In order to meet our students’ scheduling needs, Sterling Academy doesn’t follow a traditional school calendar. Because of this, we sometimes get asked how due dates work in our online high school classes. There’s a misconception that there aren’t due dates, but we do work with students to ensure they complete their studies.
When students enroll at Sterling Academy, we create a Target Date Calendar that sets the timeline for their course completion. For full-time online high school students, the calendar lays out how they will finish their courses within one year, breaking each year into four terms of three months each. Students who wish to finish in less than a year to have their summers free or for other reasons work in shorter terms. For example, if a student wants two months off for summer, then the Target Date Calendar would be set for ten months, with each term at 2½ months. Students will need to complete the courses in each term before they can start the next term. While there’s flexibility that allows students more time if they fall behind, Sterling Academy will encourage them to catch up to stay on track toward their ultimate goal: graduation. Conversely, we allow students to finish their terms early and move on to the next set of courses when they’re done.
Students are also encouraged to organize their work according to their needs and schedules. Each three-month term, full time online high school students are given three courses to complete. Some students work on all their courses at once, as if they were attending a bricks-and-mortar school. Others prefer to focus on one at a time. Students can organize their workloads in any way, and there aren’t specific due dates for assignments – although if the student isn’t progressing, the teachers will reach out to ensure they understand the material.
While we use the four three-month term plan because it’s been the most effective for the majority of our students, we do allow for workloads to be organized differently as long as the student is adequately progressing through the courses. Students can sign up any day of the year to start a grade level or enroll in second semester. Part-time students will usually work through courses on the calendar of their full-time school or during the summer to finish before fall.
While this means that every student is in a different spot in the course, it also means that there are no group class sessions, and every student receives one-on-one assistance from their teachers. Everyone is working at their own pace, on their own calendar, but with the ultimate goal of completion.