Who are we?
Virtual Arkansas is a state virtual school that partners with public school districts to provide course opportunities to students that cannot be offered with local resources. We are not an online high school or a diploma-granting institution, but are a resource for supplementing education for public school students. The program is implemented through a partnership between the Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas Education Service Cooperatives. This initiative is guided by Act 2325 of 2005: An Act to Provide Distance Learning.
Why are we here?
According to Act 2325 of 2005, distance learning opportunities were employed:
Virtual Arkansas is committed to recruiting, developing and maintaining the best practitioners in the education profession. All Virtual Arkansas teachers are Arkansas qualified and certified teachers, with over 75% holding a masters degree or higher. We provide continual job-embedded training to best facilitate instruction in our unique blended learning environment. While being highly trained is a standard with teachers at Virtual Arkansas, we take pride in the fact that our strongest emphasis is with the relationships our instructors build with students through various digital tools including Zoom. Students are able to connect with instructors to receive real time support in their learning.
Virtual Arkansas offers a variety of courses that are built by Arkansas licensed teachers and subject matter experts with Arkansas frameworks as the focus. Our courses go through a rigorous design and development process and are on a cycle of review for quality. We want to be sure that we are offering students the most up to date learning experience possible.
Distance learning in Arkansas has been around in various forms since the 1994. View the timeline below for how it has emerged from there.
Initially, the Ozarks Unlimited Resources Educational Cooperative in Harrison, Arkansas, offered the first distance learning courses to 22 schools in the OUR region and six in the Dequeen/Mena Educational Cooperative region.
The Arkansas School for Math and Science (ASMA) received a Pilot Projects Goal 2000 grant to implement distance learning for high school students using Enhanced Audiographics technology, which was being used by the State of Louisiana.
The Arkansas Department of Education hired two Spanish teachers, who taught in offices located in the Arch Ford wing of ADE. In late summer, the Arkansas Virtual High School was founded and began developing online, asynchronous courses.
In January, Arkansas Virtual High School’s courses were made available to a pilot group of 50 students across the state. In July 2000, the two teachers who taught from ADE were relocated to The Ranch on HWY 5.
The Distance Learning Center (DLC) was established in Maumelle, Arkansas, to provide standards based course instruction throughout Arkansas using the state CIV network. Students across the state could take classes through a live television feed with a certified teacher providing instruction.
Two schools who received content from the DLC also had computers in their CIV rooms. This began the use of delivering asynchronous content to students to their desktop using the IBM Sametime platform, combined with the synchronous instruction over the CIV network.
The ADE expanded K-12 distance learning opportunities in Arkansas by establishing the CTE campus at the Dawson Educational Cooperative.
The Concurrent Credit campus was established at the Southeast Educational Cooperative.
Northeast, Northwest, Great Rivers, and Arch Ford each receive grants for enriching courses in specific areas.
The State Coordinator for Distance Learning was commissioned to submit a proposal to move away from CIV towards a state virtual school.
With the rise of web-based communication tools, Virtual Arkansas, the premier online learning resource for Arkansas schools, began its pilot year.
Presently, using the internet and a learning management system, students can now be connected to quality learning experiences from anywhere in the state.
Virtual Arkansas is continually working to grow in quality and service for Arkansas schools. Our goal is to engage, equip, and empower Arkansas students. We seek to hire excellent teachers, provide superior courses, and integrate up to date educational technologies.