Virtual School Administration

Virtual School Administration

Gaye Lang (U.S. Department of Education, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch337
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Abstract

The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest district in Texas and has often served as a model in the implementation of new methods, materials, and strategies to enhance learning. The district has often utilized input from a number of higher educational institutions in the city to assist not only in the training of employees, but in the research to implement and measure the effectiveness of teachers and programs on various levels. Therefore, a number of professionals from colleges and universities—not only from the Houston area, but also in various parts of the country— provided consultation during the planning process for the HISD Virtual School.
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Developing A Middle School Virtual School

HISD and its Virtual Computer Program

The Houston Independent School District (HISD) is the largest district in Texas and has often served as a model in the implementation of new methods, materials, and strategies to enhance learning. The district has often utilized input from a number of higher educational institutions in the city to assist not only in the training of employees, but in the research to implement and measure the effectiveness of teachers and programs on various levels. Therefore, a number of professionals from colleges and universities—not only from the Houston area, but also in various parts of the country— provided consultation during the planning process for the HISD Virtual School.

Rationale for Virtual Schools and Mission of Our Virtual Program

The rationale for the virtual school project arose from the need to address the shortage of teachers that school districts experience from time to time, especially in the area of advance placement (AP) classes. Also, HISD was interested in providing a cost-effective mode of instructional delivery that would positively affect student transportation issues and related expenses. In addition to this, there was a need to improve middle school students’ academic skills in preparation for high school and college. Reclaiming the home school market in the greater Houston area was another benefit that was anticipated.

The reason for the major emphasis on middle school is the fact that research findings document many middle school student skills are deficient. Too many students are leaving the middle grades intellectually unprepared; deficient in basic academic and critical reasoning skills; and lacking the strong sense of social and ethical obligation essential to their own growth, let alone to a viable democracy (Lipsitz, Mizell, Hayes, Jackson, & Austin,1997).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Pedagogy: Refers to how teachers perceive the nature of learning and what they do to create conditions that motivate students to learn and become critical thinkers

Sunk Costs: The initial investment in a project or program that will not be recouped. They can include office space, supplies, hardware, software and training.

Virtual School Advisory Board: A group of professionals drawn from the community in the areas of business, government, and education tasked with oversight and guidance responsibilities for the Virtual School.

“Outside” Review: A review performed by state universities or colleges for the purpose of validating the design and structure of courseware so that it will meet industry standards expected in online learning products.

Information Superhighway: Encompasses those components that capture the visions of a nationwide, invisible, dynamic Web learner and the source of information. They include, but are not limited to, private and public high-speed interactive, narrow and broadband networks, satellite, terrestrial and wireless technologies, database, the written word, a film, a piece of music, a sound recording, a picture, or computer software.

Virtual School: A distance learning vehicle.

Project Manager: The individual who will complete the design and creation of the final virtual school proposal, acquire approval of competent staff, and then administer the futuristic method of education delivery for the Virtual School.

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