Oregon Department of Education
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10/21/2015 3:07:00 PM
State Improves Online Learning Support for Rural Schools
Over 250 students access online courses through Oregon Academy of Online Learning

(Salem, Ore) – The Oregon Department of Education is launching the Oregon Academy of Online Learning to provide improved services and supports around online learning, particularly for rural Oregon schools and districts. Students in Oregon’s small and rural districts do not always have access to the courses needed for personalized learning and preparation for career and college. Course access through the Oregon Academy of Online Learning offers students more flexibility, increased curricular options, and alternatives to meet their unique learning interests.

Online courses launched this fall and provide students in eligible districts with access to more than 40 online courses taught by highly qualified teachers. More than 250 students in Oregon’s most rural districts are currently enrolled in Advanced Placement, world language, advanced math, or other specialty courses that their schools would not otherwise be able to offer.

“Every student in Oregon deserves access to rigorous and engaging courses designed to meet their needs and interests,” said Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor. “However, for some of our most rural districts, finding the highly qualified teachers to offer those courses – or a sufficient number of students to take them – can be a real challenge. High-quality online learning can help ensure that students in rural communities have access to the same opportunities to learn, explore, and prepare for college and career as their peers in more urban districts.”

The Oregon Academy of Online Learning is currently prioritizing access to its online courses to students in the more than 130 school districts that are designated as small and rural. Students from Adel to Yoncalla can now access online courses such as AP U.S. History, Web Design, Calculus, Astronomy, and Veterinary Science. These courses, all taught by highly qualified teachers, are provided through a partnership with Oregon Virtual Education out of Northwest Education Service District.

“Small rural schools like North Lake cannot hire highly qualified teachers for part time positions,” said North Lake School District Superintendent David Kerr. “Our students have a bilingual educational assistant in class with them, and I believe that this is the best foreign language instruction our students have had access to in several years. This online program has been a great addition to North Lake.”

The Oregon Academy of Online Learning is a revamp of the Oregon Virtual School District. In addition to the full online courses, districts also have access to online course content that they can use to offer locally taught online or blended learning offerings. Resources are available from sources such as Florida Virtual School and the National Repository of Online Courses and include resources from subject matter experts such as NASA and Khan Academy. Additional resources and course offerings will continue to be added to expand and enhance the program.
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