Governor Announces First Ever Statewide Virtual High School
Frankfort, Ky. -- In January, Kentucky high school students will be able to go online with Internet access to advanced courses in foreign languages, math and science.
It's called the Kentucky Virtual High School (KVHS), and in announcing its creation today, Governor Paul Patton described it as the first ever project of its kind in the world. A few school districts in other states have online high school courses, but Kentucky will become the first with a statewide program.
The governor said the Kentucky Virtual High School will give students everywhere in the state the opportunity to take challenging advanced courses not available at their local high schools.
"This is a major step forward in terms of equality of opportunity for all students, particularly those in rural areas," Patton said. "Kentucky is a national leader in educational technology in terms of providing schools and students with computers and easy access to the vast resources of the Internet. The Kentucky Virtual High School will make us the leader in delivering curriculum and high quality instruction to students in our high schools and adult education programs."
Patton said the courses would also be available to adults working toward a GED or regular high school diploma, to persons learning English as a second language, home school students and young people housed in the Juvenile Justice System.
Courses will include Algebra I and II, Geometry I and II, Chemistry I and II, Physics I and II, Spanish I and II, German I and II, Latin III, Latin literature, humanities and college level calculus. The Department of Education has calculated that the cost of these Internet courses is equal to the cost of a traditional classroom course.
Students taking classes via the computer will sign up at their local high school and work with a certified Kentucky teacher, trained in teaching via the Internet. The student will communicate with the teacher and classmates, do assignments, take tests and receive regular credit.
All classes will be completely on line, some with CD-Rom and Video as companion materials. Other courses will be added in the future. All Kentucky high schools have Internet access. Students can also access the courses from home, an office, a public library or anywhere there is an online computer at any time of day or night.
Education Commissioner Wilmer Cody said, "The initial course offerings will feature courses in the areas of greatest need in Kentucky, particularly in rural areas. We don't have enough foreign language teachers or math teachers or science teachers. This project addresses that issue in a very effective way."
The virtual high school project has involved several agencies working together: The governor's office, the Kentucky Commonwealth Virtual University, Kentucky Educational Television, and the Kentucky Department of Education. The Virtual University's one stop call center, library services, teacher training and college courses will support the KVHS.
The KVHS also has two corporate partnerships. One is with Class.com, Inc., to use secondary courses developed by the Division of Continuing Studies at the University of Nebraska with a $17 million Star Schools Grant from the U. S. Department of Education. The other partnership is with eCollege.com which creates Internet education solutions, to bring online education to the classroom and to the distance learning student.
"We are pleased to join with the state of Kentucky in providing anywhere, anytime access to education -- a new frontier for high school education," said Rob Helmick, president and CEO of eCollege.com.
The Internet address for the Kentucky Virtual High School is http://www.kvhs.org. For the Kentucky Commonwealth Virtual University, the address is http://www.kcvu.org.