Purpose: The main objective of the DSP is to create a cohort of students at AAO who are working toward the Distinguished Scholars Award (DSA). Under the direction of the DSP advisor, (Dr. Bell and Natania Cook), AAO will assist students in their efforts to earn the DSA and help them develop the academic and leadership skills needed for post-high school success.
This program is open to the following AAO students:
- The student is a rising 8th–12th grader.
- The student will complete 2 high school credits through AAO each year. (Seniors who have been active in the program may request a reduction in required credits. 8th graders may participate if enrolled in 2 middle school credits or more.)
- The student maintains a cumulative 92% average in AAO high school classes to continue in the program. (Averages are confirmed at the end of each semester.)
- The student is academically motivated, intellectually curious, and interested in meeting other like minded students at AAO.
- Students will meet over Zoom the second and fourth Friday of the month as a cohort (Aug–April). The regularly scheduled time will be Fridays 11 AM EST. Time may vary depending on guest speaker availability.
- Natania Cook or Debra Bell will facilitate these meetings with input from students. In addition to getting to know one another, we will listen to featured speakers (such as homeschool graduates now working in various careers) and discuss timely topics (such as entrepreneurship, AI, and alternatives to college). Meetings will be recorded for those who cannot attend.
- Students will continue their interactions throughout the year via monitored discussion threads on Canvas.
- Students will receive coaching regarding college planning, merit scholarship opportunities, and college applications.
- Students will have opportunities for leadership positions in the Distinguished Scholars Program.
- Students’ participation and achievement will be listed on their AAO transcript.
- Students may list their participation in the program and their award (when achieved) on college applications.
- AAO will be able to provide more comprehensive letters of recommendation for DSP students.
- Students who earn a 95% GPA during the school year will receive a 10% discount on their AAO classes during the following school year. This benefit continues as long as the student continues in the program, the 95% GPA is maintained, and the student completes at least 2 high school credits through AAO during the previous school year.
- Students with a minimum 92% GPA may continue in the program and may list the DSP as an activity on their transcript.
- Students who earn 9 or more credits through AAO during high school (8th–12th) and achieve a minimum 95% overall average will qualify for a Distinguished Scholars Award. (8th graders enrolled in high school level credit-bearing classes, such as Algebra 1, French 1, Literature & Composition 8/9, etc. can count these toward the award. Middle school classes do not count.)
- Award recipients will be determined from the pool of qualified applicants who are also recommended by the AAO faculty as distinguished in areas of leadership, academic integrity, collegiality, and academic motivation.
- This achievement will be noted on their Aim Academy Online transcript.
- A Certificate of Achievement, suitable for framing, will be mailed to the student’s home address.
- Student must be enrolled in the DSP program while accruing credits. The only exception is students who enrolled in the pilot cohort (2023-24) may count high school credits already earned at AAO.
- Mini courses do not earn credit toward DSA. Non-graded classes do not count toward credit.
- Semester courses equal ½ credit. Full year courses equal 1 credit.
- Honors courses equal 1.25 credits. AP courses equal 1.5 credits.
*Program and award requirements remain fixed for students the year of their enrollment. Pricing may vary.
*Requirements and benefits for future cohorts may vary.