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Online Learning ESD District Proposal Objective To create an Open order


Online Learning ESD District Proposal Objective To create an Open order

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									                      PUBLIC ONLINE EDUCATION IN OREGON:
                              “THE OREGON OPTION”
Objective:     To create an “Oregon Option” for public school students interested in online learning,
               whether for a single class or a comprehensive schedule of courses.

Goals:         * Easy to regulate for quality, transparency, fiscal propriety, and alignment to state
                      standards and proficiencies.
               * Affordable and economically efficient, with as many public resources as possible going
                      to the actual instruction of students.
               * Flexible and easy for schools of all sizes, for educators, and for students to use.
               * Accessible to students irrespective of language, income, or other barriers.
               * Able to build on the state’s investment in infrastructure (e.g., OVSD, SK Online,
                      Oregon Online, and OUS programs) and staffing already employed in Oregon’s
                      public schools.
               * Incorporates professional development opportunities to ensure high-quality instruction
                      for enrolled public school students.
               * Takes public online education out of the charter school governance model, to eliminate
                      many of the finance, performance, and disruption issues that have accompanied
                      the charter-school online structure.
               * Ensures an option for continuation of existing (or new) for-profit online programs
                      through the alternative school model.
               * Retains decision making over public options at the school district, school, educator, and
                      parent/student levels, with guidelines for ensuring that the choice of online study
                      is appropriate for the individual student.
               * Creates a “soft mandate” to ensure availability of digital learning in each school
                      district, with sensible fail-safes for fiscal and other issues.
               * Enables districts to use online learning as a way to offer specialized coursework,
                      individualized pacing, flexible scheduling, credit recovery, dual-enrollment, and
                      so on to public school students. At the same time, enables districts without full
                      enrollment in some classes to accept online students to keep sections open and
               * Ends the financial destabilizing effect of student “skimming” between competing
                      school districts and affords administrators the ability to more effectively manage
                      resources for provision of educational quality to all public school enrollees.

Means:          Establish a consortium, called “The Oregon Option”, of public education online services
that utilize courses and teachers that build on the library of curriculum established by the Oregon Virtual
School District (OVSD) and also teacher-designed curricula. The state would approve and purchase the
materials from the OVSD biennial ($2 million) budget. Vendors could offer high-quality products to the
consortium as long as they were able to agree to open access by public educators to their materials and
curriculum, thereby offering a diverse course catalog to interested students. All materials would become
the property of the OVSD and the State of Oregon. OVSD would run all logistics for maintenance of
this program (contracting, rate-setting, procurement, etc.). ODE would continue its regulatory role of
school districts through its Division 22 authority and through its finance function in distributing the
State School Fund without formula alteration.
Individual school districts would have the option to “purchase”, on a course-by-course basis, classes for
interested students who are appropriate candidates for online learning (middle and high school). A
student could, conceivably, take a single online class for one term or could take an entire schedule each
term under this model. Each student would be a resident student of the home district, enrolled in and
counted for ADMw purposes as an enrolled student, and the district would buy each course selected by
the student at a set rate, using formula dollars. Districts would still retain responsibility for providing
special education, ELL, and other special services (such as counseling support), and all activities (such
as sports, music, drama) would continue to be accessible by the student, even if all courses are taken
online. As with the state’s Expanded Options program (ORS Chapter 340), students would have an
individualized education plan that would guide determinations of courses taken, best means of delivery,
and student readiness for online study (in consultation with school staff, parents/guardians, and the

The consortium would hire and provide professional development to online teachers from Oregon’s
licensed teacher corps. Initially at least, most of these educators would be employed in school districts
or ESDs already and would agree to teach a class as “extra-duty” for pre-set pay under their existing
collective bargaining agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding. This way, no new hiring
authority, contract bargaining, or oversight needs to be developed, keeping administrative costs minimal.
The Oregon Option would not accrue profit from the per-student rate, and so all dollars flowing to the
program would “buy” instruction exclusively, not shareholder returns. Overhead would be covered by
the OVSD budget and potentially a small portion of the online course rate. Districts would absorb the
costs of IEP development and support to the students electing online courses. All quality standards that
have been legislated (in SB 1071 in 2005, in SB 767 in 2009, and in HB 3630 in 2010) would be
retained in both the (new) Oregon Option statute and inserted into the (revised) alternative education
law. All materials, curriculum, etc. associated with the online programs in the consortium and
purchased with public resources would become the property of the State of Oregon and would be
inventoried/managed by the OVSD.

Public online options that pre-existed the creation of the consortium could continue in one of the
following ways:
        Offer online services to their own students, as some large districts do (SK Online, Clackamas
           Web Academy, for instance);
        Join the consortium (if approved by OVSD), agreeing to its per-class rates and other
           structural elements, and provide online courses through this model to students outside district
           boundaries as well as inside them (some of the web academies might prefer this option, for
        Convert their charter online programs to alternative schools, which would require contracting
           with sending districts for out-of-district public school students. As with the Expanded
           Options law, home schooled students would need to enroll as public school students in their
           resident school district in order to be eligible to be referred to an online alternative education
           school, but the access would still be afforded. (ORCA and ORVA could be retained in
           Oregon under this option.)

New school startups would be eligible to provide online services to students only through the alternative
school model (as Insights does currently), and not through the charter school governance approach,
which would be reserved for bricks-and-mortar schools only. An existing bricks-and-mortar public
charter school could elect to have students take a course or two online through the consortium, but
converting to a primarily online school (defined as more than one or two classes per student) would be
prohibited unless each out-of-district student enrolled has been subscribed through an inter-district
agreement with the sending school district, and if the charter school otherwise complies with the 50
percent in-district enrollment law (unwaivable) for online programs.

School districts would be expected to offer up to five percent of their middle- and high-school students
access to online learning in any given school year. This cap ensures that a statewide mandate to provide
access is balanced against the fiscal realities of our underfunded public school system. Indeed, students
in public school regularly compete for limited access to various course offerings, and online courses
should be no exception. As with the Expanded Options program, however, a school district would be
able to opt out of providing the Oregon Option to its students under one of the following circumstances:
         Compliance with the requirement to offer it would adversely impact the finances of the
            school district (so a biennium-long waiver could be granted);
         The district offers its own in-district online program to which its students have access
            (waiver exists as long as the in-district online program exists);
         A student has access to the same course in the school building (with exceptions);
         Technological infrastructure is inadequate or non-existent in the school or community at

Exceptions to the duplication ban (bullet point three, above):

            Credit recovery for students with an extended illness or who have failed a core class and need
             to make it up.
            Scheduling conflicts that the school cannot resolve with in-building options.
            By mutual agreement of the school administration and the student for any other reason.

Benefits:       Many of the irresolvable, controversial, and expensive aspects of the current situation
with online education, as well as some of the difficult policy decisions currently under consideration by
the Online Learning Work Group can be resolved or eliminated as moot under this approach. This
simplifies structural, governance, and regulatory questions, is affordable, and is easier to administer and
oversee than other approaches and incorporates the efforts, expertise, and investments previously made
with public resources. Furthermore, it does not call for the elimination of existing schools nor does it
ban the creation of new ones. For-profits may continue to access public funds as long as they are willing
to abide by the fiscal constraints and quality, transparency, and accountability standards set forth in
previous legislation and this plan. Student choice is retained as a state value, but is balanced against the
rights of quality educational access of all students and using the educational best practices of individual
education planning aspired to by the State Board of Education.

                             Revised Decision Matrix of Online Learning Work Group
                                    (To Incorporate the Oregon Option Vision)

      PROVISION               BOARD PROPOSAL                    OREGON OPTION
1     Provider Eligibility    Nonprofits, districts, ESDs,      All but commercial vendors could participate in consortium;
                              schools, charter schools, no      commercial vendors with nonprofit oversight boards could
                              commercial vendors directly       participate by converting or establishing programs under
                                                                Oregon’s (revised) alternative education law.
2     Approval Term           Not specified.                    Moot point for all but commercial vendors. School district, ESD,
                              Choices of set terms or ongoing   and state OVSD participants all vetted by state and are subject to
                              unless violation provokes         accreditation standards. Alternative education law governs alt.
                              revocation.                       ed. provider status.
3     District                Districts would retain primary    Essentially the same: consortium approves and sets rates with
    responsibility        responsibility for contracting for    variety of providers and districts choose with student which to
                          services, but would be able to        purchase with formula dollars. Can buy single class for student or
                          choose from a range of providers      an entire schedule of courses as appropriate.
                          certified by the state.
4   District mandate      The State Board of Education          The Legislature would mandate, through the Oregon Option Law,
                          would adopt a rule that requires      that all districts offer at least five percent of enrolled public
                          every school district to make full-   students an online option in any school year, provided that the
                          time virtual school options           option is appropriate* for the student, that the student is in
                          available to students in their        middle school or high school, and with the following opt-out
                          districts, drawing on a list of       exceptions (which largely tracks the current Expanded Options
                          service providers approved by the     Law):
                          state board.                               1. Financial hardship (two-year waiver)
                                                                     2. District offers its own in-district online option (waiver
                                                                           for as long as that option is available)
                                                                     3. Online program duplicates school offering – with several
                                                                           key exceptions:
                                                                                 A. Credit recovery for core courses is needed
                                                                                      when student has missed class due to serious
                                                                                      illness or has failed a required class.
                                                                                 B. When scheduling blocks student from taking
                                                                                      in-building class and this is not resolvable in
                                                                                      another way.
                                                                                 C. For other reasons by mutual agreement of
                                                                                      school administration and the student.
                                                                     4. Inadequate or non-existent technological access in
                                                                           the school or community.

                                                                * Appropriateness of the option is determined by the school,
                                                                student, and parents/guardians as outlined in ORS 340, Oregon’s
                                                                Expanded Options Law, which includes an individualized
                                                                education plan.
5   “Multi-district”      None.                                 Public school students remain residents of residential school
    definition                                                  district and access courses with ADMw monies that flow to that
                                                                district. Location of online instructor is in school district
                                                                employing him/her for brick-and-mortar or other services.
                                                                Consortium manages provision of online offerings and links
                                                                students to courses/teachers. Multi-district enrollment in for-
                                                                profit online schools is available at all grade levels only through
                                                                the contracted alternative education governance model, which
                                                                retains district involvement and sign-off on a per-student basis.
                                                                Districts contract with alternative education provider of online
                                                                services. A charter school that offer primarily bricks-and-mortar
                                                                educational services could purchase one or two classes from the
                                                                online consortium with their ADMw resources, but would have to
                                                                comply with the 50% residency requirement and district sign-off if
                                                                it elects to convert to a primarily online school (more than two
                                                                online courses taken by enrolled student).
6   Scope:                Comprehensive schools only, but       Both single classes and full schedules could be offered a student if
    Comprehensive         board chair is interested in          appropriate to his/her learning plan. In general, part-time use of
    schools and           expanding to individual courses.      online will be the optimal choice for most students. Elementary
    individual courses?                                         aged students seeking a full online school program could still be
                                                                eligible for this choice through placement at an alternative school
                                                                online program (current for-profits can convert during phase-in
                                                                period and contract with individual school districts – one or
                                                                multiple – to enroll students of any age).
7   Transition Plan       None specified.                       Proposal contemplates a phase-in period in which The Oregon
                                                                Option is created, expanded, marketed, and operational for an
                                                                ever-expanding catalog of offerings. This phase-in period also
                                                                exists for the conversion of existing online charter schools to
                                                                contracted alternative education programs. A target date for full
                                                                compliance to the new model would be Fall 2014 for the 2014-2015
                                                                  school year.
8     Oversight            State approves programs; school        State: approves and purchases curriculum through OVSD,
                           board/school staff manages it.         approves public providers, regulates (Division 22 standards, etc.),
                           Second level of oversight respons-     distributes formula and grant monies, and runs logistics of
                           ibility is the authorizer/sponsor.     consortium through OVSD (contracting, rate setting, purchasing,
                           Next is the state.                     etc.).
                                                                  District: Oversees IEP and provides support for each student,
                                                                  approves and transacts the purchasing of online courses, issues
                                                                  grades/credit, etc.
9     Local Governing      Not addressed                          Relevant only to online charter providers that must convert by
      Bd. Oversight                                               2014 to alternative education providers. Should be required to
                                                                  have independent non-profit boards with an arm’s-length
                                                                  relationship to for-profit provider.
10    Funding              State sends out Request for            State, through OVSD, sets rates for courses that meet educational
                           Proposal; receives responses/bids      quality standards and contracts with providers.
                           for state schools based on criteria.
                                                                  School district pays pre-set rate per class out of ADMw.
                           Sponsoring district gets full
                           ADMw; passes along negotiated          OVSD continues to receive $2 million per biennium budget for
                           amount to provider.                    operations (comes off the top of the State School Fund).

                           The district would pay the virtual
                           school for the services based on
                           the pricing schedule established in
                           the state contract or it might
                           negotiate with a certified provider
                           to customize the contract to meet
                           district needs.

11    Funding – state      None.                                  OVSD-based consortium with multiple providers. All public
      agency                                                      educators have access to all online curriculum resources and
                                                                  materials for use in bricks-and-mortar classrooms to augment
                                                                  their programs, as well.
12    Student              The district should have a role in     Middle and high school students may elect this program in
      enrollment           helping the student choose what        consultation with school and upon creation of IEP. Access issues
                           virtual program, if any, to attend.    addressed, as well as district denial conditions, in Table Item # 4
                           Sending district may deny, but         (district mandate).
                           must be for educational reason.
13    Equitable Access     Program approval might include         Technological access: School district will work with students to
                           how the school will be accessible      ensure use of computer lab at school, local library computer
                           and all students will be               access, or other solution if they do not have one in the home.
                           accommodated.                          Language Access: Barriers for ELL students will be overcome
                                                                  with in-district ELL support and provision of materials and
                                                                  curriculum (including online) in languages other than English.
                                                                  Special Education Access: Developed in the student’s IEP, district
                                                                  will provide resources and educational support as agreed upon in
                                                                  the IEP process.
                                                                  Other: Students will be able to use school facilities and staff for
                                                                  face-to-face interaction, tutoring, etc. as determined in each
                                                                  school’s existing policies and students will be allowed to access
                                                                  online classes in the school building – not just isolated at home.
                                                                  Elementary students needing adult supervision will be disallowed
                                                                  from enrolling in consortium classes but may be referred to
                                                                  alternative education programs offering online “schools”.

14    Appeal – Denial of   No appeal process specified.           No appeal process needed.
NEW   Quality standards,   None explicitly specified (?)          Conforms to all relevant quality, accountability, and
15    accountability,                                             transparency indicators passed in SB 1071 (2005), SB 767 (2009),
      and financial                                               and HB 3660 (2010).

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