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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Virtual school offers new type of learning

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Indiana parents of school-age students in grades 6-12 have the option to enroll their children in a statewide virtual public school program, as an alternative to the traditional setting.

According to a press release, students enrolled in the "next generation charter school" work at their own pace to complete necessary coursework.

"All Indiana Virtual School courses are complemented with Indiana-certified, highly qualified instructors who provide on-going coaching to students and parents alike," the release reads. "Indiana Virtual School is tuition-free for all full-time students who live in Indiana."

According to contact person Graham Clark, the alternative became a possible option after state legislators passed Indiana House Enrolled Act 1002 last June.

"This type of program lends itself well to many different people, especially cases where a student might be a ward of the state," Clark said. "Sometimes they have to move around a lot when the system places them somewhere else. Why do they need to go from school to school when they could just stay in one school?"

The virtual school is an online charter school formed out of the partnership between Daleville Community Schools, BCI, a non-profit Indiana corporation and Pearson Learning, the largest educational content provider in the world.

Indiana is the 23rd state to partner with Pearson.

Florida Virtual Schools developed the curriculum, which is used by more than 200,000 public school students across the country and has received the Codie Award.

Both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation (CITA) accredit the program.

According to the release, students and teachers interact through e-mail, voicemail, telephone conversations, Skype, face time and instant messaging.

"Teachers consult with students once a week, and speak with parents once a month to update them on their child's progress," Clark said. "Teachers also hold labs via webcams and discussion groups. All the students grades are recorded in the 'Brain Honey' system."

The virtual school offers tracks for students of varying ability levels including traditional, honors or advanced placement courses.

Anywhere a student has access to the Internet and a computer can become their "classroom."

Virtual School's competitors include Connections and Hoosier academies.

"None of them can be statewide like we can though," Clark told The Brazil Times.

For more information, visit the school's website at wwww.indianavirtual.com or contact Clark at 317-581-5355.

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