RD59 - 2020-2021 Virtual Virginia Program Plan – January 6, 2020

Executive Summary:

The Virginia Department of Education's Virtual Virginia Program ("VVA") offers online courses, digital content, and professional learning opportunities to Virginia's students and educators. VVA promotes equitable access to rigorous courses, high-quality instruction, and blended learning resources for schools in the Commonwealth as well as across the nation. VVA also provides educational options to all learners, including underserved populations, as a complement to local public school offerings.

VVA works in partnership with Virginia public school divisions to facilitate access to courses, content, and professional learning opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable due to a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to low enrollment, scheduling conflicts, or a lack of highly qualified instructors in specific subject areas. One of VVA's core commitments is to provide academic flexibility while preserving the autonomy of Virginia public school divisions in meeting the varied schedules, needs, and expectations of learners. All learners enrolled in VVA courses remain affiliated with their local schools and remain part of their schools' membership.

During its 2019 session, the General Assembly directed the Department to develop the 2020-2021 Virtual Virginia Program Plan.

Item 136.C.23.e in the 2019 Appropriation Act:

"The Department of Education shall develop a plan to establish a per-student, per-course fee schedule for local school divisions to participate in Virtual Virginia (VVA) coursework for elementary, middle, and high school students. Such fee schedule plan shall provide (i) an allotment of slots, determined by the Department, per course to a school division free of charge, and {ii) for any slots a school division wishes to use beyond the free slots, a per-course, per-student fee that may include discounts for school divisions based upon the composite index of local ability to pay. The department shall also include in its plan the current student participation enrollment by grade level in each VVA course, the number of students enrolled in VVA courses that a fee of any kind is charged and how such fee is currently paid for in each participating school division."

In addition to responding to the requirements set forth in the 2019 Appropriation Act, the 2020-2021 Virtual Program Virginia Plan was an opportunity to evaluate the existing program model. The Department worked in partnership with Virtual Virginia to create an updated plan that better supports the evolving needs and expectations of Virginia public school divisions. Among some of the central concerns were: securing access to VVA courses and content for schools and school divisions most in need of instructional and professional support; easing the fiscal and administrative costs of limited enrollment for school divisions that need to fill specific vacancies; and, ensuring course selection and availability continues to expand to meet the demand of participating school divisions. As such, revisions to the plan took into account equitable access to VVA courses, meeting targeted needs, and cost-cutting solutions, as well as VVA's fiscal and programmatic capacity. The Department will implement the new per-student. per-course fee schedule in the 2020-2021 school year.