Creating an Effective Virtual School Program: Administrators Are Sold on Virtual Schools-But Get Bogged Down in Execution. Here's What Creates Successful District Programs

By Sturgeon, Julie | District Administration, March 2007 | Go to article overview

Creating an Effective Virtual School Program: Administrators Are Sold on Virtual Schools-But Get Bogged Down in Execution. Here's What Creates Successful District Programs


Sturgeon, Julie, District Administration


Julie Young, president and CEO of Florida Virtual School in Orlando, is all smiles over the latest Advanced Placement test results that show Florida Virtual School has once again outscored both the state and nation, even though it works with many underserved students in the Sunshine State.

For example, in AP calculus, FLVS students' mean score for 2006 was 3.39, compared to 2.81 for the state, out of a top score of 5. And AP English literature and composition results showed a mean score of 3.03, compared to 2.63 for the state.

"Cutting edge is a good description for us now," says Young.

In fact, virtual schools could be the hottest trend in U.S. education today. Twenty-four states offer virtual school programs, which account for more than 500,000 courses, according to the D.C.-based North American Council for Online Learning's latest report. And statistics show a steady 30 percent enrollment growth annually, according to NACOL president and CEO Susan Patrick.

Connections Academy, which is based in Baltimore and provides courses for K10 virtual public schools, geared up to serve nearly 8,000 students in 10 states this school year--a 100 percent jump in enrollment from last year. Likewise, the Florida Virtual School--often considered the guru of this niche--suddenly faces a 60 percent increase in students this year. It's a good news--bad news scenario: helping more students is its mission, but growing enrollment numbers mean a need for more trained instructors and more courses down the line.

"Across the board you have without a doubt a technological movement in this country," says John G. Flores, CEO of the United States Distance Learning Association in Boston. "Distance learning is not only impacting education reform and education change, but more importantly it's giving students new options they've never had before."

Patrick claims only 30 percent of chemistry teachers have all the qualifications to teach in their field, and there aren't enough foreign language teachers to go around.

Online learning allows students anywhere to access teachers who are out of their zip code, and it also opens up course work to the homeschool crowd. Some administrators say students enroll because their families want to travel, and virtual school education becomes the means to enable this. Virtual schools also offer advanced courses that are not available in the brick-and-mortar buildings in some districts.

But such kudos for online learning these days amount to preaching to the choir--K12 administrators instead are eager to know how to take those first steps into cyberspace to ensure they have a high quality program for students.

Initial Choices

The choices begin immediately. If a district's state offers a statewide virtual school, individual districts may register for that. Districts can also partner with nonprofit providers, or for-profit curriculum providers such as Atlanta-based AMDG, Inc. or Connections Academy, most of which allow administrators either to buy a license that allows their own staff to teach the virtual lessons or tap into the company-hired instructors.

If a district enrolls a student in an online course that is sponsored by its statewide virtual school, the school pays tuition, ranging from $100 to a few hundred dollars per student every semester. Or if there is no virtual school, a regional or school-based virtual school could either develop a locally funded virtual school or try to obtain legislative funding from its state. Rules vary from state to state, says Liz Pape, CEO of the Virtual High School in Massachusetts. Course licenses range from $15,000 per semester for a district to $50,000 for a statewide license, which would be paid by the regional or school-based virtual school.

This is an improvement over the Wild West that Greg Morse, chairman of AMDG Inc., first encountered a decade ago. Morse recalls that when early adopters didn't have online courses to use, they launched Web sites that were essentially trading repositories that allowed administrators to take a course. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Creating an Effective Virtual School Program: Administrators Are Sold on Virtual Schools-But Get Bogged Down in Execution. Here's What Creates Successful District Programs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.