An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Hans de Grys, Upper School assistant director/science teacher, and Betty Benson, Upper School assistant director

Welcome to a special Global Online Academy (GOA) edition of Frequently Asked Questions! We have come to answer all of your questions about GOA.

We?? Who is “we”? Are you so important that you are using the majestic plural “Royal We” now?

Nope! We are Betty Benson and Hans de Grys, your two co-Site Directors for GOA at Lakeside! Here is our favorite photo together:

This is our second-favorite photo together (after hearing about how much candy Ms. Maiorano ate this Halloween):

What is GOA?

GOA is a consortium of more than 80 schools from around the world that have come together to offer innovative, dynamic, and interdisciplinary online courses. The teachers for all GOA classes are also teachers at the member schools, and all of the students in GOA courses are likewise enrolled in member schools. GOA was founded at Lakeside in 2011, and is acknowledged as one of the leaders in online education for high school students.

What’s so Global about it?

GOA member schools are located throughout the United States, as well as in China, Indonesia, South Africa, India, Portugal, Nigeria, Guatemala, Germany, Canada, Ghana, Slovakia, and Jordan.

Are most GOA Schools east or west?

What are GOA classes like?

Lakeside students report to us that GOA classes are about the same workload and difficulty as many junior and senior Lakeside electives. Classes have roughly 15-20 students, and involve some asynchronous work (e.g. “read this article and post your reaction to it on the discussion group before Wednesday”) and some synchronous work (“find a time to video chat with the other 3 members of your group to make a plan for your group project.”) While they don’t meet during a specific period, students typically need to log in and do some GOA work every weekday (and maybe once on the weekend – remember, when it’s Sunday afternoon in Seattle, it’s already Monday morning in Jakarta!). GOA classes count towards your maximum load of 7 courses. They are graded, and those grades will appear on your transcript.

What kinds of classes are offered?

GOA offers mostly semester-long classes that we usually think of as “electives.” They do not offer courses like Physics, US History, or Precalculus. Here are some examples of GOA courses that Lakesiders have taken recently:

  • Medical Problem Solving
  • iOS App Design
  • Climate Change and Global Inequality
  • Filmmaking
  • Prisons and Criminal Law
  • Japanese Language through Culture (year-long)

You can see the complete 2019-2020 catalog here:

The new 2020-2021 catalog will be published to the GOA website by early January (nearly all of the current classes will be offered again next year, along with some new ones).

Who can take a GOA class?

Most Lakesiders who take GOA classes are juniors or seniors. Students who are successful and enjoy their GOA class tend to be well-organized, responsible, and self-motivated learners who enjoy meeting new people and having new experiences. If you are a procrastinator who struggles with deadlines, GOA may not be for you. Highly motivated sophomores may also take a GOA class if they have the support of their advisor. Ninth graders do not normally participate in GOA.

How much does it cost?

One GOA course each semester (during the academic year) is included FREE with your Lakeside tuition! There are also GOA courses offered during the summer; they cost $750, but financial aid is available through a generous arrangement with our Lakeside Summer School program.

How do I sign up?

If you want to sign up for a GOA class for 2020-2021, you can do that during the upcoming January course sign up process (more details coming soon!). You can also request a GOA course right before the start of each semester (pending space availability) by finding the course in the GOA Course Catalog and clicking the red “Register” button.

How can I find out more?
  • Talk to either of the GOA Site Directors (Betty Benson or Hans de Grys)
  • Talk to one of the 45 or so Lakesiders who are currently taking a GOA course (if you pop by our office, we’ll let you look at this list)
  • Visit the GOA website:
What if I don’t think that online learning or understanding global issues is important?

Well, here’s our reaction to that: