Recent articles reporting the status of the Illinois Virtual Charter School @ Fox River Valley’s charter application and subsequent HB494, have posed many questions related to student performance in online courses.
While we have much to learn in this new environment of online and blended learning, it is important to know the Illinois Virtual School (IVS), Illinois State Board of Education’s statewide virtual school, has been successful in offering online courses to grades 5-12 students for over a decade. Starting in the Summer of 2009, Illinois Virtual School (IVS), formally Illinois Virtual High School (IVHS), expanded the statewide program to provide online courses to grades 5-12. IVS partners with public or private schools allowing for expanded learning opportunities while retaining their students. This partnership provides:
- An opportunity for students to take courses not offered by their face-to-face school, such as Advanced Placement, foreign languages, and other enrichment opportunities;
- Flexibility in scheduling;
- Credit recovery options for students to graduate on time; and
- Individualized instruction that occurs anytime, anywhere, and any pace through teacher managed courses.
Since the fall of 2009, IVS has tracked over 10,000 course enrollments with a completion rate of 91% (i.e., students earning 60% or higher). An essential component of IVS’ success is our highly qualified, Illinois licensed teachers facilitating each course. Teachers are required to establish and maintain a connection with students. This begins with a welcome email or phone call before the course begins and continues with personalized feedback and course assistance as needed. Teachers also work with schools and parents/guardians to support students.
The IVS program is administered through the Peoria County Regional Office of Education, a member of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS). For more information about Illinois Virtual School, visit our website at http://ilvirtual.org or view our recent report to the state legislature at http://www.ilvirtual.org/uploads/documents/uploader/5352013-04-05---Report-to-the-Legislature-Complete.pdf