I believe that virtual education initiatives could help with some of the concerns raised by parents and community members regarding Advanced Placement courses. Please check out this website http://www.digitaldistricts.org/ and let me know what you think.
In late May, I blogged these comments on schoolinfosystem.
“Did anyone see the piece written by WEAC President Stan Johnson in Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal? My thought is, “Why doesn’t the Madison Schools have their own virtual program?” I believe using technology is very important and should be used extensively as possible. Currently the district is using programs for increase reading support (READ 180) and for alternative schools. A virtual school could be developed for many students that are being home schooled now. Madison teachers could administer the curriculum and provide accountability. Every child has their own learning style and every parent knows what is best for their children. – The last statement is the challenge of being on the school board.”
Tim Schell, Assistant Director of Instruction at Waunakee Community School District, replied me.
“There are some very promising virtual education initiatives already underway at MMSD. Here at Waunakee, we have had the opportunity to partner in the Dane Districts Online www.danedistricts.org consortium headed up by Madison through the office of Joan Peebles, your Coordinator of Technology and Learning. Your staff is also participating in a WiscNet working group that I chair, examining the possibility of WiscNet hosting a network-wide Course Management System that member institutions could purchase into on a cost-recovery basis. Joan is chairing another working group on course content and online course brokerage issues. It is the hope of our working groups that economies of scale can be achieved through cooperative activity instead of each district working in isolation. I believe that Joan may be named to DPI’s advisory group on virtual education. The Madison district is viewed as a leader in the area of virtual education and Technology and Learning’s existing initiatives can only benefit from active support by you and the Board of Education generally.”
I’ve had a few conversations with Joan and this sounds exciting!!! I think its time to get this initiative “out of the dark” and “out to the light.” Okay — Here’s the website again. http://www.digitaldistricts.org. Check it out. Let me know what you think. Is this worth pursuing to help with TAG programming and AP courses? I know this won’t be the total answer to some of your concerns but it would be more than a start. Please respond to the comments. I’m listening (or in this case, reading). Thanks.