Technology is revolutionizing the way students learn. With access to the internet, students can learn anywhere and anytime. American High School is an online school in Plantation, Florida that is leading the digital revolution in providing high-caliber online educational courses across the United States and internationally.
American High School grew from the mind of Founder, Dana Delane-Williams, while she was developing a curriculum for an online project. Ms. Delane-Williams saw a great divide between traditional school and the home-school market that severely needed the benefits of online instructions and courses. Fearing that parents would struggle when it came to providing instruction to their kids, she realized they needed significant assistance from certified teachers, when it came to teaching higher-level courses like statistics, geometry, physics, calculus, Honors, and AP courses. The entire course catalog is available online at www.AmericanHighSchool.org.
Online education was relatively new and not readily accepted. However, Dana knew that parents had a choice and that many would welcome the idea of online schooling as an alternative. American High School offers over 500 online courses, a major improvement from a time when course options were limited for homeschooling parents and they could not get the support they needed.
American High School uniquely prepares students to become global citizens in the 21st-century workplace, by providing authentic online learning experiences and holding students accountable for their future independent successes.
To prepare students to be innovative, critical thinkers as they enter the global community as independent, creative, and productive citizens.
Who Is Dana Delane-Williams?
Ms. Delane-Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Georgia State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration in Aviation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
As CEO Dana is the uncompromising visionary behind American High School in Plantation, Florida (AHS) and its transformation from a small online high school program to a fully recognized and accredited K-12 virtual school. “She has led the charge as the first African American woman to own and operate an online school in the United States,” remarks the proud school administration.
Through her joint venture partnerships, she now has the AHS programs operating in over 27 countries. Her dual-diploma program is a hit internationally, with students earning their U.S. high school diplomas along with their home country diplomas.
Dana was one of the first to offer a ‘Start Your Own School’ where she licensed her school program to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to own their K-12 school. Since the launch of that program, she has established over 40 school partnerships worldwide and the demand from those interested in adding an online component to their existing program, school, or open their own virtual school as Covid-19 continues to grow rapidly.
Dana has coined this option a “Virtual School in a Box”. Everything is included to have a K-12 virtual school, with an American curriculum, up and running within 30 days. If assistance is required to create a curriculum, American High School will help with that as well.
In the beginning, AHS faced the challenge of educating parents and students who were looking to transition to the online learning environment. Parents were familiar with the homeschooling process, but they did not realize how much more was available to them, since they could have access to certified teachers who could work one on one with their child, from anywhere in the United States or the World.
In 2002, online education was a mere blip on the radar when Ms. Delane-Williams opened the AHS doors officially. In 2004, the real work began as her team working with parents skeptical about taking the leap to online school from a traditional one. This was a risky chance to take, and comments started flooding in like “Will their credits be accepted,” “Will they be able to go to college,” “Can I work wherever I want to work,” “Do I earn a Diploma or a GED?”
Dana worked tirelessly to address parents’ concerns and more importantly to become accredited, which is a significant accomplishment. Gaining accreditation ensured her school had the credentials and met all state requirements to operate as an online school. As with most growing businesses in the Covid era, AHS had to adjust, adapt, and pivot to handle the influx of students who wanted to go to online school so that they did not fall behind as their traditional school closed.
American High School Programs
AHS is currently offering over 500 engaging, interactive, college prep, virtual reality, elementary, middle, and high school courses. AHS is also an approved NCAA school that can accept students who are interested in playing sports on a scholarship in college in the United States. It is also one of the few online schools offering an online ‘Adult Learner Diploma’, ‘Virtual Reality Career and Technical Education (CTE)’, and ‘core’ curriculums leading to a high school diploma or certifications upon completion.
Credit Recovery System: AHS’s credit recovery program for students who fell behind and did not pass a subject the first time, but need a second chance to review the material that they did not yet master. The students are permitted to get tested again, thus allowing students a chance to relearn and get assistance from teachers to assist in course mastery. Utilizing this approach, the students have understood the unlearned concepts and letting students make up the credit that they lost.
Offered throughout the year, these online courses give students the flexibility to take these courses when it works best for them and their schedule. American High School is all about flexibility, convenience, and truly self-paced learning.
Aspire to Make a Difference
AHS offers a wide variety of online courses from core curriculum to other courses and subjects like social media marketing, culinary arts, ELL, TOEFL, game design and development for PS4 and Xbox, college readiness, forensics, and many more. American High School is one of the first virtual schools to offer an online career and technical education (CTE) curriculum utilizing virtual reality (VR).
AHS has expanded even further to offer students a variety of online certificate programs in robotics, biotechnology, nursing and healthcare, drone piloting (leading to an FAA certification), welding, crime scene investigation, and many more, all using online and virtual reality (VR) goggles for an authentic and immersive online learning environment.
American High School maintains accreditation status with the following accrediting agencies:
- Cognia (Formerly AdvancED) – Cognia is the unified organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).
- NCPSA – The National Council for Private School Accreditation is dedicated to the accreditation process as a viable and responsible means of establishing a witness of school excellence.
- Accreditation International (Ai) – Accreditation International (Ai) is your education accreditation of choice for schools, centers, education corporations, and other education entities throughout the world – from north to south and east to west.
American High School (AHS) is a fully online school, and Dana Delane-Williams has been preparing for scenarios such as Covid-19 since 2004 when she recognized that a shift to online learning would be a steady progression.
Dana stated “Covid-19 brought the paradigm shift in education that has changed the educational landscape for our students forever.” The insight that grew from Dana’s vision in 2002 allowed American High School to be well prepared for the pandemic, “because all we know is online/virtual education and have grown from online grades 9-12 to include online 6-8, and now just recently online K-5,” as per Dana.
Ms. Delane-Williams understands that virtual learning is here to stay and it is an effective way to teach students when done correctly. She stresses this point because during the pandemic, many school systems hastily shifted to online learning without a full understanding of what it was and how much it took to deploy properly.
As the AHS team thought about the shift, they recognized that they could not make American High School a traditional school overnight, as there is too much to undertake to be successful, and is the same for a traditional school turning into a virtual school overnight – impossible. The traditional schools tried their best and shifted to zoom learning but the realization of students sitting in front of the computer 7-8 hours a day led to students developing ‘zoom fatigue’, especially in the K-8 grades.
Surveys found that many students were not engaged and this method of education would have to be re-evaluated. Some drawbacks were that struggling students fell further behind and those that were not struggling, all of a sudden, began to struggle. Therefore, this led to a domino effect of student’s success rates falling in schools and resulted in a growing concern for many parents and administration.
As there are pros and cons to learning, it’s undeniable that virtual education is the future of education. “We won’t be able to turn back to the traditional ways of thinking about educating our students,” added the inspirational Ms. Dana Delane-Williams.
Scaling the Future
American High School is growing at an amazing rate and anticipates being one of the premier online schools in the world by 2022. “We believe this because even before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was already high growth and adoption of technology in the classroom,” added Ms. Delane-Williams.
The school has expanded its online course offerings through strategic partnerships in both the United States and internationally, operating in over 32 countries, such as – Vietnam, China, Poland, Columbia, Brazil, Norway, France, Spain, India, Africa, Kuwait, Australia, the Bahamas and many more, and is continually growing at a fever pace.
Additionally, there is the introduction of the ‘dual diploma program’, continued development of AHS’s Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) curriculum, and its online tutoring through a new platform, ‘Ask Real Teachers (ART)’, or its ever-developing proprietary Learning Management System.
American High School is diligent in finding and responding to the vast online expectations and demands of its online students in grades K-12, present and future, and will continue to stretch the boundaries of technology to offer an interactive, engaging, and immersive educational experience for all grades of K-12.