Orion High School is a digital school whose mission is empowering learning, renewing hope. Our guest, Dr. Gallegos, founded the school over a decade ago and shares with us what he’s learned and what makes his school unique. It was important to him and the other founders to find a way of teaching that better met the needs of the students. The school they created hires experts in their field to mentor students, as opposed to being teachers. At Orion, there is no way a student can pass a course without interacting regularly with their mentor, there are no multiple-choice tests, students are given tasks and not homework, and expectations are clearly set early and often for students at the school. Trailblazers, right?
Make sure your school is accredited
Not only is Orion High School nationally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, internationally by AdvancED, and by the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission, but these accreditations are part of what gives Orion High School its strength. When digital schools are appropriately accredited, this makes it much easier for students to secure financial aid when they enter college. Students and families find this very important!
Orion helped create digital standards of education
Because Orion High School was one of the first digital schools to go through the accreditation process, the reviewers didn’t quite know what to expect! The typical onsite standards didn’t work for a school of this nature, so Dr. Gallegos worked with AdvanceED to create the standards that are appropriate for digital schools.
Trends in digital learning
There has been a shift away from the traditional learning environment over the years; this is positive because it gives students and families more choice and flexibility, and provides better learning opportunities. At Orion, students can be fully enrolled, taking all of their classes through the school, or they can take classes as needed.
Since there are an increasing number of students seeking digital courses, administrators at the school are strongly encouraged to consider accreditation so that they can best serve their students, but also so that their school is appealing to those beyond their backyard. Orion has students from across the nation and outside of the U.S., and they have also worked with their home state of Texas to ensure smooth transfer of records between the schools. Dr. Gallegos began working with Transcript Maker not long after founding the school and has been able to create transcripts that lend credibility to his school while functioning in the way he needs.
We are so glad that Dr. Gallegos joined us on Beyond Transcripts to share his insights, experiences, and tips about digital education.