Why Did Jazz Jennings From ‘I Am Jazz’ Leave Her High School for Online School?

Jazz Jennings | Jazz Jennings Instagram

High school can be a minefield for most teens. From the pressures to succeed academically to the social community, the combination can be combustible for adolescents. And for teen Jazz Jennings from I Am Jazz, the weight of a traditional high school became just too much.

During her junior year of high school, Jennings was thriving but still felt as though something was off. “I was stressing out too much,” she told Mic. Filming her show and keeping a high octane pace, which included being the class valedictorian, was overwhelming.

She explained more on YouTube about why she ultimately made the decision to switch to a virtual high school.  “I had this weird feeling like I’m not supposed to be living this life,” she said with regard to coming back to school after being off for summer. “I was very unhappy at school even though I was achieving a lot academically.” But admitted she had a falling out with old friends from middle school and wasn’t gelling with the group at high school.

What did Jennings do about school?

Ultimately, Jennings did not opt for homeschooling but rather a virtual school.  Homeschooling and virtual schools are entirely different too, Mic points out. Homeschooling requires the parent to deliver the education. Whereas a virtual school has teachers and a curriculum, which is what Jennings chose.

But virtual school is not for everyone. “You definitely have to be self-motivated to push yourself to do the assignments,” Jennings said. “There aren’t teachers there handing you work in a school setting so you have to be able to work independently.”

When Jennings made the decision to switch to a virtual school she received support from fans. “As a girl who graduated from virtual school….I fully support virtual school. High school is tough and not for everyone, especially when you’re different,” one person tweeted.

Does she like virtual school now that she is enrolled?

Once she made the leap, Jennings never looked back.  “Virtual school provides me with the flexibility and freedom to get ahead in school but on my own time,” she told Mic. “Everything through the virtual school is well organized and the teachers provide good feedback.”

But Jennings doesn’t only take high school classes online. She wrapped up her high school credits and also takes courses at a local college through dual enrollment. Ultimately, Jennings will graduate with both a high school and associates degree.

What did her parents think?

When she discussed changing schools on the show with her parents, they seemed concerned. “You need to be in school, I’m sorry,” her mother remarked. Her mom said in a side interview she knew her daughter was unhappy in school for some time, but every year they get through it. “To me, leaving high school is like dropping out,” he mother added. “And she needs structure.”

While Jennings told her parents she didn’t want to feel unhappy for the next two years, her father said. “Don’t you think a lot of high school kids feel that way?” Jennings agreed but said a lot of high school kids don’t have her added pressure. She adds that school exacerbated her binge eating. And that making a change would help.

So how do her parents feel about virtual school today? Find out when I Am Jazz season 5 debuts Tuesday, January 1 at 10 pm on TLC.

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