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ERIC Number: EJ868938
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Rethinking Virtual School
Schomburg, Gary; Rippeth, Michelle
Principal Leadership, v10 n4 p32-36 Dec 2009
Virtual schooling has been touted as one of the best ways to meet the needs of at-risk students, but what happens when a district's virtual education program is unsuccessful? That was the problem in Eastern Local School District, a small rural district in Beaver, Ohio. The district contracted virtual school services and used the virtual school for students who were at risk of dropping out for various reasons--such as pregnancy, poor health, and truancy--and as an alternative to expulsion. The full-time virtual students worked from home or the local library and had a track record of earning poor scores on assessments, not turning in assignments, and even failing to turn on the computer. Those students mostly failed to earn credits for graduation and eventually dropped out. It was money wasted for the district and a tough start to adulthood for the students. Each year, a significant number of students at Eastern High School were credit deficient after ninth grade. High school expectations did not jive with their middle school attitudes, leaving them in a common predicament: staring straight into a high school career that would last five years or more. On the other end of the spectrum were the college-prep students who had a very small selection of courses from which to choose because of the size of the school and the teaching staff. They had worked their way through upper level math and science classes and the few number of electives offered. Many of those students entered their senior year needing only a few credits to graduate and with not much left to take in course work. Then there was a third group: seniors who realized that there were classes that they just had not been able to pass and that they needed to find ways not to fail algebra or biology for a third time. The school and the district were challenged to develop a plan that would enable upperclassmen to make up credits from their freshman year in a setting that was different from the one in which they just failed and that would increase curricular options for students who were up to the challenge. This article describes how research and past experiences led Eastern to choose a modified route as an alternative: an in-house virtual lab where students could work at their own pace and have access to subject-area teachers.
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio