GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
A recent study conducted by the Colorado Department of Education shows that, statewide, students in online schools aren't performing as well as those in traditional schools.
Since Grande River Virtual Academy, a local online school, was created only a year ago, there is not much data available, but officials with School District 51 say their customized education and rigorous enrollment process is built to help students succeed.
When Brittany Pelak's family moved from California to Fruita two years ago, the transition wasn't easy.
"I would just get really bad anxiety going to school everyday, just really nervous," Pelak said.
She's not alone; for a number of reasons, many students have trouble receiving the full benefits of traditional schooling.
Signing up for Grande River Virtual Academy was Pelak's next option, but it's not always right for everyone.
"It's a cool 21st century way to learn, but come to find out they're not all as motivated as they thought they were," said Rob Roybal, director of academic options for School District 51.
Recently, CDE compared
graduation rates, dropout rates, performance rates and more of online and traditional schools. It found that online schools were lagging.
Roybal says since Grande River is a very new school, steps have been taken to make sure they don't become part of that statistic.
"We have to ask lots of questions: make sure the kids are motivated to work online at home, make sure they are self directed to work online at home and make sure they have a great support system at home," said Roybal.
Matching the right student with the right school option for them plays a large role in whether or not they'll be successful.
For students like Pelak, online is the way to go.
"It helps you understand the material better, because in a traditional school, if you get behind you kind of start falling further behind, but this one you can make sure you know the material before you have to move on to something else," she said.
Through Grande River, students also have the choice between taking crossover classes at their neighborhood school or meeting one on one with teachers for extra help.
Both are options that aren't available in many online schools in Colorado.