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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Who Are Virtual Schools Most Needed For?

This is not an unusual topic for me, but it is usually themed around homeschooler or charter schools. This time I'd like to go back to a larger look on this topic - who is the primary audience for virtual school opportunities? Or more along my lines of thinking, who should the primary audience be for virtual school opportunities?

The last time I posted an entry that looked at this froma broader viewpoint was almost a year ago (see What Are Virtual Schools For?). As bring up this topic again because I have seen a number of entries come across my Bloglines recently about designing virtual school for different groups of students, as examples see:

Just from these entries, we can see that at least some people think that the best and the brightest is the answer to my original questions, others would say those who are at-risk, while another group would claim that it should be for speciality areas.

For the record (and as I have said in the past), I am personally bias towards students in rural schools who are disadvantaged because their schools aren't able to attract teachers qualified to teach specialized courses or they simply don't have the enrolment figures to justify allocating a teacher to so few students. But that's just me.

What do you think? Based on the virtual school opportunities that are currently available, who is the primary audience for virtual school opportunities? Also, who should the primary audience be for virtual school opportunities?

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Blogger Kate Logan said...

We are serving a at-risk population at our online high school. Our school functions as a hybrid system, meaning that student pull all curriculum off our online site and communications between student and teacher take place online, but we have a building that the students come to where we provide transportation, meals, computers, SPED services, and four certified teachers to work with kids in small groups and one on one as well as traditional PE, weight training and art classes.

Our students are minority students, considered at-risk for the most part. Of the 70 students we had our first year (school year 04-05) 63 were considered drop outs from another district prior to enrolling with us.

We have been in operation for four semesters or two school years and have graduated 4 seniors with another 3-5 planning to graduate before the end of the fall 06 semester.

While we started serving mostly minority students (over 90%), this past year we are seeing more and more traditional white students coming to our school. These new students have had difficulties with behavior, learning disabilities (or mis-labeld LDs), amd/or social issues at their home high schools and are thriving in our online/onsite environment.

I think virtual schools are most needed for those kids that traditional high school just doesn't serve well, namely the top and bottom students and the kids who don't "fit in" for whatever reason.

4:45 PM  
Blogger MKB said...

See Kate, I can't argue with you here. For those people familiar with my blog, I'm all about access - which is why I spend so much time focusing upon rural students. I feel that rural students need to have the same access to educational opportunities as their urban counterparts.

The group of students that you work with are in the same league - access to educational opportunities that they otherwise do not have the ability to access because of learning or behavioural issues.


9:29 PM  

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