Virtual school planning: Tips for policy-makers

* Funding: Consider funding implications early on, including the cost/benefit

to local districts for participating and the most sustainable funding mechanisms

in your state.

* Technology: Consider all technology options before choosing your initial

platform, and think strategically and flexibly about technology.

* Curriculum: In deciding on course licensing and development parameters,

consider the main purpose of your curriculum in terms of specific needs

and the likelihood of future external course sharing.

* Student services: Consider forming alliances to provide student services

such as information resources and involve local school districts in decisions

about the extent of local responsibilities.

* Professional development: Consider a mix of on-site and virtual methods

for teacher training, leveraging existing resources and creating incentives

for participation.

* Access/equity: Prioritize access/equity concerns most relevant to

your state and create strategies for reaching at-risk populations and providing

Advanced Placement access.

* Assessment/accountability: Create an internal process-improvement

structure for your virtual school. If receiving state funds, use external

evaluation with reports timed to fit the state legislative cycle.

* Marketing and public relations: Develop a comprehensive marketing

strategy that includes enrollment management and public relations for stakeholders,

funders and opinion leaders, while working to keep stakeholder expectations

in line with achievable goals.

* Policy and administration: Adopt and adapt from the policies and procedures

of existing virtual schools, while seeking to ensure a good fit with your

state's unique circumstances.

Source: "Virtual High Schools: State of the States"


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