Research Focus: Lessons from State Virtual School Leaders – Cathy Cavanaugh
The purposes of this session on virtual school leadership are to increase foundational knowledge in this relatively young field, to explore the uniqueness within virtual schools in an attempt to produce best practices within the field, and to provide context for policymakers. This pre-conference session brings leaders of new and established virtual schools together for a conversation about school management with attention to factors internal and external to the school. Each leader will summarize his or her school’s:
  1. History and Overview
  2. Administration and Policy
  3. Outcomes and Lessons Learned
  4. Best Practices
  5. Future Plans
The value of his session for participants is that it will provide a historical perspective on the development of state-led virtual schools that will frame the relevant issues for leaders attempting to move towards virtual schooling, and it will begin a conversation among states on best practices to improve the field of virtual schooling.

After brief presentations by the leaders, presenters and session participants will join together in facilitated roundtable sessions to share and problem-solve about school management issues they feel should be addressed to further the effectiveness of virtual schools.

Curt Fuchs (MoVIP), Jodi Holzman (COL), Chris Rapp (COL), Jamey Fizpatrick (MIVU), Julie Young (FLVS) and Liz Pape (VHS); facilitated by Cathy Cavanaugh (UF)

Below is the introductory PPT presentation from Colorado Online Learning

PPT from Florida Virtual School

FLVS History-Overview_October 2008_VSS.pptx

PPT from Virtual High School Global Consortium

PPT from Michigan Virtual University and Michigan Virtual School

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Participants: please list topics/issues you would like to discuss with the school leaders in small groups:
Funding, tuition?
Course development: in house, from vendor? from which vendors do you license content?
Strategies to improve student success rates?
Approaches to increasing the supply of effective online teachers nationally including pre-service, job matching, and on-going professional development
What would it take to significantly grow your programs within your state? What are the biggest obstacles to growth?
As more and more teachers arrive with online experience and full time teaching jobs elsewhere, have you run into complications with 'double dipping' of staff in multiple teaching roles? How have you handled this?
Which technology platforms do you use? Are they proprietary or third party software, which ones?