Illinois cyber-speeding toward Virtual High School



November 15, 2000                                      (217) 782-4648

Chicago – The Illinois State Board of Education is on track to begin offering classes in January through the state’s first Virtual High School.

The State Board at its regular monthly meeting today reviewed the status of ongoing work to provide on-line learning opportunities for students and teachers. Courses will be phased in.

When fully operational, the Illinois Virtual High School could serve as many as 600,000 students who do not have access to college-level and special interest courses in their home districts.

State Superintendent Glenn W. McGee praised Governor George Ryan’s visionary leadership that led to the creation of the Virtual High School.

The planned Virtual High School answers a need expressed by many students including several at the June 22 Schoolhouse Meeting held in Effingham. At that meeting, some students told McGee that they need more and better academic opportunities.

Students need academic choices that will better prepare them for higher education, including more electives and college preparatory courses and a greater use of distance learning, the students told McGee.

State Board staff has completed and are analyzing a formal needs assessment and are working to find teachers with experience and interest in on-line instruction.

Preliminary budget numbers are also being prepared that will include staff, contractual, teacher training, course development and procurement costs. Virtual High School budgets in other states range from $1.5 million to $18 million annually.