Online School 101: Recordkeeping Basics

Posted on September 30 2013

As a parent of an online high school student, you will be responsible for ensuring that all student records are intact and readily accessible. The student records are an important tool that provides the landmarks in your child’s education. Indeed, going through the trouble of keeping meticulous records will make it easier for you at the end of the road.

Recordkeeping is important because:

  • They are requirements for application. Whether your child opts to move on to a higher education through college, a trade school or vocational school or to join the military, his online high school records will be among the list of things you need to submit, especially if you’re looking to get a scholarship. Even when your child has not yet earned his high school diploma. The same goes if he wants to go straight to employment. Some employers are keen on knowing the level of your child’s education.
  • They are a great way of mapping your child’s progress. It tells you how many credits he has earned and what progress he has made in his knowledge of a certain field of study. It shows how well (or how badly) he has performed for the last years.
  • They are a great tool for planning ahead. As you track your child’s progress, you also get a clearer picture of how you can plan the next quarters or school years. You already know how far he’s come; now you can point him to how many more steps he has to take to reach his goal of earning a high school diploma.
  • They ensure that you comply with any legal requirements. The state you live in may transfer to may you to submit proof of your child’s learning. If you need to transfer him to another online high school or to have him go to a brick-and-mortar school, his transcript will show his level of learning.

Here are a few things to remember when it comes to keeping your virtual high school student’s records:

  • Do it on a regular basis. Don’t wait until your child’s senior year to start scrunching and searching for his files. Keep records as they come quarterly or annually. Remember, applications to college and the military come with strict deadlines. You may miss these deadlines if you are still in the process of requesting for the files or locating and collating them from various areas in your house.
  • Check the state requirements. What is the paperwork required by the state? A state may regularly require reports for students who are homeschooling or studying through a virtual high school. The requirements usually include:
    • The completed credits and your child’s grades
    • An explanation of the curriculum in general and of each credit, specifically
    • The transcript or report card
    • Comments from teachers regarding the child’s performance
    • Certificates or awards earned by the child
    • Medical records
    • Test results for the SAT or ACT
    • Licenses the child has earned
    • List and record of community involvement, sports activities, summer jobs and other job experiences, other extra-curricular activities

When you know what documents should be kept, you don’t have to crowd your files with unnecessary clutter (such as the child’s notes on a particular course, a copy of his paper for that literature course, etc.).

  • Keep the files in one location. Dedicate one binder, expanding file or box for student records only. Keep this in a secure location, ideally where it’s easily accessible and less likely to be misplaced.
  • Ensure that you have all the files when your child moves from one school to another. As you are fulfilling the record requirements for the school your child is transferring to, keep the originals (ideally) for your files.

Keeping student records for your child’s online high school program is not that hard. However, it requires consistency on your part so that all documents that come in are properly stored. You can also enlist your online student’s cooperation in keeping the records.