Students Attend Virtual Schools via Internet
By Steve Bell
Kansas City, MO. – More than 20 Kansas school districts including Shawnee Mission, Olathe, Lawrence and Basehor Linwood operate on-line schools. Missouri's plans call for a statewide K-through-12 on-line school operated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Missouri does have a virtual high school with an enrollment of 1400, operated by Missouri State University.
Hundreds of high schoolers use the e-school to take advanced courses or resolve scheduling conflicts. Some younger students are being home-schooled for medical reasons or family choice. Most are pursuing more emphasis on areas of strength, catching up in areas where they are not so strong.
More than 4,000 Kansas kids are currently taking at least one course in virtual school. Missouri's K through 12 Virtual Instructional Program will open next fall, and expects to start taking student applications in the Spring.
The educators and parents we talked to say the e-schools are working, thanks to careful placement counseling, and though they will never replace traditional schools, their enrollments will increase.