Friday, July 24, 2009

ONLINE SCHOOLS APPROVED IN ROWLAND HEIGHTS: The Rowland Unified School District board Tuesday approved a middle and high school that will exist almost entirely on the Internet.

Corina Knoll - LA Times/LA Now Blog

1:46 PM | July 22, 2009

Updated 7:51 p.m. [LA Times]: An earlier version of this posting, as well as its headline, stated incorrectly that the online school was the first created in the state. The earlier post also failed to mention that middle school grades would be included.

smf: 4LAKids did not post earlier versions of this story because we knew the 'first in the state claim' to be incorrect.

THE PLAYERS, THE SCORECARD & CONNECT THE DOTS/FOLLOW THE MONEY: iQ Academy – a private/for-profit cooperation - is a brand of KC Distance Learning, KC Distance Learning, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Knowledge Learning Corp  a wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Knowledge Universe, Inc.

Former LAUSD Board President/former California Charter Schools Association President Caprice Young is the President and CEO of KC Distance Learning and was formerly Vice President of Business Development and Alliances of Knowledge Universe.

Former Junk Bond King Michael Milken [bio1] [bio2] is Co-Founder and Chairman  of Knowledge Universe

The virtual campus, a charter school that will be known as iQ Academy California-Los Angeles, will operate out of Rowland Heights and will be open to students in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

“In our mission statement for our district we talk about being innovative,” said school board President Robert Hidalgo, who is also a high school history teacher. “A charter school is technically still a public school, but it is kind of a laboratory for experimentation. We saw that as an opportunity to be cutting edge and to be a pioneer in the online-virtual world.”

Full-time students will be given a laptop and access to wireless Internet and will be able meet with their teachers via webcasts or in person.

Those who attend a traditional brick-and-mortar high school can still utilize iQ Academy for supplemental classes or summer school. Parents will also be able to log on and look over their child’s progress.

A downside is that students will experience a limited social life because they aren’t physically going to school. But Hidalgo said the academy will offer networking opportunities to make up for that.

“Initially, I was a little bit apprehensive, only because you don’t have that face-to-face experience,” he said. “But after I saw some of the demonstrations and did some more research on it, I began to realize that kids learn in different environments. This is more of a self-paced, interactive type of school that might better accommodate some students.”

Lisa McClure, director of iQ Academy, said a virtual high school is an easy concept to grasp for the current generation. “Many school districts have already dabbled in online learning, and teachers coming out of universities now have taken courses online so they’re totally tuned into this,” she said.

McClure said she expects about 500 students to enroll for the fall season, which will begin Sept. 8. The academy has opened schools in eight other states.

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