Online Learning in the Race to the Top Finalists' Round 2 Applications



The International Association for K-12 Online Learning, iNACOL, completed an analysis of the Race to the Top Round Two Applicants' use of Online Learning as a solution to meet the goals for the Race to the Top Program and meet the four assurances.
 
10 State Winners                                                                                                                               

District of Columbia

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/district-of-columbia.pdf

Synopsis - The District of Columbia will connect teachers to online resources.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • The Platform, built first by DCPS, will be the centerpiece of an integrated support system that will embed professional growth into the daily routines of teachers. Grounded in research regarding the effectiveness of online learning and evidence suggesting that the best professional development is tailored, collaborative, and job embedded, the Platform will connect feedback and coaching based on in-person observations and student data with online resources to facilitate teacher engagement in the most needed activities. (p.138)


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Florida

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/florida.pdf

Synopsis - The state of Florida plans to grow its state-wide virtual school to reach students in rural areas. They also plan to grow their teaching population by building relationships with local universities to implement pre-service online teacher training and online student teaching experiences. Additional teachers will be trained to teach online to expand access to highly specialized courses to provide access to more students. Florida hopes to change the face of education by expanding its current performance-based learning policies through online learning with this funding.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • FDOE will institute a competitive grant program for eligible Florida teacher preparation programs that implement a residency program for job-embedded teacher preparation. Through the grant program, the state will seek to improve the teacher preparation processes so that they begin later in the bachelor’s degree and extend into the first two years of teaching. This model has been implemented by Florida’s LEA alternative certification programs with success, but not by institutions. These programs will build on what has worked in LEA programs by grounding the learning in real work and will provide new teachers with the support they need from effective teachers and teacher educators. The program will also leverage the Florida Virtual School, where a partnership currently exists with the University of Central Florida to provide a student teaching experience in its virtual environment to candidates in teacher preparation programs. The budget reflects support for two new programs in each of these two competitive areas. (p. 175-176)

  • In addition, all virtual education options are funded through the state’s public education funding formula so that the funding follows the students to the program of choice and there are no legislative caps for enrollment. The funding includes an innovative twist in that it is based on student performance or successful completion of virtual programs or courses rather than seat time. Florida’s virtual education options are not merely reforming education; they are transforming education. (p. 245)

  • The Center for Digital Education surveys and ranks states based on their policies and practices related to virtual education. For the last two years, it has ranked Florida #1 in the nation for its vision, policies, programs, and strategies related to online learning and its use of online education to transform education and to meet student needs. The Center’s national analysis examines the types of programs offered, access to these programs, enrollment and growth in online education, course offerings, K-20 ventures, and whether online learning is a strategy for school reform in the state. According to the 2009 release of a study conducted by the Evergreen Education Group, Florida’s online learning opportunities provide Florida students with more access to online learning than students in any other state (Watson et al., 2009).

    The Florida
    Virtual School. FLVS, established in law (s. 1002.37, F.S.) for the development and delivery of online and distance learning education to Florida middle and high school students, has led the way in this educational transformation. FLVS, which began with a “Break the Mold” grant in 1997 and an enrollment of 77 students, has become a national and international leader in online education, with the largest enrollment of any state virtual school in the nation by far (154,125 course enrollments compared to 28,014 for the state with the second highest enrollment in 2008-09). Priority for enrollment is given to students who need expanded access to courses and teachers (e.g., students in inner-city or rural schools and home education students) and students seeking acceleration. School districts are not allowed to limit or deny access to their students to courses offered by FLVS.

    FLVS provides access to over 125 online courses 365 days per year, 24 hours a day. FLVS provides individualized and personalized instruction and flexible pacing for students. Students can access lessons when they want, where they want, through multiple devices and means. Learning is based on achievement instead of
    seat time and so is its funding. Teachers are held accountable for student performance through a variety of metrics and all staff is on annual contracts. (p. 245 - 247)

  • School District Virtual Instruction Program. The 2008 Legislature created the School District Virtual Instruction Program (s.1002.45, F.S.). Beginning in 2009-10, all school districts offered full-time, LEA-level virtual separated by time and space. Students primarily access their virtual instruction program from home. This program is designated by law (s. 1002.20, F.S.) as a public school choice option within the LEA. Districts have a number of options for offering this choice to their students, including the following: operating their own program, contracting with FLVS, establishing a district franchise of FLVS, contracting with FDOE-approved providers, and entering into agreements with other school districts. In 2010-11, more LEAs will be operating their own virtual programs under contract with school districts are held accountable for student achievement through a statewide school grade based on the performance of the students in all of their LEA programs. The contract for any provider earning less than a “C” performance grade for two out of four years must be terminated. Funding for these programs is based on successful completions (completion of the program and promotion to a higher grade level for students in grades K-5 and successful course or credit completion for students in grades 6-12) [s. 1011.61(1)(c)1.b.III, IV, and V, F.S.]. (p. 247-248)

  • This initiative provides one or more of the three consortia representing rural Florida LEAs with competitive funds to build and implement model high school student STEM programs of study for gifted and talented students through a combination of virtual education, school-of enrollment course work, postsecondary study, accelerated course work, independent study that includes research, business/industry internships, and other options appropriate to the individual student being served. (p. 273)

  • The state also plans to leverage the Florida Virtual School in providing access to effective teachers in specific courses currently not available to students in small and rural districts. The Florida Virtual School has been a full participant in the state’s performance pay program, making this institution poised to assist specifically with this capacity issue. The state has the ability to analyze student course access, and will work with participating districts, particularly small, rural districts, and the Florida Virtual School to provide students with access to needed courses and effective teachers. (p. 304)

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Georgia

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/georgia.pdf

Synopsis - Georgia plans to develop online professional development courses for teachers in the STEM areas, which will be distributed by The Georgia Virtual School (GAVS). They also hope to expand their higher level online course offerings as well as build STEM courses in the online environment in order to reach more students across the state, specifically in rural areas. GA is interested in replacing the traditional "seat-time"- based education systems with a proficiency-based pathway, especially for those needing it for credit recovery.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • The SEA/LEA teams will develop a model policy to establish proficiency-based pathways to course credit for three critical groups of students: those who are severely overage, those who are academically gifted and are ready to “move on”, and those who are credit deficient and at-risk of not graduating from high school. (p.6)

  • Georgia Virtual School. The Georgia Virtual School (GAVS) is an on-line educational program designed to meet the needs of students throughout the state by offering 1) traditional school courses which include the four core content area courses, Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE), several World Languages, and 12 different Advanced Placement courses, and 2) the Credit Recovery (CR) program which allows students who retake academic courses and pass to regain credit for a previously failed course. GAVS has been highly successful, as evidenced by 2009 results: 9,057 students registered for CR this fall, and pass rates for GAVS students are higher than the state average for GAVS students in almost all courses that require an end-of-course test. (p. 18)
  • The Georgia Virtual School has had proven success in increasing achievement in upper-level courses, which have helped pull overall achievement higher. (p. 59)
  • Proficiency-based Advancement: Georgia is highly interested in instituting proficiency-based advancement rules that will require rigorous standards for student performance in the classroom. While no proven national model exists today, several states have created proficiency-based advancement policies (some targeted at subject-specific progression, others at whole-grade progression, based on proficiency rather than seat time), and are beginning to “experiment” with actual programs that may support these policies. Georgia believes it needs more time to garner stakeholder support (e.g., districts, superintendents, school boards, parent communities) and to develop programs that will allow Georgia students to advance when ready rather than based on seat time. In the meantime, Georgia will do two things. First, it will implement a Momentum Grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that requires the state to collaborate with three RT3 districts to create a model policy for helping three critical groups of students (severely overage, credit deficient, or gifted) obtain course credit based on demonstrated proficiency rather than seat time. Second, it will promote a provision (based on the model policy) in State Board Rules allowing districts to apply for a waiver from seat-based credit requirements, thus allowing students the opportunity to earn credit through proficiency-based advancement. Georgia school districts can use the Instructional Program Request from Section (c) in SBOE 160-1-3-.02 to apply for a seat time waiver from SBOE Rule 160-4-2-.48 regarding high school graduation requirements specified in Section (3)6.(i). Section (3)6.(i) stipulates that a unit of credit for graduation be awarded to students only for successful completion of state-approved courses of study based on a minimum of 150 clock hours of instruction provided during the regular school year, 135 clock hours of instruction in an approved block schedule during the regular school day, or a minimum120 clock hours of instruction in summer school. SBOE Rule 160-1-3-.02 Suspension of Rules and Laws (waivers) provides districts with the requirements and process for requesting a waiver. Georgia will also encourage the use of The Move On When Ready Act (O.C.G.A. §20-2-161.3), a strong indicator of Georgia’s intent to build students’ college and career readiness. Passed in 2009, the legislation enables 11th and 12th grade students who have demonstrated readiness for college-level work to leave their assigned high schools to attend a college or technical school full-time to complete high school graduation requirements while earning college credit. State funding for secondary education follows the students to the post-secondary campus, thus ensuring that students do not tap into limited HOPE Scholarship eligibility. (p. 68)

  • Conduct regional training sessions with each school principal and all administrators. Develop virtual courses for online training sessions to supplement training materials and guides already developed. (p. 90)
  • Georgia will strengthen professional development in STEM by entering into partnership with the CEISMC, the outreach center of Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) to provide online courses in robotics, problem-based inquiry science, statistics, and online learning. CEISMC will expand this existing array by adding professional development course offerings in  six other 21st Century STEM areas, such as genetics/biotechnology, climate science, instructional technology, and nanochemistry. (p. 130)
  • Provide online PD to STEM teachers, including courses in robotics, problem-based inquiry science, statistics, and online learning and in six new 21st Century STEM areas, such as genetics/biotechnology, climate science, instructional technology, and nanochemistry. (p. 151)
  • Access to upper division courses for students through Georgia Virtual School (GAVS), which will provide students in lowest achieving high schools with access to advanced courses (including courses in STEM) that they may not be able to get otherwise in their home schools. (p.169)
  • Utilize the Georgia Virtual School to provide rigorous STEM courses, including AP, to students who are unable to access such courses in their home schools. (p. 199)

 

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Hawaii

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/hawaii.pdf

Synopsis - Hawaii plans to use RTTT funds to begin using Open Education Resources to ensure the most up-to-date resources are being used to teach its students. They will also develop online professional development opportunities and organizations. They will utilize the Hawaii Virtual Learning Network for enrollment in e-learning courses. They also have a One-to-One Computer Initiative. They are utilizing both online and hybrid learning environments.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • HIDOE’s vision is to adopt comprehensive materials (paper and digital) that serve as the teacher’s primary source for instruction. In order to identify exemplary Digital Resources, HIDOE will form a team of English Language Arts and Mathematics Content Panel members as well as other Hawaii and national curriculum and technology experts, in order to find, evaluate and select best-in-class Open Education Resources (OER) that align to the CCSS in Language Arts and Mathematics. Identification of the Digital Resources will be ongoing, beginning in fall 2010, with priority given to finding resources that will fill identified gaps between HCPS III and CCSS. (p. 57)
  • HIDOE will invest in and enhance OHR’s existing secure, on-line, professional development management system. (p. 151)

  • The school may resolve this situation by enabling regular virtual connections between children and parents via broadband access. The goal is to remove the barriers to learning and enable students to access the core curriculum. (p. 172)

  • Finally, in some schools, the physical environment can make a world of difference in changing the school image and culture. ZSI schools will have priority in this area. For example, the Office of Information Technology Services will work with ZSI schools to ensure all areas of campus have Internet access. OCISS will work with ZSI schools to develop new solutions for technology-empowered learning. These solutions may range from registration in the Hawaii Virtual Learning Network for preferential enrollment in e-School courses (including dual-credit courses) to support in implementing the One-to-One Computer Initiative. (p. 173)
  • More than half of the charter schools are Hawaiian culture-based and serve high-need students. Two are virtual hybrid schools, others have strong Art and Science components, including one STEM academy, and the majority includes environmental stewardship into their curricula. (p. 185)

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Maryland

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/maryland.pdf

Synopsis - RTTT funds in MD will be used for blended and online professional development. The funds will continue to support and grow the MD Virtual School. They will acquire or build online STEM courses. Finally, they will develop an online model to deliver teacher academies regarding Common Core Curriculum.
 
Specific Quotes From Application
  • $1 million in State funds, beginning in 2009 and continuing annually to support the Maryland Virtual School, which provides online learning opportunities for students; (p. 49)
  • Create hybrid and online professional-development offerings using Educator Instructional Improvement Academies’ content. (p. 99)
  • Educator professional development will increase to include job-embedded and in-the-classroom instruction and training, professional collaboration, on-site and online graduate-level courses, and many other opportunities for blended and online professional development. (p. 220)
  • Educator professional development will include job-embedded and in-the-classroom instruction and training, professional collaboration, on-site and online graduate-level courses, and many other opportunities for blended and online professional development. (p.252)

  • Maryland will contract services to acquire or build the first two of eight on-line STEM courses for students… Maryland will contract services to acquire or build the third and fourth on-line STEM courses for students… Finally Maryland will complete the acquisition or development of the final four on-line STEM courses for students. (p. 365)
  • In order to build or acquire on-line STEM courses for students, Maryland will hire consultants on a contractual basis. (p. 366)
  • Establish online learning environments in live web sessions, connecting classrooms to a variety of STEM- workplace settings. (p. 430)
  • Procure a vendor to develop 250 on-line instructional modules per year for students as part of the instructional improvement system intervention/enrichment system. (p. 461)
  • Develop an on-line model to deliver teacher academies regarding Common Core Curriculum, Assessments, and effective use of the Instructional Improvement System in future years. (p. 569)

 

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Massachusetts

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/massachusetts.pdf

Synopsis - MA will use RTTT funds to ensure that all students will experience college- and career-ready standards and curricula and that all educators will have access to online learning tools. They will provided online courses for 800+ licensed teachers to earn ESL or special education licensure. MA will develop online monitor training. They will continue to establish a network for alternative secondary schools to develop and disseminate hybrid face-to-face and online competency-based courses in MassCore subjects.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • Every student will experience college- and career-ready standards and curricula, and every educator will have access to online curriculum, instruction, assessment, and data tools to support their students’ individual needs. (p. 15)
  • Course delivery infrastructure. We will upgrade ESE’s online course delivery infrastructure and related tools and release all data use courses online. This improved infrastructure will also be available to support other professional development activities described elsewhere in the proposal, such as training for teachers on the new educator evaluation system and on the content required to acquire a licensure endorsement in special education (see sections B, D, and E).  Developing online courses will make them more broadly accessible and easier to integrate into daily job activities. This infrastructure will ensure that all district users have consistent, reliable access to the data use courses and tools, anytime and anywhere. (p. 86)
  • Develop and provide online courses for 800+ licensed teachers to earn ESL or special education licensure at little or no cost. We will increase our pool of educators licensed in special education and/or English as a second language (ESL) by 800 or more by developing and offering online competency-based courses in special education and ESL for teachers with existing licenses in other subjects to earn the certification they need to take on assignments in high-need areas (see Appendix D21). (p. 123)
  • Develop online mentor training. High quality mentoring and induction is a factor in improving educator retention in high need schools and fields, and when offered, helps to reduce unnecessary recruitment costs. (See Appendix D22 for a report on the cost of recruitment and retention in the Boston Public Schools.) Massachusetts will develop and implement online training to support teacher leaders in their mentoring of new teachers working with high need populations, especially English language learners and students with disabilities. These online courses and tools will be made available through WGBH’s Teacher’s Domain (see section B3) to all LEAs to strengthen induction practices statewide. (p. 123)
  • For teachers, we will offer online training on the new evaluation framework and on how to document student improvement through pre- and post-assessments and other rigorous, valid, and reliable methods. (See section D2.) (p. 138)
  • We will offer opportunities for educators to acquire endorsements for licensure in special education and English language development at low cost through online courses, to help expand the supply of educators in these two low supply, high waiver licensure areas. (See section D3.) (p. 139)
  • Online coursework. Offering courses partially or entirely online has proven to be an effective approach for making professional development opportunities more broadly accessible to educators and easier for them to embed into their day-today activities. We will enhance our existing online course delivery infrastructure and use it to deploy online courses related to effective data use, using the teaching and learning system, implementing educator evaluations, special education and English language learner certification, mentoring, and so forth. (p. 142)
  • ESE is already using Title IID ARRA funds to establish a network for alternative secondary schools to develop and disseminate hybrid face-to-face and online competency-based courses in MassCore subjects (see section B3 for a description of MassCore). Alternative schools and programs serve 6,000 of our students most likely to drop out of school. (p. 168)
 

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New York

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/new-york.pdf

Synopsis - New York will use RTTT funds to use virtual learning and face-to-face networks for professional and student growth, especially in STEM subjects. NY will Develop Online Learning and Instruction in support of increasing equity in opportunity to credit recovery and high-quality courses.

Specific Quotes From Application
  • Develop partnerships with institutes of higher education to offer K-12 teachers and students opportunities to engage in STEM experiences through research and courses, and provide professional and student growth through peer support and face-to-face and virtual learning networks. (p. 23)
  • Additionally, as detailed in Section C, we will launch the Education Data Portal, an online platform offering rich instructional resources including lesson plans and videos of effective teaching. It will provide an online space for teachers to collaborate using social networking tools and will link to the State’s instructional reporting and improvement system while also providing access to virtual learning opportunities available to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (p. 45)
  • Finally, content partners will be required to integrate the latest online and collaboration technologies into their offerings, including online learning modules and the use of video to demonstrate best practice. (p. 53)
  • Title II-Part D Enhancing Education Through Technology ($55.6M) - These ARRA funds will be used to:
    • Create a Technology Rich Environment through Student-Centered Active Learning Environments (SCALE) for 21st Century Learning 
    • Develop Online Formative Assessment in Support of Personalized Instruction and Data-driven Decision-Making System 
    • Develop Online Learning and Instruction in support of increasing equity in opportunity to credit recovery and high-quality courses
    • Ensure better use of Technology to Support Limited English Proficient/English Language Learners (LEP/ELLs) and/or Students with Disabilities
    • To develop technical assistance centers, which will provide direct technical consulting as well as robust professional development for developing and teaching online courses (p. 66)
  • While network teams will be the delivery vehicle for our professional development, external partners will be selected via Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop professional development content which will leverage online learning technologies. (p. 96)

  • NYSED will also support planning by providing districts with the option to select and benefit from the assistance of contracted Intervention Partners. ETACIT will assume long-term responsibility for creating and supporting a dynamic repository of Intervention Partners with proven track records of raising the achievement of high-need students. Potential Intervention Partners will include nationally renowned private non-profit organizations, new small school developers, leading charter management organizations, universities, virtual and blended school providers, autonomous internal district offices, and individual Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). (p. 258)
  • Schools that are part of this iZone will pilot a set of innovations related to instructional delivery in the form of online courses and blended schools models; innovations that extend and improve learning time; and innovations in school and classroom staffing models that maximize the effectiveness of principals and teachers. A total of 84 schools serving over 13,000 students have been selected to participate in the iZone this coming school year. (p. 270)

  • NYSED will extend the reach of intervention efforts by fostering innovative schools and practices through the Innovative Secondary School Model Fund, the creation of virtual and blended schools, the recognition of successful innovations through the Commissioner’s Schools program, and the creation of a variance process to remove barriers to innovation. (p. 271)
  • In order to support, stimulate, reengage, and sustain customized pathways to high school completion, the fund will focus on creating new models centered on themes including STEM, virtual high schools, transfer schools serving overage and under-credited students, schools for the arts, career and technical schools, museum schools, and language acquisition schools. (p. 27)
  • To provide students with increasing opportunities to make up courses, acquire initial credits, and explore rigorous classes in areas of interest, New York is developing a statewide, virtual network strategy that will build digital content, digital capacity and access, professional development, and accountability by working with NYSED’s network partners across the University of the State of New York (USNY), the Big 5 city school districts, the BOCES, and LEAs in general to identify and enhance best practices in virtual learning opportunities by: working with the International Association for K–12 Online Learning to complete a statewide survey that will identify existing opportunities being provided to students and relevant professional development offered to teachers (2010). (p. 272)
  • Issuing an RFP to develop technical assistance centers that will provide regional professional development related to teaching in an online environment, evaluate courses for inclusion in the network, and provide infrastructure analysis for LEAs wishing to implement online learning (2011–12). (p. 273)
  • This effort is one of the initiatives of the Statewide Learning Technology Plan, which was adopted by the Board of Regents in January 2010. By having options that range from fully online courses to a blended model where students are in online classes for a portion of their time and in traditional classes for the remainder, schools will provide options not only for overage and under-credited students and other students disconnected from traditional schools, but also for all learners who want access to participate in school “anytime, anywhere.” This approach grants alternative pathways to completing graduation requirements and advanced courses of study and further allows students statewide the option to take online public school courses at no cost. To further support this, professional development models consisting of online and face-to-face courses for teachers will be identified in NYSED’s network, and will be collaboratively built and disseminated through the USNY system. (p. 273)
  • NYC Innovation Zone, built on the success of the Children’s First Initiative, will be launched in the fall of 2010. Schools that are part of this Zone will pilot a set of innovations related to instructional delivery in the form of online courses and blended schools models; innovations that extend and improve learning time; and innovations in school and classroom staffing models that maximize the effectiveness of principals and teachers. The New York City Department of Education is working to create the Innovation Zone (“iZone”) in the fall of 2010 to challenge longstanding assumptions around “business as usual” in K–12 education. A total of 84 schools serving over 13,000 students have been selected to participate in the iZone this coming school year. (p. 314)
  • With generous support from the Stupski Foundation, New York was one of six states selected to work to create a personalized system of education that engages and motivates each child to be prepared for life, meaningful work, and citizenship. Closely aligned to the Regents’ priorities and the State’s RTTT plan, the initiative concentrates on the elements of education that have direct bearing on students and their learning experiences, and focuses on learners and learning, rather than on schools and schooling, in four program areas: early childhood; expanded learning opportunities; virtual learning; and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act partnerships. (p. 321)
  • Strengthen partnerships with institutions of higher education whose focus is science; coordinate effective design of online learning for STEM courses (Section A). (p. 328)

  • ARRA funds distributed under Title II-Part D, Enhancing Education through Technology, of approximately $56MM, will be used for several aligned projects: to create a technology rich environment through student-centered active learning environments (SCALE), to develop online formative assessment in support of personalized instruction and data-driven decision-making, to develop online learning and instruction connected with NYSED Virtual High School, to ensure better use of technology to support English language learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities (SWDs), and to implement a process for digital content providers to submit for state approval their high school level courses in the four core content areas, ultimately for credit-bearing electronic delivery programs at the LEAs. (p. 356)
 

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North Carolina

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/north-carolina.pdf

Synopsis - NC will offer online learning opportunities for entry teachers' course completion. NC already has NC Virtual Public School, employing over 300 teachers, but will work to make virtual and blended courses with highly effective online teachers available to students in schools with limited course and teacher availability. NC will work to expand virtual school courses and work to improve learning opportunities for students in low-achieving schools - especially in math and science.
 
NC will offer online professional development for teachers, and mentions the NACOL standards here. NC will employ virtual classroom observations. NC will take a blended approach with both onsite (face-to-face) and online (virtual) professional development concerning the new standards.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • NC will engage in a two-part effort to ensure teachers and leaders can and do use data to improve instruction effectively. The first step is to develop an in-depth guide that clearly defines excellence in data use, and the second step is to train educators, both face-to-face via a cohort of Professional Development Leaders and through the use of online learning modules, to use data effectively to improve outcomes.(p. 99)
  • Preliminary recommendations include: modifying required pedagogy coursework to align with the new Professional Teaching Standards, which will reduce coursework from nine to five courses; and engaging an outside, online learning vendor to create course modules that will offer lateral entry teachers expanded options for course completion. (p. 123)
  • Make further use of virtual and blended (i. e., part online, part onsite) classes for students to expand curriculum offerings and provide effective teachers when they are not available locally. (p. 151)
  • …make further use of virtual and blended (part online, part onsite) classes for students to expand curriculum offerings and provide effective teachers when they aren’t available locally. (p. 153)
  • Established by the NC eLearning Commission in 2005, the NC Virtual Public School (NCVPS) provides courses that augment those available locally to equalize educational opportunities statewide and, in many cases, provide an effective online teacher when a qualified teacher is not available locally. The NCVPS is committed to raising achievement and closing learning gaps with 21st-century innovation by providing access to world-class learning opportunities for all NC students. As of the fall of 2009, the NCVPS offers 72 courses ranging from AP and other college credit courses, to honors and general courses in Math, Science, English, Social Studies, World Languages, Arts, CTE, and Healthful Living, to courses for credit recovery. Since its inception in 2007, the NCVPS has served over 60,000 students and is now second only to Florida in terms of enrollment in a state Virtual School. NCVPS employs over 300 adjunct teachers, all of whom are certified to teach in NC and are considered highly qualified by the No Child Left Behind criteria. The teachers receive special training in online teaching and a range of interactive technologies to engage 21st-century learners, including video, interactive whiteboards, wikis, active worlds, and online discussion tools. An independent evaluation shows that student achievement is comparable to or exceeds the achievement of students in traditional courses (Oliver et al., 2009). Virtual course delivery enables teaching across time and distance, so specialists in hard-to-staff topics can provide courses to schools in which a qualified teacher is not available. This enhanced availability also expands the population of potential teachers, since teachers can take on virtual course duties for additional compensation, and qualified retired teachers can teach online in a part-time position. Some teachers have discovered that they prefer to teach online and can thereby serve students across multiple schools, who can take an online class together. In most cases, a blended model is used (in which an onsite facilitator monitors student work and is available to meet with individual students), rather than a pure virtual model. (p. 156)
  • In addition to supporting the expansion of virtual course offerings, RttT funds also will be dedicated to developing blended courses in which onsite teachers share teaching duties with more experienced online teachers, again with a focus on serving students in the lowest-achieving schools. Whereas NCVPS expansion provides access to more courses, blended courses work to develop the talent of teachers already working in the lowest-performing schools by allowing them to work side-by-side – virtually – with more experienced teachers, while eliminating the geographic boundaries that might otherwise prevent these partnerships from being possible. Blended course instructors will serve roles that are somewhat different from the roles played by traditional NCVPS instructors. (p. 166)
  • The PDI will incorporate research-based principles of effective professional development (e.g., Darling-Hammond et al., 2009; Garet et al., 2001; Penuel et al., 2007; Stoll et al., 2006), and program design and evaluation will rely on the standards of the National Staff Development Council (2001), the North American Council for Online Learning (2007), and the Southern Regional Education Board (2004) for effective on-site and online professional development. (p. 186)
  • NC is a geographically large state, with many rural districts, a strong technology infrastructure, and a successful record of using online learning approaches in high schools, colleges, and professional education settings. (p. 191)
  • The eLearning component of the PDI will make online learning tools, such as learning management systems, wikis, virtual conferencing systems, etc., readily available to all LEAs thorough the K-12 Education Technology Cloud. It will also provide training and support to state and local professional development leaders in the effective uses of technology. Finally, it will coordinate with the Content Working Groups described above to ensure that priority professional development content is made available to all teachers online. (p. 192)
  • These institutes will help the participants internalize the new principal evaluation standards and translate those standards into practice. They will use a cohort-based, experiential approach, delivered using a blended approach of six whole-group face-to-face sessions, online activities with online cohort collaboration and coaching, and small group sharing/feedback sessions, over a one-year period. (p. 194)
  • Providing virtual courses in STEM areas to students statewide. One of the primary reasons for expanding the NC Virtual School (Section D3) is to provide all students with access to high-quality STEM instruction, even when such instruction is available to a limited degree in a student’s brick-and-mortar school. The blended course options also will support the growth and development of the on-site STEM teachers who partner with online master instructors to deliver their courses. (p. 253)


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Ohio

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/ohio.pdf

Synopsis - Ohio will use RTTT funds to hire a professional development coach to continue offering more than 20,000 educators online professional development. OH permits credit flexibility, allowing for diverse methods of learning that do not adhere to stringent seat time requirements, especially for credit recovery and at-risk student populations. Also with RTTT funds, OH will offer more online courses to reach underserved populations; they will especially offer AP classes.

Specific Quotes From Application
  • Beginning in 2000, Ohio offered intensive summer professional development in reading for K-4 teachers and elementary school principals, with follow-up during the school year. Over time, these sessions were translated into online learning modules, and expanded to cover grades K-12 engaging over 20,000 educators. (p. A3-5)
  • ODE will rollout professional development in blended face-to-face and online delivery modes using instructional coaches employed through ESCs in each of the State’s 16 regions to guide and facilitate the training. (p. B3-7)
  • Ohio permits credit flexibility, allowing for more diverse methods of learning that do not require specific seat time requirements. Ohio collects data on interactive distance learning, online instruction, and education travel, as well as other variations of learning. Ohio’s data system is being expanded to collect more detailed information on credit flexibility (i.e., types of experiences for which students receive credits) to allow the additional analysis of the effects these instructional methods have on student performance and to serve as a repository of practices that districts and charter schools can replicate. Oftentimes, credit flexibility engages students in real-world learning experiences which better prepares them for college and careers. (p. C2-2)
  • The professional development will be delivered to teachers in a blended face-to-face and online system. In addition, the online components will be accessible for just-in-time professional development by individual teachers or groups. (p. C3-8)
  • With RttT support, ESCs will employ a professional development coach to ensure that teachers and principals receive the high quality professional development they need to successfully implement State and local district RttT commitments. These coaches will guide and facilitate the roll out of professional development in a blended face-to-face and online delivery mode. (p. D5-13)
  • In addition, the State Board of Education adopted a plan that enables students to earn units of high school credit based on a demonstration of subject area competency instead of or in combination with completing hours of classroom instruction. Students may earn credits by completing coursework; by testing out of or demonstrating mastery of course content; or by pursing one or more educational options as described above. A summary of Ohio’s Credit Flexibility Plan is in Appendix B.3.4. (p. F2-7)
  • In 2010, all Ohio school districts are adopting local plans to comply with Ohio’s Credit Flexibility Plan (Appendix B.3.4). Per ORC 3313.603(J) the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, adopted a state-wide plan implementing methods for students to earn units of high school credit based on a demonstration of subject-area competency, instead of or in combination with completing hours of classroom instruction. Ohio’s “Credit Flex” plan shifts the focus from evaluating student learning based on “seat time” to assessing students’ demonstrated academic and skill level or performance. Under   Ohio’s Credit Flexibility Plan, school districts will retain seat time as one option and expand the number of options for earning credit by adding demonstration of subject-area competency and structures that support it irrespective of any time requirements. (p. P6-1)
  • Expand virtual learning options to reach underserved student populations through Advanced Placement course offerings online from a high-quality provider who has been authorized through the AP course Audit. (p. Budget – 73)

 

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Rhode Island

 
Synopsis - With Race to the Top funding, Rhode Island will build an instructional improvement system and provide educators with user-friendly, online tools to build their capacity to use the instructional improvement system, formative assessments, and interim assessments to support student learning.

Working closely with local LEA and school teams, RIDE successfully implemented several complex reform initiatives in recent years, particularly proficiency-based graduation requirements. The Rhode Island Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements (PBGRs) are arguably one of the most innovative mechanisms for ensuring adequate preparation for success in post-secondary education.

Online toolkits will be created to train educators to use the system.

Rhode Island is in the process of creating a virtual learning network for students and are currently reviewing providers for a statewide virtual high school.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • With Race to the Top funding, Rhode Island will build an instructional improvement system and provide educators with user-friendly, online tools to build their capacity to use the instructional improvement system, formative assessments, and interim assessments to support student learning. (p. A-8)
  • Working closely with local LEA and school teams, RIDE successfully implemented several complex reform initiatives in recent years (e.g., Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements, Response to Intervention, and Early Childhood Demonstration Program). (p. A-12)
  • Rhode Island high school graduates who enroll in college have the third-highest college retention rates in the country. We attribute this success to our foundational regulation and subsequent work to graduate students based on proficiency rather than seat time. (p. A-19)
  • Over the last several years, RIDE successfully implemented complex reform initiatives (e.g., Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements, Response to Intervention, and Early Childhood Demonstration Program) by working closely with local LEA and schools teams. (p. A-30)
  • Rhode Island aggressively engaged in a multi-year effort to transform secondary education in the state. The state used $2.4 million in state funds to provide intensive services and supports to all Rhode Island high schools, including career and technical centers, to meet proficiency-based graduation requirements and prepare for college and careers. (p. A-46)
  • RIDE has established communication networks linking RIDE STEM specialists directly with science, information technology, engineering, and mathematics department chairs and lead teachers to share information and resources and provide online support. (p. A-55)
  • Further, web-based modules will be part of the instructional improvement system detailed in (C)(3). These modules will be accessible to all Rhode Island educators online to extend their professional development. (p. B-24)
  • The Rhode Island Proficiency-Based Graduation Requirements (PBGRs) are arguably one of the most innovative mechanisms for ensuring adequate preparation for success in postsecondary education. The requirements were developed in alignment with 21st Century skills. Recognizing that Carnegie Units can no longer be the sole determinant of secondary achievement, the Rhode Island High School Diploma system embeds multiple pathways, differentiated instruction, and non-conventional learning styles into a system that meets students where they are, thereby instilling in them the confidence and motivation to pursue postsecondary education. (p. C-9)
  • To provide teachers and principals ongoing support in using these tools effectively, RIDE will develop a series of easily accessible, Web-based toolkits that will support educators in accessing and using data. Resources will include recorded webinars and online training guides and manuals, as well as toolkits designed to fit the needs of each user group (teachers, administrators, students, parents, researchers, and the broader public). (p. C-23)
  • As shown in Table C6, our training experience includes on-site professional development, train-the-trainer groups, webinars, online tutorials, training retreats, intensive one-on-one training, computer-assisted training, and training forums. (p. C-28)
  • The thrive e-Academy, part of the state’s coordinated school health program, provides flexible, online professional development programs and tutorials to educators on key topics, including Using Health Data for Planning and Accountability. (p. C-29)
  • In addition to this intensive training provided to school leadership teams, RIDE will develop a series of interactive online tools that will be available for all educators to train them on the use of the instructional improvement system that builds their understanding on the role of formative, interim, and summative assessments. These online tools will supplement the professional development and support that school leadership teams will be able to provide their teachers, as a result of the training that leadership teams will receive in data-driven instruction. (p. C-32)
  • Online toolkits will be created to train educators to use the system. (p. Budget-4)
  • Rhode Island has partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) through Blended Learning Open Source Science or Mathematics Studies (BLOSSOMS), a project funded by the William and Flora Hewlitt Foundation and sponsored by MIT LINC (learning International Networks Consortium). (p. D-71)
  • Rhode Island’s high schools have also implemented several innovative e-learning opportunities that enable students to access Web-based content and differentiated instructional delivery systems for credit recovery and advancement. Rhode Island high schools are currently working with a variety of providers—including Virtual High School, Virtual Learning Academy, NovaNet, Brigham Young University, Keystone University, Plato, Vista, Skills Tutor, and Anywhere Learning—to provide these virtual learning opportunities to their students. Rhode Island is committed to offering high-quality e-learning experiences that allow both youth and adults to prepare for and access meaningful learning for college and careers and to become members of a worldwide learning community. RIDE is coordinating with LEAs, workforce cabinet partners, business partners, institutions of higher education, and experts from the field to create a statewide plan to build a dynamic integrated virtual learning network that will advance e-learning opportunities and promote educational innovation. Rhode Island will advance its comprehensive and cohesive statewide development plan by:
  • Launching a virtual learning network (a consortium of invested stakeholders who commit to improving access to rigorous, high-quality e-learning in Rhode Island) that includes coursework, training, and college e-learning and creates state-wide guidance around access and opportunity for secondary students; and
  • Approving the design and implementation of a state-sponsored virtual learning high school that attends to both credit recovery and credit advancement by building access to expanded high-quality curriculum in a synchronous and asynchronous offering structure.

As an objective in the RIDE Strategic Plan, we are currently working to develop a

statewide virtual high school. This virtual learning high school will advance on-line

interactive learning and addresses individual student educational needs and interest.(p.    

F-19-20)


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 While the programs below did not win Round 2 of Race to the Top, they did include Online Learning opportunities for students in their applications which we have highlighted below.


Arizona

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/arizona.pdf

Synopsis - Arizona will use RTTT funds to provide e-learning initiatives for dropout prevention. Nearly all of Arizona’s large high school and unified districts offer online learning options or support distance learning activities. Students do coursework any time of day and need only a computer with a high-speed Internet connection.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • Integrated Data to Enhance Arizona’s Learning (IDEAL) is another valuable technical tool. Arizona’s e-Learning platform for educators was created by ASU in partnership with ADE. IDEAL is a single access point to professional development, standards based curricula resources, an 8,000 item formative assessment bank aligned with state standards, collaborative tools and school improvement resources. The IDEAL: Home Edition assists parents in creating a supportive learning environment by providing information, resources, and easy to implement tips and support strategies. For students the IDEAL: Home Edition offers a selection of engaging web-based resources to assist with homework, learning new concepts and preparing for the future. (p. 69)

  • DROPOUT PREVENTION. Many of the approaches and strategies to re-enroll and reengage
    students are relevant for students who are at risk of dropping out. Arizona has established
    certain programs that have proven to be effective in re-engaging these at-risk students, including:
    e-learning initiatives to provide online course access to all Arizona students (see Section C); (p. 199)


  • In Arizona, local educational agencies (LEAs) have the flexibility and authority to operate
    innovative, autonomous public schools in addition to charter schools. As a result, Arizona
    LEAs have accumulated a robust portfolio of “traditional,” alternative, extended-year, focus,
    magnet and virtual schools. (p. 219)

  • Nearly all of Arizona’s large high school and unified districts offer online learning options
    or support distance learning academies. Students do coursework at any time of day and
    need only a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. These programs also include interactive online practice activities, tutorials, discussion groups, and instructor contact via e-mail. Notable examples include Deer Valley eSchool, with 70 courses for grades 9-12; Glendale Union Online, with 24 courses for grades 9-12; Mesa Distance Learning Program, serving all the district’s K-12 students; Peoria eCampus Virtual High School; and Tempe Union Online Learning, offering standard courses in nine content areas and credit recovery courses in English, mathematics and social studies. (p.220)

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California

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/california.pdf

Synopsis - California will create a statewide online learning community engaged in STEM. Several schools as well as alternative schools and schools of choice will now be able to offer online learning.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • To achieve the goals outlined within this application, we are creating a dynamic, statewide online learning community engaged in STEM and connected to the broader learning goals of public education in California. (p. A-13)
  • In addition to the schools listed above, alternative schools of choice also include schools that offer:
    • A different educational philosophy or approach to learning, such as Montessori, Waldorf, or International Baccalaureate.
    • A different instructional strategy, such as independent study, dual language immersion, or online learning; or specialized programs for targeted student populations, such as street academies and newcomer centers. (p. F-170)


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Colorado

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/colorado.pdf

Synopsis - Colorado will use Race-to-the-Top funds to acquire open educational resources and develop a hybrid, online and face-to-face learning environment. As a leader in online learning, Colorado will continue to integrate technology in education. They will also continue talks on policy to create competency-based alternatives to "seat-time."

Specific Quotes From Application

  • Leveraging Colorado’s existing regional support structure, 12 Regional Support Teams will develop and deliver training to teachers and principals on standards-based, data-driven and blended-learning instruction. (p. 24)

  • Leveraging Colorado’s existing regional support structure, twelve regional learning communities called Regional Support Teams will be expanded to develop and deliver training to teachers and principals on standards-based data-driven instruction utilizing a blended learning approach. (p.70)

  • Develop plan for content acquisition: open educational resources, educator-generated or commercially licensed. (p.72)

  • Training Delivery via Regional Support Teams. Training and professional development on content and systems developed by the Collaboratives will be delivered by Regional Support Teams using a blended-learning strategy to include pre-recorded video-based training, live virtual webinar-based training, in-person regional sessions and follow-up reinforcement coaching. (p.Page 72-73)

  • Leveraging Colorado’s existing regional support structure, 12 regional learning communities called Regional Support Teams will be expanded to develop and deliver training to teachers and principals utilizing a blended learning approach. (p.95)

  • By strategically deploying the key activities described below, Colorado will meet its ambitious goals for ensuring that the State provides effective support to all teachers and principals statewide. By January 2012, Educator Impact Reports will be provided to each teacher and principal. Available through a secure portal on SchoolView, these individualized reports will provide teachers and principals with student growth measures for their students, schools and LEAs. These reports will provide direct access to a variety of professional development resources that have been proven effective. Resources will range from information about course offerings, to online peer content and online learning opportunities. (p. 139)

  • Blended learning. Colorado is a leader in online learning, demonstrated by State-level attention to quality and the number of full-time online schools that exist in the State. Several districts have created opportunities for students to take online courses full-time or to accelerate the pace at which students can get through school, provide additional time for students to catch up on key credits, or provide access to courses that may not be offered within their respective schools. Colorado’s Online Education Law establishes quality and accountability standards for full-time online learning centers, and expands address access to online programs by eliminating funding restrictions.

    The Commissioner of Education, in partnership with Donnell-Kay Foundation and the Colorado Legacy Foundation, have been convening experts from across the State and country expand the use of
    blended learning, specifically what Colorado can do to create the next generation of classrooms and schools that fully integrate online and leading technologies into education programs to prepare students for success in the 21st century. Approximately 200 participants from Colorado attended a highly-regarded summit on this topic in March 2010 that kicked-off the conversation. Over $2 million of RttT funds will be devoted to expanding the use of technology, multi-media instructional materials, and blended learning practices. (p. 139)

  • Increasing the capacity of educators to use blended learning practices through the expanded SchoolView, (p. 184)

  • Stakeholder discussions over the past few years have demonstrated great support for student progress based on demonstrated mastery rather than seat time, and CAP4K encourages schools and LEAs to take this approach. A few LEAs are beginning to experiment with this approach, most notably Adams 50, one of the RttT participating LEAs. Other LEAs, such as participating LEA Mapleton Public Schools, are adopting mastery requirements, rather than coursework, for graduation. The State’s turnaround strategy, described in Selection Criterion (E), specifically encourages critical community services and engaging students, parents/guardians, and communities in supporting dramatic change at their schools. The combination of these laws, practices, and strategies demonstrates Colorado’s commitment to providing opportunities for schools to have flexibility and autonomy. (p.192-193)

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    Illinois

    Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/illinois.pdf

    Synopsis - Illinois plans to use RTTT funds to offer e-learning curriculum resources to help meet academic standards. IL has taken aggressive steps to expand innovative virtual learning opportunities. They will expand Illinois Virtual School course offerings and encourage participation in online collaborative communities.

    Specific Quotes From Application

    • E-learning curriculum resources, including on-line courses, assessments and feedback systems, reference materials, databases, and software tools that prepare students to meet state academic standards and industry-recognized standards in STEM-related careers. (p.85)

    • Regional and On-line Support Networks: Each Learning Technology Center will develop a regional support network of District Technology Leadership Teams to provide support and collaboration opportunities for teachers and principals in effectively integrating the tools provided through the LPMS into their daily work with students. These educational leaders will receive continuous professional development opportunities through the Learning Technology Centers, in coordination with the Statewide System of Support, including facilitating the change process, data analysis, data-driven decision making, use of collaboration and communication tools, and curriculum and instruction applications. In addition, District Technology Leaders will participate in on-line collaborative communities formed on the LPMS to exchange effective implementation strategies. (p. 110)

    • Training must also be provided for non-traditional LPMS users—particularly students and parents. On-line training modules and support will be leveraged to the extent possible to lower cost and permit large-scale implementation; however, the training of trainers model should also provide for direct in-person training of these user groups. (p.111)

    • Categories of programming under the IHOPE legislation may include: (1) full-time programs that are comprehensive, year-round programs; (2) part-time programs combining work and study scheduled at various times that are flexible to the needs of students; (3) dual enrollment, in  which students attend high school classes in combination with community college classes, or dual credit, in which a single class counts simultaneously toward high school and college credit;84 and (4) on-line programs for specific courses for credit leading to the receipt of a high school diploma. (p. 202)
    • In 2009, Illinois passed separate legislation allowing structured, virtual programs delivered outside of school buildings to qualify for General State Aid, thereby expanding opportunities for virtual courses to be incorporated into re-enrollment Programming (p.202)

    • In addition to these policies, the State's promotion and expansion of early childhood education, virtual learning, and dual credit also support Illinois' student achievement objectives. (p.222)

    • Virtual Learning. Illinois has taken aggressive steps to expand innovative virtual learning opportunities that provide all students with a broader array of educational options. Beginning in July 2009, the Illinois Virtual School (IVS) began a large-scale revitalization and expansion project. In operation since 2000, the IVS had previously concentrated its efforts on developing high-quality, standards-aligned coursework for middle and high school students. The new initiatives of IVS are designed to continue offering quality coursework for students, but also include planned enhancements to student services as well as development of services for teachers. In addition to State support of IVS, recent passage of legislation in Illinois allows greater flexibility for school districts to offer virtual instructional programs tailored to individual student needs. Public Act 96-0684, signed into law by Governor Quinn on August 25, 2009, gives school districts the power to establish "remote educational programs" and claim General State Aid for students participating in these programs. Under prior law, General State Aid could only be claimed for virtual programs offered in a classroom or other traditional school setting, thereby limiting the ability of school districts and families to maximize the benefits of virtual education. With this law's enactment, education can take place outside of a traditional school setting, either in the home or in another location outside of a school building, benefiting those students whose individual learning needs may be better served remotely. The law (i) establishes standards for determining that the program will best serve the student's individual learning needs; (ii) ensures programs are aligned to State learning standards and consistent with those given to the same grade level students in the district; and (iii) ensures programs are delivered by teachers that meet the School Code's teacher certification requirements and federal "highly qualified" criteria. (p. 223)

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    Kentucky

    Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/kentucky.pdf

    Synopsis - Kentucky plans to broaden course offerings by Kentucky Virtual School, especially those in rural areas who need challenging course offerings. KY will also work with the Kentucky Education Television to create professional development opportunities. They will also use online learning for job-embedded professional development and hybrid designs.  

    Specific Quotes From Application

    • Work with Kentucky Education Television to create an educators’ online learning series (P-12) through the Kentucky Virtual School (p. 83)

    • In addition, the Department‘s Division of Secondary & Virtual Learning will work with Kentucky Education Television to plan for the documentation of the deconstructing process and its inclusion in an online module for broader use and trainings. This use of online technology infrastructure will ensure that educators in all areas of Kentucky, even the most geographically remote, will have access to resources for district leadership teams and school-based professional learning teams. (p. 87)

    • Professional Development Resources - teachers will also be able to access customized resources and professional learning opportunities themselves that align with the portfolios and professional growth needs, e.g., resources such as online learning courses for job-embedded professional development, including custom publishing tools to support collaborative development and sharing of local content among professional learning teams and networks (p. 92)

    • The Kentucky Virtual School is a robust online infrastructure providing a range of online, e-learning services to help schools and teachers meet their goals for high quality teaching, high student performance and a strong and supportive environment for every child. This virtual platform is especially important in Kentucky due to the state‘s rural nature and the geographic isolation of many of its citizens. By integrating Kentucky Virtual School services in their programs, districts, schools, and teachers can find new ways to provide:

    o Access to an expanded curriculum for every student

    o Advanced Placement and foreign language courses

    o Options for credit recovery

    o Increased instructional support for at-risk students

    o Expanded choices to meet gifted and talented students' needs

    o Professional development to build instructional capacity

    The Department will partner with Kentucky Education Television and existing virtual school collaboratives to expand Math and English/Language Arts online course offerings beginning in summer 2010, so that challenging courses cover all new standards by Summer 2011. Additionally, the Department will partner with community colleges to provide community college coursework online by August 2011. (p. 100)

    • Professional Development Resources - teachers will also be able to access customized resources and professional learning opportunities themselves that align with the portfolios and professional growth needs, e.g., resources such as online learning courses for job-embedded professional development, including custom publishing tools to support collaborative development and sharing of local content among professional learning teams and networks (p.122)

    • The Department, by strengthening the professional learning infrastructure as part of the Common Core standards and assessments implementation, will provide districts with a hybrid model for professional learning that combines technology-based and in-person professional learning experiences and supports to meet the needs of all teachers across geographies and assignments. (p. 181)
     

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    Louisiana

    Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/louisiana.pdf

    Synopsis - RTTT funds will be used in LA to offer additional courses and seats for online AP courses. The Louisiana Virtual School will fill vacancies with enrollments focused on STEM.  

    Specific Quotes From Application
    • As described in section B3 below, LDOE will build district and school awareness of the new standards beginning in October 2010 through the use of posters, handbooks and other multimedia materials, face-to-face training and online learning (e.g., webinars) to highlight the changes they can expect, as well as set expectations for how the new standards will be rolled out. (p. 67)

    • Louisiana will redesign the state’s Comprehensive Curriculum to focus on the common standards. Revisions will ensure that the model courses, instructional materials, and syllabi resources align with the common standards. These resources will be easily accessible through an online portal for use by districts, schools, and educators. (p.72)

    • The message will convey what the standards are, how they have improved, and how they will benefit students. LEAs will provide stakeholders with tactile experiences using the new standards through various professional learning methods (such as face-to-face trainings and online learning; see section D5). (p. 75)

    • Provide AP courses through the LA Virtual School AP Academy (for schools lacking in resources). These virtual offerings will be filled with the best of interactive and quality online coursework; maintain 100 seats for each of four years. (p. B-18)

    • Offer all LEAs (including both Participating and non-participating districts) the services of members in the expert corps via remote technology. The Louisiana Virtual School (described in section B3) and the state’s extensive broadband capacity (described in Louisiana Race to the Top section C3) will enable LEAs that are unable to fill vacancies in STEM and other positions the option of tapping into the corps for this purpose. (p. D-36)

    • Increase credit recovery and AP; expand AP and Louisiana Virtual School avenues to complete credit hours outside normal classroom settings. (p. E-16)

    • Dramatically expanding Advanced Placement and dual enrollment STEM offerings throughout the state, including using the Louisiana Virtual School to train in-service teachers and to teach students in rural LEAs (B3). (p. STEM-2)

    • All teacher preparation programs will embed new standards and curriculum in their programs, and Louisiana will participate in a consortium to develop high quality assessments that align with enhanced standards. Louisiana will increase rigorous course offerings (e.g. Advanced Placement and LA Virtual School). (p. Budget-3)

    • Louisiana Virtual School (LVS): Race to the Top funds will be used to offer additional courses and seats for online Advanced Placement courses as part of (B)(3). LVS will continue to use 8(g) funds to increase career and technical education, credit recovery, dual-enrollment and Advanced Placement courses. $2.7m of 8(g) funds have been allocated to LVS in FY10. (p. Budget-13)

    • Louisiana Virtual School (LVS) - Additional ‘Sections” added to the AP Academy of the Louisiana Virtual School will increase rigorous and relevant course offerings to students in hard-to-serve locales. Each section includes twenty (20) seats. Cost includes a $7,000 - $8,000 stipend for an instructor trained in best practices of online course delivery, plus a per-student outlay of supplies for books and course materials. This expansion dovetails with the established expansion plan for the Louisiana Virtual School, supported by the 8 (g) allocation and self-generated funds. (p. Budget-29)

     

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  • New Jersey

  • Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/new-jersey.pdf

    Synopsis - New Jersey will use RTT funds to provide virtual classes in high-needs subjects (including STEM) to at-risk populations. NJDOE will work closely with professional associations to develop virtual interactive training throughout the year. NJ hopes to use online learning to give students from all areas of the state access to the best teachers.

    Specific Quotes From Application
  • We will expand access to online STEM coursework in high-needs LEAs. Challenging STEM content that is delivered virtually will allow a much broader range of students to gain access to the content, without requiring a highly-effective STEM-certified teacher to be physically present in the classroom. (p. 3)
  • Coupled with these resources is the Statewide Systemic Professional Development and Growth Initiative of onsite and online learning opportunities. The professional development offered through this plan provides the context for the rich discussions, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing that support the work of onsite and virtual professional-learning communities. (p. 13)
  • NJDOE will also work closely with professional associations to develop virtual interactive training, which will be delivered through the IIS system and available for use in LEAs or by teachers or school leaders throughout the year. (p.29)
  • Virtual Schooling: $5.4M to provide virtual classes in high-needs subjects (including STEM) to at-risk students…(p.36)
  • In order to expedite this work, we will use currently-available online coursework that aligns with New Jersey standards, while working to increase our capacity to deliver online learning in the state. In Fall 2010, New Jersey will purchase access to online coursework and related professional development for teachers, and a cohort of teachers will begin training on how to effectively teach in virtual environments. All online classes will be offered in accordance with applicable New Jersey law and regulations. (p. 60)
  • Through increased access to virtual classes, New Jersey will greatly expand the reach of the state’s best teachers and increase the variety of course offerings that are available to students. We seek to raise the overall number of students taking and passing AP and IB courses, and to include coursework that taps into critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to ensure future student success with challenging coursework. (p. 60)
  • New Jersey will be well-positioned to offer personalized virtual-learning experiences to a broader population of high-need students in both rural and urban settings. These learning experiences will appeal to varying student interests and aptitudes, and most importantly, will be delivered by an expanded pool of highly-effective teachers. (p. 61)
  • New Jersey now offers online-learning opportunities to students through two providers; this proposed work will significantly expand these offerings and provide the opportunity to study content in more depth than is typically offered in high-school programs of study. These new course offerings will be initially piloted in high-needs LEAs, and will be scaled up over time. (p. 61)
  • Teachers and school leaders will be supported in improving their practice through attending face-to-face workshops, participating in professional-learning communities, engaging in asynchronous distance learning, and taking advantage of virtual collaborative environments. (p. 90)
  • Between face-to-face meetings, PLCs will collaborate using virtual tools such as online discussions, blogs, wikis, and shared online resources. (p. 95)
  • Implement a blended professional-development system that couples face-to-face professional development, led by content-focused instructional coaches and teacher leaders, with asynchronous and virtual learning environments. (p.97)
  • By means of virtual and face-to-face environments, provide support for school leaders and teachers to learn from master teachers through real-time video, and to engage in a collaborative analysis of exemplar units’ pedagogy and content. (p. 97)


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Pennsylvania

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/pennsylvania.pdf

Synopsis -  Online courses are the next step in Pennsylvania’s creation of a virtual high school to provide opportunities for students in small, rural, or low-wealth school districts to take specialized courses that might not otherwise be available to them and to meet the needs of students with special learning challenges. RTTT funds will support the development of high rigor virtual coursework accessible to all schools and districts in the state but of particular value to small and rural schools which could otherwise not offer a broad array of such coursework.

The state will assist schools by offering professional development for AP teacher certification for 1500 new teachers every year, and by developing a catalogue of virtual coursework that will include 12 new courses developed over three years. Both AP certification and the virtual catalogue will focus on STEM subjects first.

Pennsylvania will use RTTT funds to create a catalogue of 12 high rigor on line courses – four each year for three years - available to all students across the state

Specific Quotes From Application

  • Approximately 6% of the Pennsylvania’s RTTT budget represents ongoing costs or about $10 million annually. These costs are associated with the ongoing work of the Consortium on Research, the Charter Office, our Virtual High School, continued oversight and support to improve effective teachers and principals, and ongoing maintenance costs for student growth data and value-added data linked to teachers. (p.  A-49)
  • Online courses are the next step in Pennsylvania’s creation of a virtual high school to provide opportunities for students in small, rural, or low-wealth school districts to take specialized courses that might not otherwise be available to them and to meet the needs of students with special learning challenges.(p. B-16)
  • In addition, RTTT funds will support the development of high rigor virtual coursework accessible to all schools and districts in the state but of particular value to small and rural schools which could otherwise not offer a broad array of such coursework. (p. D-37)
  • Development of a catalogue of high rigor virtual coursework which will also start with STEM courses. (p. D-54)
  • The state will assist schools in meeting this requirement by offering professional development for AP teacher certification for 1500 new teachers every year, and by developing a catalogue of virtual coursework that will include 12 new courses developed over three years. Both AP certification and the virtual catalogue will focus on STEM subjects first. (p. E-20)
  • A recent study by the National Alliance for Charter Schools1 described Pennsylvania as charter friendly, and found that our law “. . . provides an environment that’s cap-free, open to new start-ups, public school conversions, and virtual schools, and supportive of autonomy.” (p. F-11)
  • Pennsylvania will use RTTT funds to create a catalogue of 12 high rigor on line courses – four each year for three years - available to all students across the state. This on-line course option will be especially effective in improving academic rigor in small, rural, and low-wealth school districts where rigorous courses are not available due either to lack of resources. The first four courses offered on-line will be in STEM subjects.
  • The Virtual High School Study Commission created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly recently issued its report on the feasibility and costs of a state-operated, Internet-based virtual high school program, to provide secondary education students throughout the commonwealth with access to a wide range of learning services, including:

• Expanded curricular offerings such a higher mathematics and science courses;

• Foreign languages and Advanced Placement (AP);

• Scholastic aptitude testing preparation programs;

• Enrichment and tutoring courses;

• Increased options for at-risk, homebound and alternative education students; and

• Dropout prevention and “credit recovery" offerings. (p. F-22)

  • When the RTTT grant ends, these minimal ongoing costs will be covered either through the state budget (i.e., $280,000 for staffing of the new Charter Office) or a sliding scale fee-for-service model that charges districts based on local wealth (i.e., AP courses offered through the Virtual High School). (p. Budget-5)


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South Carolina

Link to full application - http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/south-carolina.pdf

Synopsis - One way that SC includes online learning in its initial RTTT grant application is in the form of online professional development. SC takes a hybrid approach to training and professional development. All training modules for teachers are available online. SC Virtual School Program (SCVSP) offers online courses taught by highly qualified, trained teachers who use online media, telephone, email, SKYPE, and real-time web conferencing to instruct students. SC will increase its distance-learning opportunities to potential teachers in isolated areas.
 
In South Carolina Virtual Public School, there are 7,095 students in over 80 courses with another 2514 on waiting lists.

Specific Quotes From Application

  • Also in 2006, the South Carolina General Assembly enacted the South Carolina Charter Schools Act, which expanded the existing charter schools legislation from 1996. (See Section F for a discussion of South Carolina’s support of charter schools). This law created the South Carolina Public Charter School District as “a legitimate avenue for parents, teachers, and community members to take responsible risks and create new, innovative, and more flexible ways of educating all children within the public school system.” More than half of the Public Charter School District’s schools are virtual, with students completing coursework online. (p. 4)
  • South Carolina Virtual School Program (SCVSP). The nationally recognized program offers online courses taught by highly qualified, trained teachers who use online media, telephones, email, SKYPE, and real-time web conferencing to instruct students. This means that students in every corner of South Carolina have access to the same variety of high quality instruction. Currently, 13,880 students are participating in the virtual school program at the middle and high school level. (p. 61)
  • South Carolina is a leader in Public School Choice programs that offer students unique instructional experiences designed to meet targeted learning goals. Some of our public school options include virtual schools, Montessori, Single-Gender, Charter Schools, Natural Resources, Middle College, and International Baccalaureate. (p. 61)
  • Developed an online system for the creation of individual graduation plans for middle and high school students’ use to plan postsecondary academic and career goals; (p. 64)
  • South Carolina has also established credit acquisition through competency and content mastery, rather than seat time. South Carolina’s nationally-rated Virtual School Program provides equitable access to all students seeking enrollment in Advanced Placement courses and SAT preparation. (p. 68)
  • The SMARTER Balanced consortium plans to develop a high quality assessment system that includes online, adaptive summative assessments; interim/benchmark assessments; and formative components. (p. 85)
  • In keeping with the State’s goal of being the most choice-driven public school system in the nation, we propose to enhance our choice initiatives for students and parents. South Carolina has one of the few, if not the only, office in an SEA dedicated to public school choice. Choices are currently offered within magnet programs, schools-within-schools, alternative schools, virtual schools and charter schools. (p. 109)
  • Professional development activities and materials will be provided in face-to-face settings and online in text, audio, and/or video formats. (p. 136)
  • Professional development will be available in several formats and managed through an online system that will measure effectiveness and provide reports that indicate return on investment: (p. 137)
  • Participants complete the program in cohorts and have online and face-to-face contact with their instructors throughout the first two years of the program. (p. 163)
  • Project CREATE will be enhanced to 1) expand distance-learning delivery of special education courses to ensure that potential teachers in isolated geographical areas that are not in proximity to institutions of higher education have access to preparation programs, and 2) allow more educators to receive cost-free course work to complete certification in special education. (p. 215)
  • The Center for Digital Education ranked South Carolina No. 2 in the nation for its policy-making efforts aimed at improving online learning opportunities (November 2009). (p.321)
  • Only two years after legislation enacting the state-led South Carolina Virtual School Program, it now enrolls 7,095 students in more than 80 courses (11,681 course registrations) from every regular LEA in the state, with another 2,514 students on waiting lists. Priority registration is given to students needing credits for on-time graduation. Credit in most courses is based on demonstrated proficiency, not “seat time.” (p. 321)


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