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NEWS RELEASES 2008-09 :: AUGUST 7, 2008


North Carolina’s online virtual public school celebrated its first birthday today. State education leaders reviewed first year positive results at a special birthday celebration held in conjunction with the State Board of Education’s August meeting in Raleigh. Continued gains in enrollment, student passing rates and student and educator satisfaction ratings show plenty to celebrate.

The NC Virtual Public School (NCVPS) was launched in June 2007 by Lt. Governor Bev Perdue, the State Board of Education and the NC Department of Public Instruction. The program has grown from an initial student base of 4,100 with first year enrollments topping 17,000. Current summer and fall numbers are projected to put NCVPS over the 25,000 enrollment mark.

The Virtual Public School's strong enrollment in year one proves that our students and teachers are ready for this 21st century learning option," said Lt. Governor Bev Perdue. "This kind of e-learning will help prepare our students for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future."

Dr. Bryan Setser, executive director of NCVPS and Learn and Earn Online, said, "North Carolina's first year in e-learning at the K-12 level has seen an incredible response all across the state. Student enthusiasm, creative support from educators, continued legislative support from the General Assembly and innovative leadership across our 115 school districts will continue to make North Carolina an e-learning leader nationally for years to come." Students participate in the NCVPS both on their school campuses as well as independently from their own homes. The most popular courses for online students are Advanced Placement and foreign languages, courses that can present staffing and scheduling challenges to local schools. Many school leaders see the NCVPS as an opportunity to broaden opportunities for all students – regardless of where they live or the size of their school or community. One student from Catawba County, Dexter Shelton earned 32 hours of college credit, allowing this student to have completed his first year of college at no cost to him or his family.

In April, North Carolina State University’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation delivered a study on the effectiveness of the NCVPS, and these results were presented today to the State Board of Education. Results from the Friday Institute report indicate a steady increase in student, teacher and distance learning advisor satisfaction as well as continued improvement in passing rates. Two courses of major focus for NCVPS have been Algebra I and English I. Passing rates have now surpassed the 70% mark and EOC scores rose an average of 12 points from Summer 2007. AP courses continue to be major strength of the program with passing rates on some courses well over 89%. Mandarin Chinese was piloted this year and the results also look promising. All students completed the course and the passing rate topped 70%. "We are encouraged by the promise of providing innovative world languages online like Mandarin, and hope to continue to expand our world language program. We are very pleased with results, especially with a complex language such as Mandarin, "comments Setser. Also highlighted in the State Board of Education presentation were the upswing in course enrollments, improvements in student performance in the NCVPS courses and the key role that virtual learning is playing in student’s academic schedules. The full report will be available online in August after the State Board of Education meeting.

For more information on the North Carolina Virtual Public School and Learn and Earn Online, visit or call the NCDPI Communications division, 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.