Acellus Academy online private school review
A self-paced online curriculum that uses engaging and professionally recorded videos.
With an extensive course list that includes Advanced Placement courses, STEM career-focused pathways and Career and Technical Education classes, Acellus Academy could be a good option for self-motivated students who are interested in learning at their own pace. But it doesn’t offer the option for students to socialize with classmates, so parents will be on the hook for planning social activities outside of school. It’s also heavily focused on video learning, which might not be ideal for all types of learners.
Is Acellus Academy available in my state?
Acellus Academy is available in all 50 states as an online private school.
How does Acellus Academy work?
Acellus Academy is a fully accredited virtual private school that uses self-paced video lessons filmed by teachers from around the country — though it’s unclear whether they’re required to be state-certified.
After each lesson, your child completes an assessment to test their understanding of the material. If they show they’ve mastered the concept, they can move on to the next lesson.
If your child is struggling with a topic, you can access additional resources, including help videos, extra practice problems and an online lesson manual. You can also contact their teacher through the school’s messaging system.
Is it self-paced or on a daily schedule?
This program is entirely self-paced and is available 24/7 all year long.
How are student progress and attendance monitored?
Acellus Academy stresses student progress more than attendance. It tracks daily attendance based on whether your child logs in to the system. But students earn course credit when they demonstrate mastery of the course material — not by simply showing up to class.
Students will need to meet weekly progress goals to keep on track to earn credit for their courses. The Live Monitor online tool tracks student progress in real-time. You’ll get a notification if the system detects your child may be struggling with a concept.
As your child works through the course, their report card is automatically updated. You can log in to your parent portal to view or print a report card at any time.
Is Acellus Academy accredited?
Yes, Acellus Academy is a regionally accredited private school with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The College Board has approved its Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has approved its core courses.
What are the perks of Acellus Academy?
Here’s how Acellus sets itself apart:
- No age limit. While students need to be at least five years old to enroll, there is no maximum age limit. Even adults can take courses to earn a diploma.
- Extensive course selection. In addition to core subject areas, Acellus offers electives, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, Career and Technical Education and STEM career-focused pathways.
- Diverse videos. Lessons are professionally filmed in a wide variety of locations — not only in front of a blackboard. For example, one history video follows a teacher on the Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts.
What to watch out for
Families should consider the following drawbacks before enrolling:
- Video learning. The curriculum focuses heavily on learning videos. There are no physical textbooks or live classroom teaching from a teacher.
- Automated writing feedback. Acellus uses a computer program to give feedback on a student’s writing, including grammar, spelling, vocabulary, structure and style. Nuances in writing can get lost when it’s critiqued using an algorithm and not a real person.
- No socialization. Acellus Academy doesn’t organize any local in-person activities for students and families to socialize.
- Heavy parent involvement. The parent is in charge of keeping students on track, monitoring progress and reporting attendance.
- Exam-focused. Students answer questions after each lesson to test their understanding and take an exam after each unit.
Compare other K-12 online schools
How much does it cost to attend Acellus Academy?
Acellus Academy uses a subscription-based plan to access its courses. You can choose a monthly payment plan of $249 or pay $2,400 for the full year. Your plan lets you take one to six classes at a time.
Scholarships and discounts available
Acellus offers a few options for tuition assistance:
- Roger Billings Scholarship Program. Students who enroll in this program attend weekly online lectures on the importance of education and get discounted tuition rates.
- Lear Scholarship Program. This two-year program allows students to get their high school diploma while earning college-level credits and a professional certificate at the Acellus Academy campus in Kansas City, Missouri. We reached out to Acellus about whether the scholarship offers discounted tuition rates, but they avoided answering our question.
- State-funded scholarships. Check your state government’s website to see if you qualify for scholarships or financial assistance. Acellus Academy also has a few useful links for potential scholarships on its website.
What is the cancellation or refund policy?
For new parent accounts, you can request a full refund within 30 days of enrolling your child. After that trial period has ended, your tuition payments are nonrefundable.
What is my role as a parent?
Parents take a very active role in this curriculum. Although you won’t need to grade any work, you’re responsible for supervising your child, providing learning assistance and keeping them on track within the program.
How much computer time is involved?
Since all the course materials are delivered online, Acellus Academy requires students to be on the computer the entire school day — more than most online public schools. It’s worth noting that there are a few special lessons sprinkled throughout each course that may include hands-on projects and activities.
Am I responsible for providing the technology and textbooks for lessons?
Each student needs a device with Internet access, such as a computer, tablet or mobile phone. You can purchase a locked-down Acellus device from its store using a discount code in your parent portal.
You won’t need to purchase any additional textbooks, but you'll need some basic school supplies, such as paper and pencils.
How will my child be able to socialize with other kids?
Acellus Academy doesn’t offer any opportunities to interact with other children. As the parent, you’ll be responsible for signing your child up for extracurricular activities outside of school to help with socialization.
Types of courses and programs offered
Acellus offers an impressive list of curricula, including two preschool courses to help students entering kindergarten. Here’s what’s on offer:
- Language arts
- Social Studies
- Social and emotional education
- Foreign languages
- Fine arts
- Career and technical education
- AP classes
- STEM courses
Is there a curriculum for children with special needs?
Acellus offers special education courses, which can be further adapted as necessary. It can also individualize course material and adjust the way it assesses students to meet each child’s unique needs.
Are students required to complete state testing?
While Acellus doesn’t require students to participate in state testing, you should check with your school district to make sure you’re satisfying your local state requirements.
Acellus Academy reviews and complaints
Reviews for Acellus Academy are mostly positive. Parents enjoy that they can choose the courses their children take. One parent appreciated the Live Monitor tool, which helps keep their teenaged child accountable and on track. Many students enjoy the videos and the courses’ self-paced design that allows them to work ahead.
The main complaint is that the curriculum may lack specific stimulation for some children. Since lessons are delivered exclusively through videos, hands-on activities like handwriting, drawing, art and science experiments are the parent’s responsibility to organize. One parent described Acellus Academy as a good supplement, rather than an all-in-one education solution.
How do I enroll my child in Acellus Academy?
Parents can enroll their child in Acellus Academy by following these steps:
- Go to the Acellus Academy website and click Enroll Now in the menu bar.
- Fill out the information to create a parent account.
- Enter your child’s information, including their name and date of birth.
- Enroll in up to six courses.
- Receive your child’s student ID and password to begin the coursework immediately.
When do I need to enroll my child?
You can enroll your child at any time with year-round open enrollment.
Does Acellus Academy offer summer and holiday breaks?
Since Acellus is self-paced, you plan your own breaks and vacations.
Attendance doesn’t impact course credit, so you can use whatever schedule best fits your family’s needs. If your child doesn’t log in, they will simply be considered absent for the day.
Although Acellus Academy doesn't have an attendance requirement, every state has an attendance reporting mandate that parents should be aware of to set expectations.
Acellus Academy offers professional videos and gives parents useful tools to track student progress. Its program is truly self-paced with no due dates. But parents play an integral role in making sure their children stay on target and reach their weekly goals.
If you’re looking for more tactical and kinesthetic programming, you might want to browse other K-12 online schools.