Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

California Online Public Schools is a network of six WASC-accredited tuition-free online public schools serving students in grades TK-12 across 32 counties in California. While legally separate, the schools operate as a single entity to serve its students. The school has provided its high quality online learning expertise since 2004 and offers a unique independent study program that combines strong parental involvement, professional expertise and accountability. The school is an optimum choice for families interested in a rigorous, high quality online learning option. Learn how to enroll.

California Online Public Schools has successfully served students virtually since 2004; our experience, as well as the high level of teacher support combined with flexible daily scheduling, prepares children for a bright future—whether that includes college, technical training, or career readiness. Caring teachers specialize in online learning and work with parents. Together, they set individual goals and ensure that students learn.

California Online Public Schools are committed to providing a high-quality education that is personalized to meet a student’s individual needs. Using our accessible technology, we connect parents, teachers, and students from home or anywhere there is Internet service. Additionally, families benefit from unique flexibility in creating their daily schedule, something that typically isn’t possible in a traditional setting. Parents are also able to control their student’s learning environment, ensuring a safe and stimulating atmosphere.

First-Class Curriculum: Our program features curriculum developed by leading educational publishers. California Online Public Schools families receive a combination of online textbooks, workbooks, comprehensive lesson plans, and exciting enrichment courses.

Exceptional Teaching: Our outstanding team of over 400 California credentialed teachers are dedicated to helping our students learn how they learn best Teachers support students by offering daily opportunities to attend LiveClass sessions and offer opportunities to provide one on one support.

Although California Online Public Schools and homeschooling have some similar attributes, California Online Public Schools is not homeschooling. Ours is an independent study program and we provide a defined set of curriculum that have been specifically aligned to local standards and use credentialed teachers to evaluate student performance, including decisions concerning the child’s grade-level promotion. All California Online Public Schools students are required to take state standardized tests based on grade level, and the schools are accountable to regulatory authorities for the students’ performance. Instructional funds are not provided.

Visit the enrollment page for more information.

California Online Public Schools is always looking for hardworking dedicated individuals to join the team. Please review the current openings to see if a position is available near you. California Online Public Schools is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Students entering grades TK–12, residing in the counties listed below are eligible to enroll in California Online Public Schools:

California Online Public Schools Southern California

Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties

California Online Public Schools Northern California

Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, and Stanislaus Counties

California Online Public Schools Central Valley

Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, and Tulare Counties

California Online Public Schools Central Coast

Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura Counties

California Online Public Schools North Bay

Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Yolo Counties

California Online Public Schools Monterey Bay

Monterey, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties

Please visit the enrollment page to check student eligibility and age limitations.

Students who plan to be away for longer than 3 weeks need school administrator approval.

Yes, as a California public school, California Online Public Schools aligns with state standards. 

Does this involve utilizing curriculum which aligns with the California Healthy Youth Act? Yes, this curriculum has been implemented for our seventh and tenth grade students.

As the law requires the instruction to meet a number of guidelines, California Online Public Schools offers the Middle School Sexual Health and HIV Prevention Education and the High School Sexual Health and HIV Prevention Education courses as standalone courses. These courses are not credit bearing and as such they will not have a grade assigned to them. Parents can opt out of comprehensive sexual education. In fact, the legislature recognized in the law that “parents and guardians have the ultimate responsibility for imparting values regarding human sexuality to their children.” Enrolled parents will have the opportunity to review the materials before lessons are taught to our 7th graders and 10th grade students.

Visit the Special Education page to learn more.

A typical day involves students working on their lessons daily on a schedule developed by the student’s caretakers. California Online Public Schools students often lead busy lives, and this online flexibility allows for daily learning when it works best. Check out these examples of sample schedules.

Since 2004, our WASC-accredited, tuition-free, independent study schools guarantee students in grades TK–12 the highest quality education tailored to their individual needs. 96% of parents are satisfied with the California Online Public Schools program according to our latest survey of parents.

No, our school is a full time public school.

Please visit our curriculum page for details by grade level.

Labs for a science class are completed at home. Our teachers also incorporate live labs into their LiveClass sessions.

Students may work ahead but a little at a time; we have a 180 day school calendar and need to be sure students are working daily throughout the end of the school year. The flexible daily schedule allows students to take more time on certain subjects as needed.

Our summer school is for currently enrolled students primarily for high school credit recovery or remediation support at the lower grade levels.

Communication is the most important element in succeeding with online learning. If you or your student experience any problems along the way, contact us immediately. Many kinds of support are available for students and families, including enrollment help, computer/technical support, academic assistance, and school counselor support. We are ready and willing to assist you. Communication is key throughout your entire experience with California Online Public Schools.

Tuition & Costs

California Online Public Schools is tuition free for all students in all grades.

No, there are no hidden fees. Just like your local brick-and-mortar public school, California Online Public Schools are publicly funded and tuition free. Potential costs may include travel expenses to state testing, optional school activities and some school supplies.

No. All required books and instructional materials for courses are provided to students. Most textbooks are provided online.

As our school offers our students an independent study program in which we supply the curriculum, the teachers, the learning platform and more, we do not provide instructional funds.

Yes, California Online Public Schools provides one Chromebook per student.

Enrollment

Visit the enrollment page to get started!

California Online Public Schools Enrollment Team will utilize information from the student’s application to assign courses that are the best fit for them. While submission of academic records is not required to complete the application process, providing these documents during registration will assist school staff in ensuring that a student’s placement is completed accurately and efficiently.

Check the enrollment page to view eligibility requirements.

Students who are 18 or over must meet age eligibility requirements in California. Students must also submit academic documentation of all courses attempted since entering the 9th grade. Academic documentation will be reviewed by a school counselor to determine the student’s eligibility to complete the program requirements before meeting the age cap for enrollment. Students who cannot complete the program requirements before meeting the age cap for enrollment are not eligible to enroll.

Both emancipated minors and students 18 years and older must provide all required enrollment documentation before the student can enroll. Emancipated minors must also submit court documentation for their emancipation. Please contact the Enrollment Team at [email protected] for additional information or assistance.

You will have access to our learning management system, at any time of the day including weekends and holiday breaks. This level of flexibility helps you to design a daily learning schedule for normal school days that works best for your family.

During the enrollment process, submission of academic documentation such as a report card, unofficial transcript, schedule, or current progress report, helps to ensure that your student has an accurate and personalized course placement to start with California Online Public Schools.

As a parent/legal guardian you may request copies of the student’s most recent report card or unofficial transcript, IEP documentation, birth certificate, and immunization record from their file. DO NOT withdraw from your current school or request a complete copy of the student’s cumulative file prior to completing the enrollment process, as this information will be requested from the student’s previous school upon completion of the enrollment process.

The sooner you complete online enrollment forms and submit the required documents, the sooner your student will be enrolled. 

TIP: Monitor your email for communication regarding the status of your student’s application, and for information about next steps.

If you submitted your documents through the Enrollment Portal and it has been more than 3 days, you can contact the Enrollment Team at [email protected] to check the status. In your email, please provide us with the following information: student’s name, documents sent, and both the date and method they were sent (uploaded to the Enrollment Portal, by email, or through an Enrollment Support ticket).

Once your student’s application has been reviewed and accepted by the California Online Public School Enrollment Team, your student will be placed into classes and both you and your student will then need to sign an Independent Study Master Agreement before your child can begin attending classes with the school. Once you receive your student’s confirmation of course placement, please immediately withdraw your student if you have not done so already.

You can change your information by emailing [email protected].

In order to update a parent or student name, California Online Public Schools will need a copy of the legal name change documentation such as an amended birth certificate, marriage certificate or court order. Please submit this documentation by emailing a copy of the document to [email protected] along with a written request detailing the name change that is needed. 

If your student uses a preferred name and/or gender that differs from the legal name and gender, you can provide this information during the application process. If your student is already enrolled and attending California Online Public Schools, you can reach out to your school counselor or principal to make that request.

Socialization

Every year, we ask California Online Public Schools families to rate our program. This year, once again, parents who completed online school reviews gave us high marks for helping students succeed academically and personally. See the results of the latest Parent Satisfaction Survey: 

  • 96% Of parents agree that the curriculum is high quality.
  • 96% Of parents agree their student is satisfied with the program.
  • 93% Of parents agree their student is making good progress.
  • 98% Of parents are satisfied with the teachers at California Online Public Schools.

Just like in a brick-and-mortar school, the most successful students have parents or caretakers who are involved in their education. Each family does this differently, and the role largely depends on the age of the student. For instance, students in high school are encouraged to work more independently, whereas elementary-age students will need more support while completing lessons. Some of the ways families may support learning include providing daily structure, communicating with teachers, and helping students stay on track.

Yes. We understand the importance of students and parents interacting with others in the program and in the community. We encourage all students to attend their LiveClass sessions to be able to interact with other students and teachers online regularly. We also offer periodic in-person social activities such as field trips, social meet ups (depending on grade level) and college tours; we offer frequent virtual field trips as well!  We offer beginning, middle and end of year festivals  in Southern, Central and Northern California. We offer in person commencement ceremonies for graduating seniors as well as a Junior/Senior Grad Bash as well! Parents/Caretakers may join our private Facebook page as well.

California Online Public Schools knows that for students to achieve at the highest levels, they need not only a great academic program, but also the freedom to learn in a safe and comfortable setting. Parents and caretakers also play a key role in creating this environment to ensure their child’s well-being. Below are some of the most important resources California Online Public Schools provides to ensure that students are safe and focused on learning:

All California Online Public Schools–provided computers are equipped with heightened Internet security settings and Internet filtering software that can be activated upon request by emailing [email protected]. If you are using your own computer, Technical Support can help you configure Internet security settings and find additional Internet filtering software.

We provide an Internet safety course for students, parents, and caretakers. The course contains valuable information about practicing safe behaviors online. This course is also required training for all California Online Public Schools staff.

Staff trainings regarding student safety are a critical part of the California Online Public Schools professional development plan. The course Students in Distress: Recognizing and Responding is designed to help teachers and other school staff become familiar with the signs of distress, such as from bullying/cyberbullying, neglect and abuse, or depression, or other problems that would keep students from doing their best. The course also teaches them how to respond promptly and professionally.

Regular required contact between teachers and students helps teachers get to know each student individually. Educators who know their students are better able to note behaviors or attitudes that may indicate problems.

California Online Public Schools strictly prohibits any form of bullying/cyberbullying, harassment, hazing, or other destructive actions that may cause emotional and/or physical harm to students. School policies regarding these prohibited behaviors are documented in the School Handbook: General Portion and the state-specific School Handbook Supplement.

Each California Online Public Schools course contains a summary of web links so parents and caretakers can quickly and easily note any links that they may not wish to have their student access.

Technology Requirements

The amount of time a student spends on the computer varies by grade. Students in all grades will spend the majority of their day online working on the computer.

Students and Parents or Caretakers do not need advanced computer skills to attend California Online Public Schools.

There are some specific software requirements necessary to use our Online Classroom, our online education management system. For more information please contact [email protected].

We're Here To Help

If you have any concerns or questions about how to enroll, our enrollment team is here to help. Please email us at [email protected].