Bucks County IU 22: Creating Long-lasting Cyber-school Initiatives
Around Pennsylvania, school districts are embracing 21st-century learning with cost-effective, locally based online learning. The Bucks County IU 22 has partnered with cyber-schooling pioneer Quakertown Community School District to create Bridges Virtual Education Services, a cyber-school consortium that helps districts build long-term viability into new or existing online initiatives.
Bridges Virtual instills three elements that create strong, lasting, and flexible cyber programs:
Bridges Virtual gives every member district the agility to create an appropriate solution for each student seeking cyber schooling, no matter the reason. Some student-athletes compete nationally, as equestrian team members or Irish dancers. Other cyber students hold jobs to support their struggling families. Bridges Virtual provides a high-quality education and helps them all stay in school.
- Working with Bridges Virtual staff, districts articulate their visions and goals for the immediate and long terms. “We spend a lot of time talking with administrators and asking why they’re doing this,” says Supervisor of Education Pamela Newman Dinan. “What are your goals? What other initiatives do you have? We try to align online or blended learning initiatives with the larger district vision.”
- Bridges Virtual matches available teachers with students who need particular online courses. “We are using local teachers who are employed by local school districts within the region, and we are using local curriculum,” says Dinan.
- Intensive professional development supports teachers in building and facilitating online courses. The benefits even ripple into stronger classroom teaching because teachers are “reinventing what they’re doing,” says Dinan.
“School districts never know when that phone call is going to come, and they need to have a plan in place to respond to student needs,” says Dinan.
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