Online High School Clicks with Students

Academy’s enrollment spans the globe

The University of Miami Global Academy’s graduating class posed with the two Sebastians after their ceremony at the Newman Alumni Center in June.

T wo years after it began offering a full slate of courses online, the University of Miami Global Academy reached a milestone in June, graduating its first class of students.

Dressed in cap and gown and smiling from ear to ear, Jade McNitt walked down the aisle inside the University of Miami’s Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center. Under the proud gaze of her parents and friends, she accepted a high school diploma cemented in honors courses and community service.

Her journey through high school was not a typical one. Instead of brick-and-mortar classrooms, Jade took science, history, and English classes in cyberspace.

The 18-year-old is one of the three inaugural graduates of the Global Academy, an online high school that has eliminated the confinement of classroom walls, allowing students from anywhere in the world to earn a diploma by choosing from 131 courses taught via the Internet and through technologies such as Skype and Blackboard.

“We tend to attract students who are pursuing a passion and want a quality education,” explains Craig Wilson, school headmaster and executive director of online college programs.

Wilson, a former U.S. Marine who joined the U.S. Department of Education’s Troops-to-Teachers Program before earning doctoral and law degrees, says UMGA is adapting to its students’ needs, instituting programs and classes to keep pace with their busy lifestyles. The Extreme Scholars Program, for example, allows them to take courses and graduate at an accelerated rate.

UMGA’s enrollment of 350 full- and part-time students spanning 24 countries includes a drag racer, tennis pro, concert pianist, and ballerina—students, says Wilson, “who would be confined by a tradition-al school.”

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