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Answering Your Top FAQs about Private Online High School Answered: #2 Student Life

Do you have questions about private online high school accreditation? As the Head of Bryn Mawr Online and an educator for more than 20 years, I field a lot of questions from parents and caregivers as they consider online private school options for their kids.

Is online school challenging enough? How do colleges consider an online school transcript? What is student life like? How will my child connect with other students? How do parents get involved?

In this series, I will do my best to answer these frequently asked questions. I’ve already written about the importance of accreditation. Today, we’re talking about your student’s social life while attending online school.

Question #2: How will my daughter meet friends and get involved at school if everything is online? 

In the digital age, online high schools are pioneering innovative ways to foster social interaction and support extracurricular engagement, challenging the myth that virtual learning limits student connection. These institutions are creating vibrant, interactive communities that extend far beyond the confines of traditional classrooms, ensuring students enjoy a rich, balanced educational experience.

Community gathering times are pivotal, offering regular, structured opportunities for students to interact, discuss shared interests, play games, and form lasting friendships. These gatherings are not just about academic collaboration; they’re a bedrock for social engagement, akin to the bustling hallways and common spaces of physical schools. At Bryn Mawr Online, weekly community gathering times are built into the schedule and allow students and faculty to come together to further their bonds.

Clubs and after-school activities, ranging from the yearbook and student government association to ethics bowl teams, provide students with a platform to pursue passions, develop new skills, and contribute to a collective goal. These groups are not just extracurricular; they’re integral to student life, promoting teamwork, leadership, and personal growth. At Bryn Mawr Online, any student can introduce and lead a club within our community, and this year, some of the clubs students lead are the music Club, Video Game Club, Wellness Club, Book Club, Equestrian Club, and many more.

Wellness-related programming addresses the holistic needs of students, emphasizing the importance of mental and physical health, while in-person retreats bridge the online-offline divide, offering unforgettable experiences that solidify community bonds. The entire Bryn Mawr Online community descends on our Baltimore campus yearly for a four-day retreat where bonds are tightened, memories are made, and they come even closer together as a community.

Online high schools, like Bryn Mawr Online, are breaking new ground, demonstrating that virtual education can be both academically rigorous and socially enriching. They’re crafting a future where online learning is synonymous with comprehensive, community-driven education, ensuring no student misses out on the quintessential high school experience.

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Meet Mallory Pladus

English Teacher

Where do you live?
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

What do you like about teaching online?
I like the small school environment, the ambitious students BMOS attracts, and the flexibility learning and teaching online affords students and faculty.

What do you like to do when you’re NOT in school?
Hike, travel, play frisbee, and spend time on the Jersey Shore.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Japan. My dad is half Japanese, and there is a rumor in our family that he and my aunt relinquished property rights to a small portion of a mountain in Japan. I’d like to go see that mountain.

Best way to spend a Saturday?
Reading outside.

What do you want students to remember about you?
I want them to remember that I did my best to make literature open up for them in surprising, intriguing ways and that I cared about their ideas.

Personal catchphrase?
“Let’s reflect on this.”

Who inspires you?
Writers I love: James Baldwin, Marilynne Robinson, Louise Erdrich, to name a few.

What activity/class have you enjoyed the most through BMOS (and why)?
The poet Sarah Ali visited our English 9 and 10 classes to discuss her poem about animal roadkill. The students asked great questions, and she gave thoughtful answers. We broached a topic that often feels too intractable to talk about.