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Virtual School Programs Coming in Michigan
posted by: Alix | May 20, 2011, 03:07 PM   

With states facing budget shortfalls, districts everywhere are coming up with new and innovative ideas to consolidate programs and brace for budget cuts. While cuts may be the new "normal" when it comes to education funding, one district in Michigan has implemented a virtual learning program that actually raises money for the district. Administrators at Oxford Community Schools have started a new virtual high school, meant to connect students in China with teachers in the district and vice versa.

Last month Superintendent William Skilling announced the new international virtual school, allowing Chinese parents the opportunity to pay tuition to ensure their child is prepared for the best American and Chinese universities. The Northeast Yucai Oxford International Senior High School in Shenyang includes at least one residential year and the option of two in the U.S. The courses will be $250 for international students and free of charge for Oxford students.

"We are arranging a virtual student exchange program that means students in China attend 8 p.m. to 3 or 4 a.m. their time. And the opportunity will exist for our students to be full-time exchange students by starting evening virtual classes in the early morning hours," said Superintendent Skilling.

The program would not only draw in money for the district but allow American students the chance to learn Chinese from native speakers and interact on a more personal level.

In conjunction with the $250 charge for virtual classes, Chinese students will have the option to physically spend the year at the Michigan school. Tuition for as many as forty Chinese students at the International Residence School in Oxford will be $30,200 for a package that will include room and board for the year, a world-class education, fees related to clubs and trips, and costs for cultural experiences and sporting events. Students are now being interviewed for the fall through Skype.

The revenue-drawing component of the program not only helps Chinese students looking to advance their English-speaking education, but gives Oxford students the opportunity to socialize and interact with children from different cultures and backgrounds.

Not only will the students be benefiting from the program, but the teachers will be given new opportunities as well. Oxford teachers will be given first option to teach the virtual courses to international students. Some courses will be offered online around the clock, and others will be interactive distance-learning courses, allowing teachers the flexibility of setting their own schedule and the opportunity to teach diverse groups of children.

With this Michigan school leading the way, soon teachers, students, and families will have access to curriculums and information never thought possible using simple affordable technologies.

What do you think of this school? Are virtual schools the wave of the future?
Comment below.

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