A new report “2009 Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning” lists North Carolina’s Virtual Public School (NCVPS) the fifth largest virtual school in terms of enrollment. In just two and a half years, the school has become one of the fastest growing virtual schools in the nation, topping 20,000 in enrollments by the fall of 2009.
“Technology is revolutionizing the way we live and work – and I’m committed to using it to revolutionize the way we teach and learn,” said Perdue. “I’m proud of what we have accomplished here in North Carolina, and I’m looking forward to seeing enrollments continue to grow for the NC Virtual Public School.”
North Carolina continues to see rapid growth of over 50 percent per year in virtual school enrollments. The Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 terms posted more than 15,700 enrollments, while the Summer and Fall 2009 terms saw enrollment surge to the current levels above 20,000.
School districts are taking advantage of the resource to solve scheduling conflicts, space issues and to offer classes that might not be available to students. With the release of the latest performance report from the Friday Institute of Education Innovation, districts have recognized the value of the online high school. One district, Davidson County, has seen the greatest increase in online enrollments and is one of the top 5 districts using NCVPS with over 550 enrollments.
“North Carolina is a leader in educational innovation and the Virtual Public School is a great example,” said Dr. Bill Harrison, Chair of the State Board of Education. “We must continue to increase the use of technology in K-12 education to ensure that every child is college or career ready.”
“With virtual learning, we are giving students opportunities to compete regardless of their school’s size, their school district’s resources and their school schedule,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “Virtual learning is about extending learning outside of what is traditionally available. That’s why students embrace this opportunity.”
Dr. Bryan Setser, executive director of NCVPS, said, “With over 35,700 enrollments during the total year, we are competing with Florida to be the nation’s largest virtual school in 2010. North Carolina students, families, and educational leaders now depend on our services to level the playing field for every student in North Carolina.”
The roots of the NCVPS were established in 2002, when the General Assembly created the Business Education Technology Alliance (BETA) and charged it with ensuring that the effective use of technology is built into the North Carolina School System for the purpose of preparing a globally competitive workforce and citizenry for the 21st century. The BETA Commission, under the leadership of then- Lt. Governor Bev Perdue, established the E-Learning Commission and charged it with establishing the North Carolina Virtual Public School. The NCVPS offered its first online courses starting in June 2007. For more information, visit www.ncvps.org.
The Keeping Pace report is an annual review of state-level policy and practice of US virtual schools researched by Evergreen Associates in Colorado and includes full-time and supplemental programs all across the United States. For more information or to download the report, visit http://www.kpk12.com/.