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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Another One From NCSW@yahoogroups.com

Another one about cyber schools taken from NCSW@yahoogroups.com...

Educational service center heads virtual academy report


STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Governing Board heard reports on the Virtual Learning Academy, an online-based learning alternative, and technology upgrades during its regular meeting Thursday. The learning academy now encompasses 32 states, 157 school districts, more than 5,300 students and more than 1,600 teachers. The program is also in France, Japan and Korea. Another 30 districts have expressed interest in the program.

Superintendent Craig Closser spoke about speaking to educators from several states where students also take high-stakes tests like the Ohio Graduation Test. He noted he believes the learning academy could use the intervention curriculum for the OGT and change it slightly to meet intervention requirements for the California High School Exit Exam by Dec. 1. He added he also spoke to representatives from Indiana about the Indiana Graduation Qualifying Exam.


Bonnie DiNapoli gave a report on the second-grade curriculum for the learning academy, which is now ready. She noted the second grade is different than any other class because Ohio Content Standards require second-graders to practice writing skills. She said the learning academy will require an on-site adult mentor for each child enrolled in the course. Each student also will receive a learning kit mailed directly to them from the service center. Each kit costs approximately $40 and most school districts cover the cost. The kits include magnetic letters, primary colors and learning blocks.

Jeff Oblak gave a report on the preschool curriculum alignment program. The Jefferson County districts have agreed to a countywide collaboration in curriculum. Oblak explained the Ohio Department of Education has required a written curriculum for preschool programs.

He added the service center also worked with the Help Me Grow program, so educators will be able to track the kindergarten-readiness of the children in the program. Kindergarten teachers also will have an outline to see how each child has progressed.


"Local districts have from the beginning of the program chipped in," said Allen, adding the program could become one of the unfunded mandates. He noted the first year each teacher generated a $2,000 stipend for the program. The second and third years each teacher generated a $1,100 stipend. This year, the stipend is $1,000.

"Once it gets entrenched, once it has to be done, (ODE) is probably going to tell the districts they have to undertake the cost," said Allen.

(end of snips)
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