Thursday, September 20, 2012

School Comparison update (GOC v. GCA)

Now that we have made it through the first few weeks of school, I feel that I can give more of a comparison between the two schools. I find it somewhat funny that I find the advice I give to new parents at Georgia Cyber just as appropriate to give to me this year. I can't expect to have everything under control the first few weeks of school. In fact, it's taken a good month of school for me to figure out how things are going to have to work for me and the kids. New school, new system, new teachers, etc. The catch, though, is that I have less leeway when it comes to grades. GOC doesn't give as much adjustment time before jumping into assessments. That has made it that much harder to figure out and made the scramble to get things in place that much more difficult.

Given that GOC is a new school with a new system, the teachers have given some amnesty in certain areas to help out the students. I can only hope we can take full advantage of it.

To give a comparison, though, you have to first consider the interface that the schools are using. GCA uses K12's interface. For a parent, it is very straight forward putting everything together for you to see what your student has done and needs to do. True, they use multiple web sites for different tasks, which can be confusing (ie: Study Island for progress tests and CRCT review), but it's manageable.

GOC, on the other hand, uses Desire 2 Learn and does not have an easy interface for the parents. You have an auditor's account to look at grades, but you can't see what your child has or has not done. You can't see their upcoming task list. for that, you have to log in to the student's account and go digging. There is one link for the student's assignments and another to check if they've turned in their assignments. I'm not used to having to dig for my kids' coursework.

It took my kids some adjustment to figure out the system as well. I think they'd rather do GOC with the GCA system. The big thing they've enjoyed is going onto campus twice week for the hands-on labs. The school has had their first in-house field trip recently and has their first off campus field trip later this week. They've also had their first day of intramurals. The "extras" are what my kids have wanted most, they're having to decide if the switch was worth it.
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