The Leadership Alliance members focus on specific projects throughout the year, exploring how to leverage the efforts of the programs in some of the following areas:
Blended learning district partner consulting
VSLA members have expanded their blended learning services to districts to go beyond just courses and LMS.
- Michigan Virtual School offers blended learning training to schools as a combination of resources, products and services to aid them in providing personalized learning options to their students to support improved student achievement.
- In addition to online courses and access to a blended learning LMS, Idaho Digital Learning is providing districts with digital learning portals, a customized interaction for each school that encourages districts to view organization as more than just individual courses and more as a driver of all digital learning in their school. Portals offer custom links, single sign on, custom course catalogs, and simple access to tools and course content.
- IDEAL-NM has provided districts with a statewide learning management system (LMS) through which K-12 and state agency training courses have been delivered since 2008. Twenty-two school districts (of 89 districts statewide) and charter schools operate independent domains within the LMS, creating branded web portals to access all of the courses offered by IDEAL-NM at no cost. Districts can also create content for their own blended and/or online programs in the LMS.
Online college and career opportunities
Most of the Virtual School Leadership Alliance members offer a range of opportunities targeting college and career readiness.
- MTDA has launched EdReady Montana, an online college and career readiness program that assesses student skills in mathematics and provides personalized intervention assistance to students as they prepare for commonly used placement exams. This is an online program for all students in Montana from grades 7-12 and higher education who want to brush up on their general math skills, become better prepared for college math or practice math skills needed for their desired career path. The primary use cases to date involve (1) schools, college orientation or educational support programs using EdReady Montana to recover or brush up on math skills before enrolling in a class or taking a placement test and (2) teachers using the program to directly support students in their classroom by providing a focused scope of study and specific set of curricular topics for them to study. EdReady is provided by MTDA to all Montana students through a gift from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
- Idaho Digital Learning’s iPATH program is a statewide early college high school model that provides all of the coursework required to earn college credit, industry certification or even an associates degree while still enrolled in high school. Through a combination of courses offered through Idaho Digital Learning and through our partner colleges you can graduate with a diploma from your own high school and with a certification or an associates degree from our partner institutions. Idaho Digital Learning is also implementing an online college and career readiness program that assesses student skills in mathematics.
Ensuring online course quality
Leadership Alliance members have formed a Quality Matters
- Illinois Virtual School has embarked on a multi-year Online Course Improvement Process. The framework being used for course design is the Quality Matters K-12 Secondary Rubric. Quality Matters (QM) is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online courses and support continuous improvement.
- Howard County Public Schools System has implemented Quality Matters to standardize the course review process to align blended and online courses with local, state, industry, and national standards.
- Indiana Online Academy’s (IOA) Course Developer Cohort is a group of seven educators tasked with developing ten, full-year courses for IOA. IOA has developed the Course Developer course, which is completed as the educators move through the four-part development process.
- Georgia Virtual School makes its original course content available as open educational resources; about 70 courses, including several for Advanced Placement. A team of course development specialists work with subject matter experts in each respective area to design a course through a nine-month process. The courses are bound by a creative commons attribution, non-commercial, share-alike license.
Meeting the demands of profoundly challenged students
The NCVPS Occupational Course of Study Blended Learning program is a collaborative effort between the NCVPS online teacher and the face-to-face (f2f) OCS teacher to teach OCS courses at the school level. The NCPVS OCS Blending Learning courses require a true co-teaching experience where the f2f teacher is driving the instructional decisions while working daily with the NCVPS content teacher. The NCVPS teacher will help the classroom teacher individualize and differentiate the instruction for each student but the NCVPS teacher does not deliver the instruction real time to the students. The f2f teacher does this but she/he will have planned using the online content, her own resources, and the NCVPS teacher to determine the best way to teach the content to the students.