Data & Information
IllinoisIllinois has a state virtual school (the Illinois Virtual School), several district-level online and blended schools, and a consortium of suburban Chicago districts offering online courses. There are no statewide fully online schools.
Fully online schools
The Chicago Virtual Charter School (CVCS), with curriculum and services provided by K12 Inc., had its first students in fall 2006. CVCS enrolled 686 students in SY 2013-14, a 15.5% increase over SY 2012-13. It requires students to meet at a physical location once a week to address a legal provision that charter schools not be home-based. However, a June 2009 court ruling seems to indicate that other aspects of CVCS operations are what keep CVCS from being home-based. This ruling addresses a 2006 lawsuit filed by the Chicago Teachers Union claiming that CVCS was not a legal charter school because Illinois law indicates that charter schools may not be home-based. The lawsuit also claimed that the school was not meeting the requirements of state law with respect to student supervision. In June 2009, Judge Daniel Riley of the Circuit Court of Cook County dismissed the lawsuit. In his ruling, Riley found that CVCS was not home-based. In addition, he found that as a charter school, CVCS was not required to meet the definitions of direct supervision specified in Illinois school code. Instead, the standard for CVCS is specified in the charter issued by the school district.
Cambridge Academy is a virtual academy that received approval from the state in June 2011 to offer full-time options for K-12 students statewide. However, to serve students from outside the district it will need to have agreements in place with each student’s district of residence. Prairie Crossing Charter School also is offering online courses.
State virtual school
Illinois Virtual School (IVS) served 3,097 course enrollments in SY 2013-14, a 3% increase over the previous year. It is funded via state appropriation ($1.45 million in 2013-14), and course enrollment fees of $250 per student per semester. IVS is the online provider for original credit online courses for the Chicago Public Schools. (Chicago Public School course enrollments through IVS are included in 2,994 reported by the state virtual school.) IVS expanded middle school courses in 2013 to include grades 6-8 in most core subject areas, and launched a blended learning pilot program providing courses and a learning management system for districts that want to use local teachers at $65 per student per course. IVS provided teacher professional development online to 679 Illinois teachers in SY 2012-13 through both self-paced asynchronous and instructor-led courses, a 51% increase over SY 2011-12.
Indian Prairie School District offers online courses to in-district students and reported 333 course enrollments in SY 2012-13.
Online learning policy history
In 2009, Illinois enacted its first online learning law, HB2448 (Public Act 96-0684), which allowed school districts to establish “remote educational programs” and count these enrollments toward the general state aid formula. The law required that the program be delivered in a classroom or other traditional school setting, and on days the district was in attendance during the regular school year. In 2011, HB3223 (Public Act 97-0339) amended the law by allowing districts to receive state funding for students in a remote education program delivered “in the home or other location outside of a school building” and on any day of the year, including those outside the standard school calendar. A district must submit the school board policy and remote education plan to the Illinois State Board of Education. A limited number of school districts have created a remote educational program, and information on them is not readily available.
HB494 (2013) amends the Charter Schools Law of the School Code to establish a one-year moratorium on charter schools with “virtual-schooling components” through April 1, 2014. The moratorium does not apply to a “charter school with virtual-schooling components existing or approved prior to April 1, 2013.” HB494 requires the State Charter School Commission to submit a report on the effect of virtual schooling to the General Assembly including its effect on student performance, the costs associated with virtual schooling, and oversight issues, on or before March 1, 2014.
In early 2013 the proposed Illinois Virtual Charter School @ Fox River Valley (ILVCS@FRV) approached 18 school districts in the Fox Valley region to approve and participate in a new virtual charter school that would serve students in the 18 districts. The school would have been governed by a nonprofit group, Virtual Learning Solutions, and managed by K12 Inc. All 18 school districts rejected the ILVCS@FRV proposal. Virtual Learning Solutions then filed 18 separate appeals (one for each district) to the State Charter School Commission. While those appeals were pending, HB494 was signed into law, and the appeals were withdrawn.
VOISE (Virtual Opportunities Inside a School Environment) Academy in Chicago uses a blended learning approach in which students attend the physical school. The VOISE Academy is a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) performance school created under the CPS Renaissance 2010 initiative. Youth Connection Charter School, also in Chicago and operated in partnership with K12 Inc., is a blended program for students 18-21 who dropped out of high school. The school graduated 120 students in 2010-11.
last updated October 15, 2014back to map