Sofia Bradberry was surprised when she was notified of her recognition for outstanding academics by The College Board. “I was really happy. I wasn’t expecting it.”
Bradberry is enrolled at Pearson Online Academy, an international fully accredited K-12 virtual private school where she has taken online high school classes for two years. She has earned above average PSAT scores and maintains a 4.06 GPA while at Pearson.
The College Board National Recognition Programs award academic honors to underrepresented students. The four national recognition programs include the National African American Recognition Program, National Hispanic Recognition Program, National Indigenous Recognition Program, and National Rural and Small Town Recognition Program.
Bradberry began online classes during Covid when she was in 9th grade. “We had no choice so I took online classes from Arlington Tech.” Then 10th grade was virtual learning from Arlington County.
“I did the classes online and absolutely loved it. There was less stress, and the academics were great so I thought I should just continue.” She explains, “It eliminates all distractions like I’ve got to get to this class, can’t focus, etc.” Bradberry says when she is at home she has a controlled environment and only school to focus on.
Also she points out at home she can look out the window and see what is going on outside. “In school I missed the windows.”
Bradberry adds another reason this teaching method works for her is because she isn’t outgoing or social so she doesn’t miss having other students in the class.
On a typical day she says she wakes up at 9 am and pops on the computer. “I log in to see what I have to do for the day, to get feedback on my assignments. I work 6 hours; that’s what they recommend.” She takes a break for lunch when she gets hungry and then finishes the rest of her work. “I love being able to self-regulate. That’s not how Arlington County does it.” Bradberry says that sometimes she got bored when she was taking in-person classes.
Her classes include AP English which she has every day as well as World Geography and Environmental Systems every other day. She also has Psychology, and just this year Google added an IT support certificate. The English lesson for the day includes a link to reading, questions to answer, an activity and a quick quiz. If you don’t understand something, teachers are available by phone or email or can join the next lesson synchronously.
Bradberry has already finished her math and language requirements. “I took two years of Chinese in 9th and 10th grades. It was one of my favorite classes. I didn’t think it was too difficult. I loved the way each word has its own character. And we learned some of the culture and about the cities and got Chinese recipes.”
She says her favorite class is any history or social science. “I’ll have AP government next.”
Bradberry says once she graduates she is looking at four-year colleges and is keeping her mind open on applying and what the colleges offer.
She knows this method of learning isn’t the right one for everyone, but it is just right for her. “I can set my own goals at my own pace.”