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Choosing the Best Online Middle School for Your High Achieving Child

Updated: May 24

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Choosing a Quality Online Middle School

Choosing a high quality online middle school requires a good deal of time, research, and thought. There are some standards for what constitutes a good online middle school, such as rigorous instructional standards, a strong community, and a conscious effort to facilitate social interaction. Academic standards provide a basic blueprint for each student and determine the core classes needed for online middle school students. Basic skills like grammar, arithmetic, and understanding the functions of government are among the general objectives of a typical online middle school education.

Differences in Academic Standards and Expectations

However, some online middle schools choose to raise standards and academic expectations for their students. Many online middle schools have at least one area of expertise where they are especially rigorous. For example, there are some private online schools who embrace a more challenging math and science education, while others focus on the fine arts. But there's one thing that the top private online middle schools have in common, and that's discipline. The idea behind a strict and rigorous environment is to maximize learning while minimizing distractions. In this article, we’ll tell you why we believe ICL Academy is the number one online school for middle schoolers.

ICL Academy: Background

ICL Academy is an accredited online school (grades 5-12) known for its well structured curriculum that's customized to meet individual student goals and needs, while helping them achieve their maximum potential. ICL follows a special framework known as the Impact Learning Model, where teaching, learning, and leadership skills are all emphasized in order to produce better results for students. Students are motivated through active encouragement in learning and are encouraged to find their own interests and pursue them with a passion. The curriculum at ICL is centered around developing strong leadership qualities in each student, with an emphasis on building character and instilling a sense of professionalism. ICL also integrates students' passions for basketball, tennis, golf, volleyball, music, and more into the curriculum.

Emphasis on Critical and Creative Thinking

As compared to other online middle schools, ICL Academy places extra importance on developing critical thinking and analytical abilities in its students. This is largely achieved through its rigorous curriculum, which involves studying each subject in a comprehensive and holistic manner in order to arrive at a full understanding of the subject matter.

Here is what you can expect as a middle school student at ICL Academy:

English and Literature

ICL's online middle school course list includes classes in English designed to teach students about literature. Students develop strong critical and creative thinking skills as they examine a story, including the structure, plot, and characters. Discussions will revolve around a story's themes and symbolism. Figurative language is analyzed and discussed as an integral part of the narrative of the story. Modern and highly relevant subjects such as the impact on social media on culture will also be discussed and analyzed.

Social Studies

The online middle school social studies curriculum begins with the study of ancient civilizations and ends with the founding of our nation. Students will begin studying both Western and Eastern civilizations, from ancient Hebrew societies to China and beyond. Topics cover ancient Africa, Greece, Rome, and the Near East.

The second year emphasizes studies in medieval Europe and its culture. Students will learn about the development of technology and its impact on trade and economic growth. Studies will cover the rise of the Enlightenment and its influence on our modern culture. Concepts like reason and authority and the basic rights of human beings will be explored and discussed. Students will learn about the foundations of democracy and their influence on our modern society.

The third year involves the continued study of Enlightenment theories and their impact on the founding of America. English parliamentary procedures will be discussed as an influence on our modern democratic system of government. Students will learn about the birth of a new nation and discuss its growth and evolution. Great emphasis will be placed on the Civil War and its lasting impact on our nation. The curriculum continues with an analysis of industrialism and how it affects our lives today. Students will learn about the social and economic problems that rose as part of industrialism and how they continue to influence our lives today.

Math and Science

Mathematical literacy and reasoning skills are a huge focus of ICL's online middle school math and science curriculum. Students in 6th grade will learn to work with integers and perform key operations such as rate, ratio, and percentage. 7th graders will apply mathematical reasoning to the study of proportional relationships, basic operations with rational numbers, expressions, and equations, solving geometry problems, and interpreting population data from a sample. By the 8th grade, students will be ready for basic algebra and beyond.

Science begins with a study of the earth and its elements. 6th grade students will explore the earth's history and formation. Topics expand into space and exploration, with an emphasis on earth's interior and surface systems. Topics like climate and weather are also explored, along with their impact on our lives. 7th grade science emphasizes ecology, plant, and animal science. Cells and living systems are among the primary topics covered, along with genetics and the human body. The emphasis is on scientific thinking and observation, both of which are needed for the next phase. 8th grade science covers topics in engineering and physical science. Students will learn how thermal energy affects particles and the relationships between objects. Object systems are explored, and students will study the transfer of energy from one object to another.

best online middle school

ICL's Reputation

ICL has a strong reputation as an online school that focuses on molding students into future leaders. Based on data shared with the education site Niche, the average SAT of ICL students was 1320 with an average ACT of 26. From 2020 - 2023, alums of ICL Academy were accepted into a number of prestigious colleges including NYU, UCONN, UPENN, Yale, and USC. This is unsurprising, given the research showing that colleges tend to view the best online middle schools and online high schools favorably.

ICL’s Endorsements

As one of our nation's top online middle schools, ICL has been lauded by major world leaders. Famous people such as Bill Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Novak Djokavic, Malcolm Gladwell, and Alicia Keys have praised it for its emphasis on leadership and community responsibility. ICL is WASC accredited, NCAA approved, and offers Dual Enrollment credit.

ICL’s Champion Mentors

Furthermore, ICL has partnered with Olympic medalists like Monica Seles, Tommy Hass, Kerry Walsh Jennings, and Bode Miller to mentor students and motivate them into positive role models for future generations. While other online middle schools focus exclusively on academics, with minimal focus on social interaction or partnership, ICL Academy believes that world class mentors play a crucial role in showing students what is possible, inspiring them to reach their peak potential, and giving them clear guidance and advice on how best to get there. No other online middle school allows this kind of up close and personal access to such elite performers, and for any athlete looking to gain an edge on the competition, ICL’s online middle school is the place to do it.

Comparing ICL to Other Online Middle Schools 

When we created ICL Academy, we sought to develop a fairly priced online middle school that would offer a world class education, teach leadership and instill life lessons to our students, and give them a great shot at getting accepted into a prestigious institute of higher learning. With a tuition of $17,200/year, ICL Academy is more affordable versus competitors like Stanford Online High School or Northstar, each of which cost over $25,000/year. Compared to alternatives like Pearson Online or Avenues Online, which offer more affordable pricing, ICL Academy has greater name recognition, more notable alumni, and a wider range of partners to ensure the highest quality of education. Furthermore, of all the potential online middle school options, ICL Academy is easily the best choice for student athletes, especially those who are aspiring to compete at the collegiate or professional levels.


ICL Academy is the transformative private online school for grades 5-12 that connects students’ passions with personalized academics, using the best in educational technology and philosophy to meet the demands of today’s generation. You can learn more about us here.

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