do well on the assignments and poorly on the exams its pretty easy to earn like a B+ or higher.