Seeking Middle Schoolers
Not all cyberschools cater to older students. The California Distance Learning Program (CDLP) is a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade cyberschool operated by the Ready Springs Charter School. Any student in the state who is not enrolled in another public school is eligible. Based in Reinholds, Penn., the Willoway CyberSchool caters to students in grades seven through nine. According to Director Janet B. Hale, Willoway features a Web-based curriculum supplemented by real-time communication via ICQ, a program similar to America Online's Instant Messenger. Willoway students also participate in videoconferencing. Hale expects an enrollment of approximately 28 students this year and maintains a student/teacher ratio of 14 to 1.
Non-public cyberschools generally charge approximately $2,000 to $3,000 per year, assessed on a monthly basis. Tuition is $199 per month at Christa McAuliffe, $225 at Willoway and $150 at Internet Home School. Most schools also require an up-front registration fee. Since CDLP is a public school, it charges no tuition.
A key concern of families is the value of their diplomas. Since full-fledged cyberschooling dates back only to the arrival of the Internet, relatively few students have graduated. Many among that number have attended college, such as two siblings from Christa McAuliffe who graduated at 14 and 12 years old, respectively, and went on to Indiana University. Both Christa McAuliffe and Internet Home School offer College Board Advanced Placement courses as part of the high school curriculum.