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Friday, January 20, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

And around the various sources we go again for the news of the week. From the eSchool News.

Some students prefer taking classes online
The Associated Press

The Associated Press reports that at some schools in South Dakota, online classes have proved increasingly popular. The courses were originally intended for nontraditional students who lived far from campus. A recent study found that 42 percent of the students enrolled in South Dakota distance-education courses were located on campus at the university that was hosting the online course.

The Ohio Digital Classroom selects PowerMediaPlus.com as a media-on-demand provider for the state
January 11, 2006 - Chicago, IL, USA

CLEARVUE & SVE, along with eight Ohio public television stations and four Ohio educational technology agencies, have partnered to bring the vast media resources of PowerMediaPlus.com to classrooms throughout the state. "This is an exciting partnership for us, combining the reach of Ohio's public television stations and Ed Tech Agencies with the scope of the PowerMediaPlus.com digital delivery capabilities," said Mike Kroening, Vice President of Sales for CLEARVUE & SVE. "This important relationship will make it possible for Ohio educators to obtain the next generation in digital media content and curriculum integration features."

Virtual schools offer clubs, field trips

To counter the concerns that online instruction deprives students of close peer-to-peer interaction and other forms of socialization, a growing number of virtual-school programs are offering virtual "clubs" for participating students and organizing field trips that place students in the physical company of their online peers. Julie Young, president and chief administrative officer of the Florida Virtual School (FVLS), a provider of supplemental and full-time virtual instruction to students in Florida and internationally, said many of the social activities that students take part in through her organization mirror those of the contemporary work force.

This next two are from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development SmartBrief.

Pennsylvania districts urge overhaul of cyberschool funding
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

On the eve of a Harrisburg hearing Wednesday on the funding formula for Pennsylvania's 12 cyberschools, the state School Board Association has urged a moratorium on the creation of new ones. Districts want the state to pick up more of the cyberschools' costs.

Online gym classes encourage fitness for life
ABCNEWS

Fans of Minneapolis' online gym class, which requires that students keep a log of workouts and research fitness topics, say the course caters to the needs of kids with heavy course loads and of those with disabilities. Online gym teacher Frank Goodrich points out that students are more apt to stick with physical activities when they get to do the choosing.

And another from Edutopia News - the electronic newsletter from The George Lucas Educational Foundation.

School Boards Rethink Cyber Schools

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association is urging the state to halt the opening of online schools until officials determine a better funding formula for this new kind of charter school.

From the Google News Alert for virtual school.

Scio blazes a virtual charter school trail
kgw.com (subscription) - Portland, OR, USA

... Since classes began in September, Oregon Connections Academy is blazing the virtual-school trail even as the state wrestles with how schools like it should ... [More detailed description unavailable due to subscription requirement]

Janesville School Board considers new-school education
Janesville Gazette - Janesville, WI, USA

How could the Janesville public schools be improved? How about a school for high school students interested in engineering, drama or the fine arts? How about matching online courses to the needs of one student at a time? How about a school that enforces a dress code and strict standards of behavior? Or one for middle-school girls only-and another one for boys?

State school superintendent Kathy Cox coming to HoCo schools
Houston Home Journal - Perry, GA, USA

Kathy Cox, Georgia Superintendent of Schools, will visit Northside High School and Thomson Middle School this Friday. Cox will arrive at Northside High School at approximately 8:45 a.m. and end the day around 3:15 p.m. at Thomson Middle School. "The state of Georgia is using technology more and more to improve student achievement through programs like the Georgia Virtual School, the SAT On-line Prep Class, and other initiatives,” said Cox. “I'm coming to Houston County to see how they are using state-of the art technology and outstanding innovation to produce high-achieving students."

Do cyber charter schools get too much state money?
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Operators of Pennsylvania's Internet-based charter schools spend $2,400 to $7,230 to educate each child, but they bill taxpayers an average of $8,000 per student. The funding system has to change, said the House Education Committee's chairman, Jess Stairs, R-Mount Pleasant. "Changes are needed, but what those changes might be, I don't know yet," Mr. Stairs said yesterday after his committee heard from administrators of cyber schools, traditional public schools and the state Department of Education.

And the Google News Alert for cyber school.

Educators complain about cyber school spending
Uniontown Herald Standard - Uniontown, PA, USA

Public educators are complaining about the amount of money school districts are sending to the state's 12 cyber charter schools, saying there's not enough oversight in the online schools' spending and instruction.
The public school educators told the House Education Committee Wednesday it makes little sense for school districts to pay cyberschools an amount based on local per pupil spending rather than an evaluation of the cyberschool's actual costs and services. [See all stories on this topic]

OC board studies activities policies
Oil City Derrick - Oil City, PA, USA

The Oil City Area School Board undertook two policies Monday to comply with new state laws requiring Pennsylvania public schools to afford extracurricular and interscholastic activities to cyber school and home-schooled students. The non-traditional students must be residents of the school district to participate in everything from the football team to the physics club and cyber-school students must pay all fees and expenses associated with their participation. [See all stories on this topic]

Schools will seek cyber funding relief
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Allegheny County school superintendents plan to ask state lawmakers next week to slash the money that public schools must pay to cyber schools. "There's no equity there. That's the issue," said Hampton school Superintendent Lawrence Korchnak, who will speak on behalf of the superintendents Wednesday at an informational meeting of the House Education Committee. State law requires that public schools pay 80 percent of their per-pupil costs as tuition for students registered in their districts and enrolled in online charter schools. Cyber schools receive an average of about $7,500 per student from Allegheny County schools, Korchnak said.

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