Twin sisters discuss their public online school experience
With education from home at their fingertips, twin sisters Kayla and Sarah Randolph are now getting ready to graduate from public online school, and plan to continue on to a university.
The Randolph sisters have earned their education thus far in a slightly different way. They started with home school in Porterville, and currently are enrolled in the California Connections Academy at Central.
“The girls went to Porterville home school, and they phased the program out,” mother Marsha Randolph said, explaining at that point their choices were between regular traditional school or some other form of home school. “That’s when I learned about the public online school, which turned out to be a lot different than home school.”
The Randolph twins have undergone several orthopedic surgeries, but despite their conditions, they have made it possible to continue with their education.
Mr. and Mrs. Randolph both attended traditional school, and they have two other children besides the twins. One of their older children went to traditional school, and the other was home schooled through Porterville.
Both Sarah and Kayla started public online school their freshmen year of high school, and have been thrilled with the possibilities it offers.
“Once we transferred it was like a whole other world, because we had life lessons. It’s like a big Skype room, with a teacher and up to one hundred students, and we get to interact with one another,” Kayla said. She added that being home schooled was very small and exclusive; usually it was just the two sisters and the teacher in a classroom. “Online public school is really an open education. It’s the closest thing to regular, in-school education.”
Kayla’s twin, Sarah, said she has definitely loved the personalized education she has received from her online classes.
“When we entered our freshmen year, they asked me what I wanted to do for a career, and I told them I was interested in the medical field,” said Sarah. “They instantly geared my education towards my interests. It’s very personalized. I was taking classes related to the field of study of my interest.”
Sarah said she definitely likes the flexibility of the classes.
“If you are a night student, you can work at night, or you can do it during the day. All the classes are recorded, so if you miss them you can re-watch them,” she said.
Despite their different experience with education, Kayla and Sarah are just as involved as other students attending regular day school.
“I get to meet my classmates, teachers and make friends,” said Kayla, noting that just like a regular class they are expected to show participation in class and engage virtually. “We make tutoring groups, and we also have hundreds of clubs and activities to be part of.”
Just last year the twins were able to attend their first ever high school prom at the Disneyland Hotel.
“I’ve taken the kids to labs, class outings, proms, meet-and-greets and class field trips,” said Marsha Randolph.
“We get to socialize with other classmates, and we have other ways we can contact each other for help or friendship,” said Kayla. “Organization is a big key right now, especially as we are taking on new responsibilities, it’s more of setting our schedules and prioritizing.”
The twins are part of the National Honor Society, and they both have jobs and are involved in the community. Some of the organizations Kayla and Sarah are involved in are the Porterville Pregnancy Resource Center, Toys for Tots and Porterville Church of the Nazarene (where they volunteer and work). They volunteer feeding and clothing the homeless, and organize and act in their own Haunted House for the community.
“As a parent, I recommend online public school,” said Marsha Randolph, who used to be a substitute teacher in Porterville. “Public online school is not like home school. I was in classrooms as a teachers aid, and let me tell you that the interaction my daughters have with their teachers is just the same as traditional school.”
Marsha Randolph said since her daughters have had several orthopedic surgeries, public online school has been very convenient, and recommends it to other parents as a viable public school alternative.
“My daughters were able to take their laptops when they were admitted into Stanford for their surgeries,” said Randolph. “They were able to take classes in the hospital.”
At California Connections Academy students take at least five classes per semester.
“For kids that are slow or fast-paced learners, this is a school they should really consider, because if you need time to look up something and you contact a teacher, they take the time to explain your question,” added Kayla. “If you want to go through the classes and get them done, it’s also for you.”
The CCA public online school helps families as much possible.
“It’s just like sending your child to regular school,” said Marsha Randolph. “It’s all free. They even help with materials such as laptops, WiFi and other aid for qualifying families.”
The Randolph sisters are seniors, and most of their time right now consists of applying for scholarships says mother Marsha.
For now, Kayla is looking into attending a four-year university outside of California, but is also interested in school in state to study elementary education, since she wishes to be a second-grade teacher.
Sarah, on the other hand, is looking into the medical field, and is applying to many universities in and out of California.
“A lot of people think is just like home school, but it really is not. It’s actual public school,” said Marsha Randolph. “I love hearing them talking about their classrooms. They are just like normal kids.”