Virtual School Meanderings

July 8, 2020

NCVirtual E-lert For July 7 (1st Day Of Summer Session Complete / Fall Calendar Change)

An item from another US-based K-12 online learning program.

July 7, 2020
Greetings, everyone!
The first day of our summer session is complete! Be sure to check that your students were able to log in.
Our Standard Start classes will now begin on August 17.
See all the details below, and please forward this e-lert to any stakeholders who may need it.
Standard Start Beings August 17
In response to Senate Bill 704, NCVirtual is adjusting its Standard Start calendar. With this adjustment, Standard Start classes will now begin on August 17, 2020. The Standard Start end date, Jan. 8, 2021, has not changed. Our Early Start calendar will remain the same with classes starting on August 12, 2020, and ending on Dec. 11, 2020. We hope this calendar adjustment better meets the needs of our districts and schools and the unique challenges they are facing this fall.
Here are the key dates for each calendar:
Early Start
Starts: August 12, 2020
Day 5 No-Show Report Posted: August 20, 2020
Drop/Add Date: August 25, 2020
Ends: Dec. 11, 2020
Final Grades Posted: Dec. 17, 2020
Standard Start
Starts: August 17
Day 5 No-Show Report: August 25, 2020
Drop/Add Date: August 28, 2020
Ends: Jan. 8, 2021
Final Grades Posted: Jan. 14, 2021
Summer Session – Starts July 7!
Summer classes began today!
Student Access
Please remember, we do not send login details to students. Be sure your school shares those login details with students. Our summer session is very short, so it is important that students have a good start.
Guides
We have printable guides for everyone!
See our full Summer Session guide for schools.
Contact Info
We (and your students) need your summer ELA contact information. If you have not already done so, please let us know your contact information here: NCVirtual Summer 2020 ELA Contact Information form, and be sure your enrolled students know, also.
Dates
The last day to register for summer is July 13.
The last day to drop students is July 20.
Remember, NCVirtual can’t drop students. Be sure your students have your summer contact information in case they need to be dropped.
Remote Instruction Plans
We are here to help with your remote instruction plans! We have a number of programs and resources for you.
Are you looking for remote learning and instruction PD? Visit our Digital Transition page to stream our archived webinars and sign up for future events.
Do you have a teacher in a high-risk group who can’t return to the classroom? If so, try our Partnership Course Program. We will provide the course and all the technology. Your teacher will just have to teach!
Do you have students who did not receive all the instruction they needed in 8th-grade math and are now entering Math 1? Our highly successful Co-teaching Intervention Program would be great for those students. We also have intervention courses for Math 2, 3, Biology, English 2, and Chemistry.
See all the ways we can help on our Building Your Partnership with NCVirtual page.
Registration is Open for 20-21
Visit our 2020-2021 Academic Year page for all the registration details.
Need a Section?
Do you need an Early Start or yearlong section that we’re not offering? Submit a request to our Virtual Support Center, and we will try to make that happen!
Webinars and Office Hours
Digital Transition Office Hours and Webinar
This spring, we hosted an unprecedented number of on-demand webinars for North Carolina teachers who found themselves in a remote-instruction environment for the first time.
We hosted 94 sessions in 54 days. But even more impressive is that 30,328 educators attended.
Our webinars (along with our teachers) are on a break, but look for them to return later this summer and next fall. They likely won’t come at the same rate, but we’ve heard you! We know you want them to continue.
For now, you can stream all the webinars that we archived. Visit our Digital Transition resource page to view them. We really have something for everyone. Please forward to any stakeholders who may be interested.
Lunch with NCVirtual
The Outreach and Support team has extended its support office hours to Monday-Friday from noon to 1 p.m. Visit our Lunch with NCVirtual page for details and the link to join us in our online room.
NCDPI Reopening Webinars
In order to support your reopening planning teams, NCDPI work groups are pleased to offer virtual office hours each Wednesday through June. This link will guide your team members to a flyer that lists the topics and login information/links for designated morning and afternoon sessions. Additionally, the flyer contains links to new on-demand webinars. It will be helpful for your reopening planning team members to view these webinars, if possible, in advance of logging into the virtual office hours. New webinars will be added to this document as they are finalized and uploaded.
Please keep in mind the virtual office hours are an open forum. There is no set agenda other than to respond to questions which makes it difficult to predict participant volume. It is not our intention to create frustration. If an individual should login and need to leave prior to the opportunity to pose their question, we ask that they log the question by clicking here. This form will be monitored and responses generated. As a reminder, questions about the recent public health guidance can be directed to strongschoolsnc@dhhs.nc.gov.
Current Reporting
What Grades Are Currently Posted?
June 4 – Final Grades for Traditional Calendar Courses Posted in the Registration System
What’s Next on the Schedule?
July 13 – Summer Session Day-3 No-Show Report Posted.
Reporting Overview
See our Grades and Testing Quick Reference Guide for an overview of our reporting. We have details on our Student Status (No-Show) Reports, Progress Reports, Final Grade Reports, and how we calculate grades.
Reminders
Don’t forget to check out our NCVPS Now page for live program updates.
THANKS, EVERYONE!
Your North Carolina students appreciate your dedication and hard work!
North Carolina Virtual Public School | 1017 Main Campus Drive, Partners I Bldg., SUITE 3900Raleigh, NC 27606

 

Register Now For Summer & Fall Online Courses

An item from a US-based K-12 online learning program.

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Registration is open for 2020-2021!

All VHS Learning courses are open for registration, including fall, full-year, summer school, and ongoing credit recovery! Choose from over 200 online classes to earn credit, explore new subjects, and achieve academic goals. Fall and full-year classes begin September 2nd. Register now for best availability!

Register Now

VHS Learning offers fall, spring, and full-year courses that fit into students’ busy schedules. From STEM courses with hands-on labs to humanities that broaden their understanding of the human experience, students can always find something to pique their interest.

4-week summer session begin July 20th! Summer courses are teacher-led, have established deadlines, and are available for 0.5 credits. All eligible courses are NCAA-approved.

Advanced Placement®

AP classes give students the opportunity to study advanced topics in high school and potentially earn college credit. Offering AP online is a great way to provide options for students that are otherwise too costly. VHS Learning students consistently score higher than the national average on AP exams.

Credit Recovery

Credit Recovery courses are self-paced, so motivated learners can complete their course in as little as four or eight weeks. Courses are available for 0.5 and 1 credit and can start at any time.

Did you know that students and parents can register and pay for VHS Learning courses individually? Students will be provided with transcripts to submit to their school for credit. If you would like to provide this option for your students and parents, please send them the link: vhslearning.org/get-started.


VHS Learning (VHS, Inc.) is a nonprofit leader providing world-class online programs to students and schools everywhere. Our program is accredited by Middle States Association (CESS), ACS Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and Cognia and our courses are approved by NCAA.
   

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July 2020 Newsletter: Canadians Deserve A Better Internet

This was an interesting item from a Canadian outlet that could have major implications for K-12 distance, online, and blended learning in Canada.

Member Newsletter

July 2020

Canadians deserve a better internet

New report: Canadians Deserve a Better Internet 2020

CIRA’s latest report details Canadians’ views on key digital and internet policy issues that will help inform policy discussions ahead of the Canadian Internet Governance Forum.

Overall, the report shows Canadians’ growing anxiety about cybersecurity-related issues, including a significant drop in their willingness to disclose personal information for better content and services online. In 2019, 72 per cent of Canadians said they were willing to disclose some or a little personal information in exchange for valuable content or service. Only one year later, with the exception of online banking services, the vast majority of Canadians say they are unwilling to share their personal data in exchange for better online services. Read the full report here.

Contribute to the discussion by registering for the fully-virtual free event, which has been rescheduled to November 24th and 25th due to COVID-19. Registration will re-open in October—stay tuned!


CIRA’s Board of Directors Election: Help shape Canada’s digital future!

Earlier this summer, interested and qualified individuals had the opportunity to apply for the Nomination Committee slate in the Board of Directors election. Applications are currently being reviewed and the candidates who will appear on the final Nomination Committee slate will be posted on our election site on July 29.

This same day marks the launch of our next round of nominations where interested and qualified CIRA members will have another opportunity to apply to be a board director, through the exclusive Member slate. If you have the skills and experience we’re looking for in a board director, consider applying to join CIRA’s board.


Community Investment Program: This year’s grant recipients are announced!

One June 25, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) announced the latest recipients of its annual $1.25 million Community Investment Program granting initiative. The 20 funded projects will help improve internet infrastructure, digital literacy, and cybersecurity “street smarts” for students and Indigenous, rural, and Northern communities across the country.

To date, the Community Investment Program has awarded $7.95 million across 171 projects. Learn more about this year’s list of grant recipients.


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Education Dive – The Impact Of COVID-19 On E-Learning

Over the past week or two – maybe more – the various newsletters that I have received for Education Dive has included this at the top.

Industry DiveTRENDLINE

The Impact of COVID-19 on E-LearningIn our latest Trendline, explore how school districts are thinking about the back-to-school season and how coronavirus has pushed many to consider hybrid models and remote-learning options. Access now.

I haven’t had much of a chance to review the full content, but I did register and took a quick look to see several articles related to remote learning and hybrid learning.  Check it out yourself…

State Virtual Schools Vs Course Choice In Pandemic Response

An interesting item from John Watson.  One of the things that John doesn’t get into below is that most of the state virtual schools are non-profit, almost service ventures (i.e., their role is to provide opportunity and access to students in their state), whereas many of the course choice operators are either for profit or operated by for profit.

Now I know that in the US, there is a large segment that has just accepted the idea that for profit corporations should have the ability to directly operate (and profit from) public education – and not that I’m saying John is one of those folks.  But I do think that this reality is something that should be included in the discussion of these topics.

Essentially, in addition to John’s question about “relative merits of using state virtual schools, versus course choice programs, among states that wish to promote supplemental online learning course availability for students in mainstream districts,” we should also consider what impact that has on who actually receives the money that we have allocated to public education.

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State virtual schools vs course choice during the pandemic 

BY JOHN WATSON

Over the last ten years or so there has been a quiet debate about the relative merits of using state virtual schools, versus course choice programs, among states that wish to promote supplemental online learning course availability for students in mainstream districts. The pandemic may be providing an additional data point in this debate—although it’s still early.

State virtual schools are entities that are subsidized by the state government to provide online learning opportunities to students across the state. Examples include state virtual schools in South Carolina, Georgia, Montana, Idaho, and about two dozen states in total. In some states (e.g. Michigan) the state virtual school also plays a leading role in research and reporting. In other states (e.g. Florida) the state virtual school also provides a full-time school option for students. Still, the core of all such entities is providing supplemental online learning courses.

Course choice (also commonly referred to as “course access”) describes a set of state-level policies and programs that allow students to choose an online course from one or more providers, and have their public education funds flow to the online course provider. The key element of the policy, as the term suggests, is that students and parents have the right to choose a course, with relatively few restrictions on their options imposed by the state or the student’s district of enrollment.

I say “quiet debate” because I’m not aware of any conference presentations, op-eds, or other avenues in which the merits of the two approaches have been openly debated. Also, in three states (Georgia, Florida, and Michigan), the two policy strategies work in tandem.

But those three states are the exception. The other dozen states that have course choice policies do not have state virtual schools, and the other states that have state virtual schools don’t have course choice. In Louisiana and Utah, the course choice policy seems to have been part of an explicit shift away from supporting the state virtual school.

What are we seeing during the pandemic? What follows are some observations based mostly on media reports. To be clear, this is not the subject of a serious study. But it appears that early data points suggest that state virtual schools are better positioned to respond to the growth in remote learning needs than the course choice programs.

One main reason for this difference is that state virtual schools are actual entities—with leaders, staff, offices, etc—that can receive additional government money and scale up relatively quickly. Course choice is mostly based on a policy shift that allows students to select an online course, with a limited entity overseeing the policy. In addition, most state virtual schools have a longer history than most course choice programs, and in many cases are better known.

Examples of increased support for state virtual schools during the pandemic include:

Most, if not all, of this funding increase is from federal funds via the CARES Act and other funding flowing to states. Therefore, it is likely that this will be a one-time increase, pending additional federal funding.

In contrast, we’re not seeing examples of course choice being pushed in response to school closures and the need for remote learning. In fact, in discussing the new course choice program in Illinois, Chalkbeat asks this question: Illinois debuted a virtual learning system months before the pandemic. Why is no one talking about it?

Are we missing activity that is happening on the ground? Perhaps. But a quick search of websites and news related to the main course choice programs doesn’t show much increased activity. One exception may be the Launch program in Missouri, which is run by the Springfield school district under the state’s course choice regulations.

Course choice policies and state virtual school programs represent two different types of state governments’ responses to the state’s desire to increase online learning course opportunities for K-12 students. We know of successful examples of both approaches, and this post is not meant to suggest that we favor one over the other. But the early returns appear to suggest that, so far at least, states with state virtual schools are a bit better situated to respond to school closures and remote learning, compared to states that have created course choice policies.

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