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ERIC Number: EJ888151
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0036-6439
Virtual Classes, Real Policy
Beem, Kate
School Administrator, v67 n4 p10-15 Apr 2010
As Internet technology encroached on the public school classroom about a decade ago, Kim Ross, superintendent of the Houston School District in Houston, Minnesota, saw an opportunity. At first, he and his administrative team simply wanted to offer students in the district of 1,300 access to more classes via the web than what a district that size typically could offer. But soon, the entrepreneurial spirit overtook Ross and his team, and out of that was born the Minnesota Virtual Academy and the Minnesota Center of Online Learning (MCoOL)--two virtual schools staffed by Minnesota teachers and open to any student residing anywhere in the state. Classes began in 2002, with the help of virtual-school vendor K12 Inc., and enrollment grew from 79 the first year to about 1,500 as of last fall. Not only is the Houston district, located about 20 miles west of La Crosse, Wisconsin, able to offer its students a wider array of classes, it also benefits from Minnesota's open-enrollment policy allowing students to take their state reimbursement along with them when they enroll in a public school district anywhere in the state. Ross and his school district jumped in front of the curve, and that move hasn't gone unnoticed. Two years ago, tiny Houston High School, with fewer than 250 students, was named one of the best in the country by "U.S. News & World Report," in part because of student access to online and Advanced Placement classes. Those would be virtually impossible for the small, rural district to offer its students without some serious outside-the-box thinking. In this article, the author looks at three prevailing models of virtual education in local schools.
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama; Idaho; Kansas; Minnesota; Virginia