As principal of Utah Connections Academy, a virtual public school serving students from all across the state, this is a particularly rewarding time of year – graduation time. As an educator with 18 years of experience, I can honestly say the pride I feel when I see a student take hold of his or her diploma never gets old. It's not so much the piece of paper but the hard work and academic achievement it represents.
But I must also commend my students for something else – for choosing a different educational path. They attend a virtual public school – they work with teachers online and on the phone while a parent or other adult monitors their progress. They are leveraging the power of technology and succeeding in a new school environment – one that meets their needs. There are many opinions about education and what it should "look like." Let the success of these pioneering graduates help shape the discussion.