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Out of Her Shell: Virtual School Helps Shy Teen Embrace Education





girl with jean jacket who has been able to come out of her shell thanks to virtual school

As a shy and introverted public school student, Amaranthia Gittens-Jones found her experience in a traditional school setting challenging to say the least. But the curriculum wasn’t the problem. Instead, Gittens-Jones said it was the occasional distractions that went along with sharing a teacher with a few dozen other students that ended up making her learning experience harder than it had to be. Making matters more challenging was the bullying she endured, which Gittens-Jones said ultimately led her to explore alternative educational opportunities.

Now, more than two years after enrolling as a full-time student at Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, Gittens-Jones says she is a confident and focused learner who – because of the flexibility of online school – is able to concentrate on becoming an accomplished graphic artist.

The 15-year old Concord resident first enrolled at VLACS in the eighth grade and will soon be entering her sophomore year within the virtual school program.

Gittens-Jones first impression of the VLACS model came through the online course Middle School Language Arts 3. The course, according to Gittens-Jones, was the “perfect class” because it served as a good introduction to the online school’s methodology.

One of the initial challenges Gittens-Jones said she experienced in her first class involved getting used to communicating with her teacher over the phone for Discussion Based Assessments. However, having to constantly communicate with her teachers helped her become more comfortable participating in video calls and other meetings with her peers, she said.

And now, years later, Gittens Jones says the VLACS model is working really well because of how much it caters to her independent learning style. While she is still an admittedly shy person, Gittens-Jones said her virtual school experience thus far has allowed her to better interact with her peers and teachers

“It really helped me break out of my shell and learn how to talk to people,” she said.

Another element of online learning that took some getting used to involved figuring out when to study throughout the day and the week. At first it was difficult. But, Gittens-Jones said she has since gotten into a very good routine in which she dedicates an hour a day to each course she is taking, and sometimes more depending upon the demand of the course.

“I’ll work on each class an hour each and get through those lessons,” she said. “I’ll try and finish whatever I can in that hour, and then whatever is left I’ll finish the next day.”

The flexibility VLACS allows a student has also helped her concentrate on her extracurricular activities, something she was never able to do before. For Gittens-Jones this involves taking art classes and participating in other courses at her local YMCA.

Looking forward, Gittens-Jones said she imagines the VLACS model will help prepare her more for what college will be like in terms of organization and planning her own schedule. While still a few years out, Gittens-Jones said she is planning on taking a year off after getting her diploma and then applying to online college programs with similarities to the online programs at VLACS.

“When I go to college it’s going to help me a lot,” she said. “I feel like I’m more well-rounded.”

VLACS’ full-time admissions program helps students become an active part of their own education without worries of feeling uncomfortable or distracted. Our unique approach to competency-based education is intended to help support students as they transition to online learning. Enroll today to start earning credits toward your high school diploma.

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