The Education Innovator #33
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The Education Innovator
 October 14, 2003 • Number 33
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What's inside...
Online AP Academy
What's New
OII announces grants to expand and study charter schools, provide information on alternative teacher certification programs, give families information about options under NCLB, increase access to Advanced Placement courses, and fund arts in education, Parent Information and Resource Centers, and school leadership.
Innovations in the News
South Carolina has programs for people in mid-career to become middle school teachers; plus information on charter schools and supplemental services.

Online AP Academy Will Provide Virtual Advanced Placement Courses to Low-Income Students
Virtual High School (VHS), an online education provider that collaborates with member schools across the country, is undertaking a new project: Online AP Academy. Online AP Academy aims to dramatically increase the participation of low-income students in pre-Advanced Placement and Advanced Placement courses. The academy will also help these students raise their success rate on AP exams.

Online AP Academy will create and deliver 45 pre-AP and AP courses in core academic areas in at least 52 schools around the country where more than 40% of the students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches. The online aspect of the project allows for expanded flexibility when scheduling courses.

In addition, the project will provide online professional development and mentoring to teachers in the participating schools through Netcourse Instructional Methodology (NIM). NIM is Virtual High School's 15-week, graduate online course that teaches the pedagogy of online instruction, as well as the content of the AP courses.

Virtual High School (VHS) has a seven-year track record of developing and delivering online courses, including AP and International Baccalaureate (IB), to high school students. Over 80% of students taking VHS AP courses have received a passing score of 3 or higher on the AP exams.

VHS received the Stockholm Challenge Award in 2001 for establishing standards for quality online courses. VHS's online design and delivery standards were also recognized recently in a joint publication of the National Education Association, the American Association of School Administrators, and the National Association of State Boards of Education.

It was recently announced that Virtual High School received a 2003 Advanced Placement Incentive grant from the Office of Innovation and Improvement to create the Online AP Academy. Additionally, VHS received a 1996 Technology Innovation Challenge Grant from the Department of Education. For more information about the Virtual High School, go to: For more information about the Advanced Placement Incentive Program, go to: To read about the Stockholm Challenge Award, go to:

Note:The project plans to evaluate the success of the program through a quasi-experimental design involving a matched comparison group. This evaluation will measure the impact of the program on low-income students participating in AP courses and taking AP tests to measure the overall success of the students in AP courses.


What's New
OII announced grants to expand charter school activities.
OII announced grants to expand charter school activities, including training teachers and school leaders, serving students with disabilities, and turning traditional public schools that fail to make academic progress, into high-quality charter schools. A new research study on charter school achievement was also announced. For a press release on these activities, see (Oct. 9)

OII announced a grant to launch the new National Center for Alternative Certification.
OII announced a grant to launch the new National Center for Alternative Certification. The center will provide technical assistance to states and policymakers interested in creating high-quality alternative certification programs, and will develop a searchable database to connect potential teachers with alternative certification programs. OII also announced a grant to the New Teacher Project to reform teacher hiring processes in two urban districts and to improve teacher recruitment in one rural state. For information about these grants, see 9)

National Education Organizations
Three national education organizations-the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and the Greater Educational Options Foundation-have been awarded grants to inform families about their options under NCLB. See more.(Oct. 9)

Advanced Placement Incentive grants
Advanced Placement Incentive grants have been announced, including one to the Online AP Academy (see feature). For the full list of the grantees, go to (Oct. 8)

Additional OII grant announcements
Grant awards for Arts in Education, Parent Information and Resource Centers, and School Leadership have also been announced. (Oct. 7)


Innovations in the News

Alternative Teacher Certification
South Carolina has many programs for mid-career people to become certified middle school teachers. Under No Child Left Behind, all teachers must be certified and highly qualified at their grade levels and content areas by 2005-06. Students who complete the university programs in South Carolina will be both. [More-Greenville Online] (Oct. 2)

One of the latest strategies in the ongoing hunt for math teachers is to recruit mid- or late-career professionals. As a lure to potential career-switchers, many universities have created education programs that streamline the certification process. [More-JS Online] (Oct. 5)

San Diego has a rich military heritage, and San Diego Unified School District wants to tap into that resource to fill a hole in its teaching ranks. [](Oct. 2)

Charter Schools
Ball State will consider sponsoring three more charter schools, and the university is looking for homes for the schools in Gary, Richmond, and Graysville, Indiana. [More-The Ball State Daily News](Oct. 3)

Students attending three Indiana charter schools showed significant improvement on national exams taken twice last school year. [] (Oct. 3)

Supplemental Services
Online tutoring, free books, and parenting classes are just a few options available to students and parents at Mobile, Alabama's seven schools designated by the state as "Needs Improvement." [More-The Mobile Register] (Oct. 3)

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Last Modified: 04/26/2011