I recently met with members from a school district who have started a virtual school in which the parents create the instructional plan for their child, and a liaison teacher supports the educational process with testing and professional advice.
The concern they have is how to measure academic progress and ensure that students are meeting common core standards.
The other aspect of the program they trying to develop is providing an optional online curriculum.
Thanks in advance for all responses!
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Thank you, Sherie Moran
I live in Alaska where we have quite a number of public homeschool programs. For the past fifteen years, I have been involved with them; I have either been a parent, on the board, been a founder or been a contract teacher.
What we've done regarding ensuring academic integrity, and to be sure this was a HUGE issue in our earlier days, is to require parents to create an Individual Learning Plan for each class. It includes:
- Description of course
- Resources required
- Goals (what the student will learn) that can be identified by either standards the course meets, statement from curriculum publisher regarding standards met, or a custom description.
- Requirements (what the student will do)
- Grading scheme (everything from smiley face-frowny face to letter grades)
- And, how the grade wil be assigned.
There is then an advisor or contact teacher (district employees) who works with the parents to create adequate ILPs, and then has a blueprint to use in following up with families to assess progress.
The final piece that is used is the results of any standardized testing. Written into the last charter I was involved with is essentially a clause allowing the school administration to become more involved with the family's plans if testing indicates that there is a need for that.
If this sounds a bit vague, I would agree with you. BUT, our past fifteen years of experience shows that, for the most part, parents do a great job of planning for and facilitating their children's education, IF they are provided with adequate support in the form of advisors and/or contract teachers with whom they can work.
I realize that your school is a virtual school, so parental freedoms are limited to those courses they can access online, yes? That may make your milepost markers easier to identify -- The course already have a suggested calendar, are mapped to standards and their academic integrity can be pre-evaluated.
What you cannot do, is be in every home to ensure students are working. Neither can a brick-and-mortar teachers be in every head to ensure that students are on task. . . Similar, though not quite the same.
I hope my experience lends some information you can use!
Thank you Narda,
Your insight is very helpful. I have passed it on to those that make the school decisions.
Thank you very much,