Friday, March 02, 2012

GCA vs. GOC

Georgia Cyber Academy vs. Gwinnett Online Campus Charter MS

Since my kids are interested in the GOC Charter, I thought I'd do a brief chart of things between the two. As to the pros/cons, that can be a personal thing, depending on what you're actually looking for in a school. One of the major differences between the two is funding. GCA is a state charter, so it only receives state funds. GOC is a Gwinnett county charter, so it gets local plus state funds. Thus, it can do more because it HAS more. Charter funding,though, is a discussion for another day.





GCA GOC
1:20 teacher:student ratio
Books shipped to home No books - integrated online
Nothing req'd in person Req'd in person labs 2x's/wk
State funds only Local & state funds
Teacher & School outings Teacher & School outings
Log attendance & hours No logging attendance or hours
Advanced (ALP) classes Advanced/Gifted classes
ALP only provided Foreign Language Foreign Language/Art Apppreciation/Music/Digital Media as a choice for all students
Parent responsible for Health/PE School provided Health
Classwork done onlineClasswork done online
Extra sites used to supplement Extras built in to main site
New teacher(s) each year Teachers rotate with students

For the most part a lot of the differences are minor (or appear to be). How it all will actually balance out remains to be seen. The GOC Charter MS opens for the first time this Fall. GCA has been open for 5 years now. I can't compare enrollment, but I can state that GCA has 10k students K-10 this year state wide. That's a large student population. For a school that only receives state funding, they're doing very well. They are, though, having to adjust to changes in the curriculum, student enrollment, state expectations, etc. They have also, though, become accredited this past year. So they have that in their favor as well.

The big thing that my kids are looking to is the in person labs. While they get to go on outings with students from GCA, the students may or may not be their ages. The outings also don't offer a lot of interaction with the teachers. Now, they can certainly talk with teachers, etc, but if they have questions/problems that can be hard to do at most outings that can have anywhere from 10 other families to 100. So, they want a little more in-person ability to interact with their peers and their teachers. Fair enough.

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