THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER RECOMMENDS THE FOLLOWING
That the Chicago Board of Education adopt the amended “Policy on Granting Credit Toward High School Graduation For Courses Taken Through Internet-Based Delivery.”
High school learning over the Internet is an emerging educational model that the Chicago Public Schools (“CPS”) embraces. Internet-based delivery of high school classes can supplement and support the regular curriculum leading to a high school diploma. The technology available in our high schools gives students opportunities to pursue on-line learning experiences for high school credit that will enhance and expand the current course offerings. “Virtual high schools” currently are available and widely accepted within the educational community. For the purpose of this policy, a “virtual high school” is defined as a state approved and/or regionally accredited school that offers high school credit courses through distance learning models that include Internet-based delivery. The Illinois Virtual High School has been established by the Illinois State Board of Education and is currently offering a wide range of high school level course work, aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards. CPS is strongly committed to expanding educational opportunities via Internet-based delivery to students by providing school on-line access to these resources. It is recognized that the development of virtual high school learning is a collaborative and cooperative endeavor that must be based on partnerships and linkages within our city and state that work to strengthen the existing educational program.
I. Benefits to Students
Virtual high school courses can benefit student learning by:
- making instruction available at any time on and off the school campus;
- allowing students to learn at their own pace, focus on areas of need, and move quickly through content easily mastered;
- giving students with different learning styles the opportunity to excel outside the traditional classroom;
- providing access to diverse curricular offerings generally not available in all schools, including advanced placement courses;
- providing learners who are over or under achievers with unique and innovative learning experiences beyond the standard classroom setting; and
- providing accelerated and enriched learning opportunities.
II. Academic Integrity
Students must accept the terms of the CPS Acceptable Use Policy and the CPS Uniform Discipline Code when granted permission to take an Internet-delivered course for credit toward high school graduation. Students also will be required to take final course exams under the supervision of a proctor at the local high school. On-line teachers or the local high school can require students to perform other tasks or assessments connected with an Internet-delivered course in a proctored situation. To ensure appropriate curriculum counseling, students must obtain permission from the principal of the local high school before enrollment in any virtual high school course. Schools are required to have the appropriate school counselor and/or teacher adviser review the student’s current educational plan and transcript before selection of and enrollment in any virtual high school course.
III. Virtual High School Classes
A student who successfully completes courses from an approved virtual high school site that is accredited by one of the six regional accrediting associations or CPS may receive high school credit provided all of the following conditions are met:
- prior written approval for enrollment is obtained from the principal;
- the student completes a tutorial/orientation to virtual high school classes prior to class enrollment;
- the student works under appropriate supervision provided by the local school;
- any student taking a virtual high school class as part of the student’s regular school day must work under appropriate direct supervision for at least 45-50 minutes daily as would be the case with any scheduled class;
- the grading scale used fits within the CPS standards;
- all courses taken meet the same standards of traditional CPS courses;
- minimum completion time for virtual high school courses must reflect the current semester timelines with extensions granted by the online teacher with final approval of the principal;
- enrollment in a virtual high school class, when part of the student’s regular school day, should be limited to a course(s) that was/were previously failed, a course not available at the school, a scheduling conflict that prevents the student from taking the course, or a course needed as an elective credit; and
- parents or guardians receive written notification from the local high school when their student is enrolled into a virtual high school that grants credit towards graduation.
LSC REVIEW: Local School Council review is not applicable.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Not applicable.
FINANCIAL: This action is at no cost to the Board.