WRAL Tech Wire STEM News

RALEIGH, N.C. – Gov. Bev Perdue announced last week that North Carolina’s Virtual Public School (NCVPS) has become one of the fastest growing virtual schools in the nation, topping 70,000 in enrollments at the end of 2010.

This year’s 2010 Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning lists NCVPS the second largest virtual school in terms of enrollment.

“It’s is important to continue to offer students the flexibility to take online courses,” said Gov. Perdue. “It’s just another way to ensure that it doesn’t matter where students live, what their school looks like or what their parents do for a living, North Carolina (is leveling) the playing field so our students can graduate career and college ready.”

North Carolina continues to see rapid growth of more than 30 percent per year in virtual school enrollments. Passing rates have topped 82 percent in the past year, and completion rates have increased by more than 15 percent as well.

The demand for online classes continues as districts seek ways to solve scheduling conflicts and space issues and to expand course offerings during difficult economic times. NCVPS continues to work to train districts on blended learning integration and many districts have signed on to be “GOLIVE” districts in order to take advantage of strategic planning services offered through NCVPS.

“The growth of North Carolina’s Virtual Public School is good news for North Carolina students and their families,” said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. “This shows that students are seeing the value of virtual learning.”

“The virtual public school offers schools an opportunity to extend their learning opportunities for students,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “This is an outstanding tool for our school districts to use in meeting student needs and for leveling the playing field from school to school and from school district to school district.”

“As NCVPS goes forward we are thrilled that the North Carolina school districts see its value. The question is no longer whether or not it is happening, but how it is being delivered in North Carolina School districts,” said Dr. Bryan Setser, executive director of NCVPS. “We look forward to being a trusted state partner for many years to come.”

The NCVPS offered its first online courses in June 2007. It was established by the e-Learning Commission, an organization created by the Business Education Technology Alliance (BETA). BETA was formed by the General Assembly to ensure that technology was effectively incorporated into North Carolina’s public schools for the purpose of preparing a globally competitive workforce and citizenry for the 21st century.

The Keeping Pace report is an annual review of state-level policy and practice of U.S. virtual schools researched by Evergreen Associates in Colorado and includes full-time and supplemental programs all across the United States.

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