Making the Documentary – Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid

Written by Ellen R. | Posted in Why Whitmore

Steve Ellen and Sandy with Brooke of Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid.

Parents Want to Know – Is Virtual School Right for My Child?

Viewpoint, the educational program hosted by Dennis Quaid, interviewed Ellen and Steve Ray, of Whitmore School to explore the advantages of flexible, online schooling. The documentary, released to Public Television stations in early 2024, delves into how online education, specifically Whitmore School’s ‘Self-Paced Mastery Learning,’ provides a customizable and freedom-driven alternative to traditional schooling.Ellen and Steve in the Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid studio filming the Documentary

The episode features the expertise of Ellen Ray, Whitmore School Principal, who helps educate the Viewpoint audience on the benefits of online schooling. Viewers can expect to gain valuable insights into how online education can be tailored to meet the individual needs of students, offering a more personalized and supportive learning environment.

Whitmore School, known for its innovative approach to online education, allows students to progress at their own pace while mastering each subject before moving on to the next. This flexibility addresses the diverse needs of students who may excel in certain areas or require additional time for mastery.

With the release of this episode in early 2024, Viewpoint and Whitmore School anticipate sparking important conversations about the evolving landscape of education. Families seeking alternative education options will find inspiration and information to make informed decisions about their children’s academic journey. For more information visit:

Ellen and Steve Share Their Exciting Adventure of Filming the Documentary

The initial interview:

In the summer of 2023, Melissa, Admissions Director, put through a call from the producer of a public show in Florida. Hmmm. This sounds interesting ….

Eddie Mills, Senior Producer, Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid, explained that topics for the show are chosen based on viewer’s questions, and recently, parents have so many questions about virtual education. Their team researched 100s of virtual schools and selected the top 12 to interview and learn more about what makes the school an educational standout. I was not surprised that Whitmore School was in the top 12, but I still felt so proud that the producers of Viewpoint asked us to share our unique educational approach with their public television viewership.

What makes Whitmore School unique?”, he asked. 

I enthusiastically rattled on about Whitmore School being formed by a parent in need of an alternative school for his daughter, self-paced mastery learning, one-to-one teacher interaction on every lesson, my own daughter’s success graduating from Whitmore with honors, and students going to school any time of day, from anyplace in the world where they have Internet Access.

Our Personal Story

Our daughter was struggling in the 9th grade in our local traditional school, considered to be one of the best in South Carolina. Some courses were boring and too slow, and some courses were too fast and she fell behind.  She was uncomfortable being labeled as “special ed” and with the bullying and teen social drama. I became concerned about her low self-esteem.

We decided to change schools midyear in January at the semester break. When I learned about self-paced mastery learning, no textbooks, and being able to work one-to-one with her teachers, I knew Whitmore School was the right choice for her. Overnight, her school-related anxiety was released. Imagine the sullen girl who had to be dragged out of bed every morning to go to school, was now happily sleeping in until 8:00 am and coming downstairs ready to go to school! Seriously, this happened overnight. Now, “going to school” meant she could begin at 9:00 am instead of catching the bus at 6:13 am! No school bus, no school lunches, and no drama. Nice!

She loved communicating online directly with all of her teachers, (where her peers would not laugh at her questions). Pretty soon, she developed a routine and a school schedule (that we approved). Empowering her to set her own schedule was the first step in building her confidence. She felt in control of her education!

8:00 am – hygiene and chores
9:00 am – 1 hour spent working on each course
Noon – break
1:00 pm – work (she got an afternoon job during the day when most teens are still in school)
5:00 pm – check courses for revisions
6:00 pm – family dinner and free time
9:00 pm – reading for English course
10:00 pm – wind down and bed

Alina graduates

Our daughter discovered just how smart she is at Whitmore School. She thrived and graduated with all A’s and B’s.



Viewpoint Project chooses to feature Whitmore School!

Needless to say, Whitmore School was selected as an expert in virtual education, because we understand both the parent’s perspective and the school administrator’s perspective. We were thrilled to be invited to the Viewpoint Project studio in Florida to film the documentary.

Hair and Makeup

Steve - makeup


Yes, everything you imagine about filming for television is true: bright lights, cameras and wires everywhere, adds 10 lbs to your weight, Green Screen (we liked the brick background best).

Miami in September is hot and humid, and I was grateful for a little help with hair and makeup.

Steve gets powdered to reduce the shine.

5 1/2 Hours of Filming for 6 1/2 Minutes of Video

Filming the documentary for Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid

The crew was fabulous and calmed our nerves. Even though there were bright spotlights and multiple cameras, Brooke coached me. “Just have a conversation with a friend. Stay focused on her and ignore the cameras.” And then, if I looked off into space, umm, umm, umm, or lost my train of thought, she gently said,

“Let’s try that again.”

“Let’s do another take on that topic.”

“One more time.”

We discussed several parent concerns related to learning pace, curriculum, and teen social pressures that some students may face in traditional school settings. Since we had these concerns ourselves when my daughter struggled in traditional high school, it was easy to share our story of how Alina found her academic success in Whitmore School’s unique online learning environment.

Behind the Scenes

Steve Ellen and Sandy arrive at the Viewpoint Project studio in Miami, FL for filming the documentary.








Niche safest school ranking

As an online school, your child will “go to school” in a physically and emotionally safe learning environment – Your Home – with your guidance on safe Internet use. Whitmore School has earned the Safest School ranking from Niche. Read student reviews on Niche.



Ellen, PrincipalWritten by:

Ellen Ray, Principal and parent of Alina, 2009 Graduate

February 13, 2024 in , ,

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Convenient. Flexible. Interactive.