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Three Online Learning Items Blended Together for Your Friday Enjoyment

It’s Friday, time for my version of the Dagwood sandwich, the supreme pizza, or burrito with everything (please!). The only difference is this hodgepodge is going to be about online and blended learning. I’ll leave it up to you to find a way to “blend” all the pieces together before pouring some chili sauce on top. Okay, not literally.

First, one of the most successful and noteworthy blended learning providers is expanding to another major city. Blast off with me in celebration at the news that Rocketship Education will be opening a school in the nation’s capital in 2015: Hooray!! Add Washington, D.C., to the list of Milwaukee and Nashville as expansion sites from the original California launching pad.

Second, closer to home, Denver Post Your Hub reports the good news that another digital learning option is available in one of Colorado’s largest school districts. The Jeffco 21st Century Virtual Academy will offer full-time online school to elementary-level students, beginning this fall. You can read about the existing program for grades 7 through 12 in my Education Policy Center friends’ recent issue paper The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning in Colorado by Krista Kafer (go to page 16).

Last, but most certainly not least, you ought to be aware of the fast-approaching deadline to chime in on policies that could help improve online learning for Colorado students. An announcement from the Donnell-Kay Foundation has all the details:

Please join the K-12 Online Education Task Force at a public forum on Tuesday, March 4, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. at the Aspen Room, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1175, Denver, CO.

The Task Force is specifically looking for solutions-oriented feedback to several problem statements relating to the definition of online schools, authorizer capacity and quality, student data, student count and funding, drop-in centers, and accountability. The problem statements are included in the attached document and can also be found at http://www.enetcolorado.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/K12_Online-TF-Issues_2-27.pdf.

If you are unable to attend the public forum meeting but would like to submit comments to the task force, there are two other options to participate and provide input:

  1. A feedback form is located at http://www.enetcolorado.org/k12online/. Please submit comments by 8 a.m. on March 4, so the comments can be distributed to the entire Task Force.
  2. The Task Force will be simultaneous broadcasting the meeting online via an Adobe Connect Meeting. The meeting’s name is: K12 Online Learning Task Force. To join the meeting, click on http://connect.enetcolorado.org/online/ and enter as “guest. If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before, you can test your connection at http://connect.enetcolorado.org/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm or get a quick overview: http://www.adobe.com/go/connectpro_overview. Please note that you will be unable to submit comments through this broadcast.

The Task Force is charged with providing policy proposals that improve the quality of education for all students in Colorado who use online learning as part or all of their access to learning. The proposals are due on March 21, 2014 to a bipartisan group of legislators – Senator Andy Kerr, Senator Ellen Roberts, Representative Jim Wilson, and Representative Dave Young – that convened the task force.

There, you can’t say you weren’t informed about an important opportunity. Now, just throw all three of the items I discussed today on a layer of mozzarella, sauce, and dough, and put it in the oven a refreshing Friday look at the world of K-12 virtual education.

Which makes me hungry. Time for a snack….