Guest blog post by John Watson. John is the founder of the Evergreen Education Group. He started consulting in 2000 after serving as director of business development and consultant for eCollege, where he helped educational organizations launch their online programs and was instrumental in developing the company’s K-12 strategy. John and Evergreen’s work has been cited in the New York Times, Education Week, and eSchool News, he has appeared on NBC Nightly News, and he has presented numerous times at the Virtual School Symposium of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, Technology and Leadership Conference of the National School Boards Association, and other conferences. Prior to online learning, John worked in environmental consulting, environmental education, and a variety of other education, environmental, and travel-related fields. John holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MS and MBA from the University of Michigan.

On behalf of our 14 terrific sponsors, Evergreen Education Group is thrilled to announce the release of Keeping Pace with Online and Blended Learning: A Guide to Policy and Practice 2012 in conjunction with iNACOL’s Virtual School Symposium, being held this week in New Orleans.

Keeping Pace strives to be a resource for K-12 online and blended learning practitioners and policy makers around the country. We work with programs, districts, LEAs, state agencies, and other online organizations in every state to bring you the most up-to-date information possible. Highlights from this year’s report include:

  • Blended learning continues to be an important story in K-12 online learning (and is reflected in our report title for the first time this year). Once-fully online schools are adapting to student demand for in-person services, school districts are responding to student desire for flexibility, and full-time blended schools (typically charters) are opening around the country.
  • 275,000 students were enrolled in fully online K-12 programs around the country in school year 2011-12. As of fall 2012, 31 states allow multi-district fully online schools.
  • State virtual schools reported 619,847 course enrollments (one student enrolled in one semester-long course) in school year 2011-12, an increase of 16%. State virtual schools continue to bifurcate into two groups: those that are well-supported and growing (Florida Virtual School reported 303,329 course enrollments) and those that are not well-supported and shrinking or closing (Tennessee and Kentucky both closed state virtual schools in the last year).
  • Keeping Pace 2011 included a Planning for Quality section that offered guidance to leaders who are starting and growing online and blended programs. Keeping Pace 2012 offers three possible timelines as a companion to that guide.

Through support from our generous sponsors (including Blackboard), the entire Keeping Pace report, many of the graphics, and all of the state profiles are available for download and use at our website: www.kpk12.com. We also maintain a blog on that website that will keep you up to date in the ever-shifting world of K-12 online and blended learning. If there are topics you would like to see covered on our blog or in Keeping Pace 2013, please let us know.

If you are at the Virtual School Symposium this week, please come to one of our two Keeping Pace sessions: a presentation of the report at 11:15am Monday, or a panel discussion with a few of our sponsors at 11am Tuesday.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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