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Friday, January 06, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

We have a lot from a bunch of different sources this week. These first couple actually come from eSchool News Online.

Students get access to classes statewide
Mobile Register - Mobile, AL, USA

Students at Alma Bryant High School in Bayou La Batre will soon be able to take classes being taught at schools across the state via the Internet. Bryant was one of 46 Alabama schools to receive a technology grant known as ACCESS (Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide). It's part of a $3.4 million statewide pilot program. Officials hope ACCESS will one day allow students throughout the state to take unique electives and advanced courses offered elsewhere, according to the State Department of Education, which chooses the schools that get the money. [Directly to the Mobile Register]

More S.D. students taking classes online
ArgusLeader.com - Sioux Fall, SD, UGA

A rapidly growing number of college students are avoiding lectures and early morning commitments by taking classes online through South Dakota's public universities. So many in fact, that the number of credit hours delivered electronically in 2004-05 is 36 percent higher than the previous year. More than four out of 10 of those students are even living on campus, but for one reason or another choose to take classes over their personal computers. [Directly to the ArgusLeader.com]

Webcast: Virtual school helps at-risk students succeed

Online instruction has helped several at-risk Illinois students finish their high school education and earn their diploma, when it's likely many of these students otherwise would have dropped out of the system, said Sarah Antrim-Cambium, the Illinois Virtual High School (IVHS) coordinator for participating schools in Cook County. Antrim-Cambium was speaking at a Dec. 14 webcast sponsored by the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL). The purpose of the event was to highlight how virtual schooling can be used to reach students who are at risk of failing or of dropping out of the traditional school system.

This next one is from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development SmartBrief.

Pennsylvania to review cyberschool funding formula
eSchool News - Bethesda, MD, USA

Pennsylvania lawmakers will hold hearings this year to revisit the state's funding formula for its 12 charter cyberschools, which currently serve more than 10,000 students. District leaders contend the amounts they've had to give cyberschools exceed the online schools' actual costs. [May require free registration]

These two are from Edutopia News - the electronic newsletter from The George Lucas Educational Foundation.

Web Courses Offer Students Second Chance
The Herald - Rock Hill, SC, USA

Students in York, South Carolina, who are failing or nearly failing high school courses needed for graduation have a new online tool that aims to help them. Starting this month, the local school district will launch NovaNet.

Online Learning

Throughout the country, schools are turning to online courses to enhance and enrich their curriculum. Learn more about this nationwide trend in Edutopia's multimedia special report on online learning.

This next one comes from EdTech Trends.

Online state program expands schools' curricula
The Des Moines Register - Des Moines, IA, USA

Cassidy Thompson was skeptical about taking a class taught by a teacher located 25 miles away from her Story County high school. But Cassidy said she's learned more from Iowa Learning Online 's physics class than she would have from a traditional high school class. "It's been a challenge, but it's been good," said Cassidy, 17, a senior at Maxwell-Collins High School. "If we wouldn't have been offered the class online, we wouldn't have been able to take physics."

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. The Google News Alert for the terms cyber and school and the terms virtual and school.

Students in dark on cyber school crash
Australian - Australia

Students at Australia's best-known computer training college could lose thousands of dollars each if its owners fail to find a buyer. Computer Power's 1254 students and 90 staff at the college, which operates 11 training facilities in Australia and New Zealand, arrived for classes this week to find doors locked and the company in the hands of administrators. One student told The Australian he had been unable to get any information on the future of the college, and all calls went unanswered. The college's website had no information.

Bricks v. Clicks in Pa. funding fight
eSchool News (subscription) - Bethesda, MD, USA

In the latest salvo in the battle over cyber school funding, Pennsylvania legislators say they want to reduce the amount of money that cyber schools receive under the state's current formula. These schools don't incur the same per-pupil costs of traditional bricks-and-mortar schools, state legislators argue--and funding them at the same per-pupil levels takes funding away from traditional-school students. Pennsylvania state lawmakers are looking to revise a funding formula that reportedly allows the state's 12 cyber charter schools to pocket more money than their expenses--a formula that has been sore spot with school districts since it was implemented in 2000.

Gettysburg board split on cyber student decision
Gettysburg Times - Gettysburg, PA, USA

Amid conflicting viewpoints among board members, the Gettysburg Area school board passed a motion Monday evening to allow a cyber charter school student to participate in extracurricular speech and debate activities at no cost. The motion passed 4-3, with board members Ron Weaner, Dale Biesecker, Doyle Waybright and Todd Orner voting in the affirmative and Marcia McClain, Terrence McClain and board president Pat Symmes voting no. The boardís policy committee will meet Thursday to begin formulating a policy for future requests, said superintendent Dr. David Mowery.

Virtual High School For Katrina Victims
InternetNews.com - USA

Katrina took their high school down, and their chemistry teacher left town. But 28 students at Pass Christian High School will still get a shot at passing chemistry, thanks to an online course administered by Michigan Virtual High School (MIVH). MIVH spokeswoman Erin Stang wasn't sure how the Mississippi high school administrators found her organization, a non-profit funded by Michigan.

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