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A26, R48, H3097
Sponsors: Reps. Rice, Walker, G.R. Smith, Shoopman, Cobb-Hunter, Mahaffey, Cotty, Owens, D.C. Smith, Bedingfield, Bales and Viers
Document Path: l:\council\bills\ggs\22611sj07.doc
Companion/Similar bill(s): 217
Introduced in the House on January 9, 2007
Introduced in the Senate on February 27, 2007
Last Amended on May 1, 2007
Passed by the General Assembly on May 1, 2007
Governor's Action: May 15, 2007, Signed
Summary: Virtual School Program established
HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS
Date Body Action Description with journal page number ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 12/13/2006 House Prefiled 12/13/2006 House Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works 1/9/2007 House Introduced and read first time HJ-57 1/9/2007 House Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works HJ-57 1/11/2007 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Cotty 1/24/2007 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Owens 1/25/2007 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: D.C.Smith 2/5/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 2/6/2007 House Committee report: Favorable with amendment Education and Public Works HJ-2 2/7/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 2/8/2007 House Requests for debate-Rep(s). Duncan, Merrill, Hinson, R Brown, Hayes, Whitmire, Walker, Loftis, Thompson, JH Neal, and Parks HJ-23 2/8/2007 House Debate adjourned until Tuesday, February 13, 2007 HJ-40 2/13/2007 House Debate adjourned until Wednesday, February 14, 2007 HJ-33 2/14/2007 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Bedingfield 2/14/2007 House Amended HJ-33 2/14/2007 House Debate adjourned until Thursday, February 15, 2007 HJ-39 2/15/2007 House Debate adjourned until Tuesday, February 20, 2007 HJ-24 2/20/2007 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Bales 2/20/2007 House Debate interrupted HJ-15 2/21/2007 House Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Viers 2/21/2007 House Amended HJ-23 2/21/2007 House Debate interrupted HJ-23 2/21/2007 House Read second time HJ-40 2/21/2007 House Roll call Yeas-85 Nays-33 HJ-42 2/22/2007 House Read third time and sent to Senate HJ-27 2/22/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 2/27/2007 Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-5 2/27/2007 Senate Referred to Committee on Education SJ-5 3/1/2007 Senate Committee report: Favorable with amendment Education SJ-7 3/5/2007 Scrivener's error corrected SJ-16 3/6/2007 Senate Amended SJ-16 3/7/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 3/7/2007 Senate Special order SJ-31 3/13/2007 Senate Amended SJ-27 3/13/2007 Senate Read second time SJ-27 3/14/2007 Scrivener's error corrected 3/14/2007 Senate Amended SJ-13 3/14/2007 Senate Read third time and returned to House with amendments SJ-13 3/20/2007 House Non-concurrence in Senate amendment HJ-28 3/21/2007 Senate Senate insists upon amendment and conference committee appointed Hayes, Short, and Fair SJ-15 3/28/2007 House Conference committee appointed Reps. Walker, Owens, and JM Neal HJ-1 5/1/2007 House Conference report received and adopted HJ-32 5/1/2007 Senate Conference report adopted SJ-13 5/2/2007 House Ordered enrolled for ratification HJ-3 5/9/2007 Ratified R 48 5/15/2007 Signed By Governor 5/17/2007 Copies available 5/17/2007 Effective date 05/15/07 5/22/2007 Act No. 26
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VERSIONS OF THIS BILL
(A26, R48, H3097)
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 16 TO TITLE 59 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS AUTHORIZED TO ESTABLISH THE SOUTH CAROLINA VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAM, TO PROVIDE REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES FOR THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAM, TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN ONLINE COURSE CREDITS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE STUDENTS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM AND FOR THE QUALIFICATIONS OF TEACHERS AND INSTRUCTORS IN THE PROGRAM, TO PROVIDE FOR AN ONLINE PILOT PROGRAM TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF PROVIDING THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAM TO STUDENTS ENROLLED IN ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAMS, TO PROVIDE FOR AN ANNUAL REPORT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ON THE PROGRAM AND FOR OTHER DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IN REGARD TO THE PROGRAM, AND TO PROVIDE THAT IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAM IS CONTINGENT ON FUNDING BEING PROVIDED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY; AND BY ADDING SECTION 59-40-65 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED IN A CHARTER SCHOOL APPLICATION IF THE CHARTER SCHOOL OFFERS A PROGRAM OF ONLINE OR COMPUTER INSTRUCTION, TO PROVIDE THAT CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS MAY ENROLL IN THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAM PURSUANT TO PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS, AND TO PROVIDE FOR OTHER DUTIES OR REQUIREMENTS OF THE CHARTER SCHOOL GOVERNING BODY AND THE CHARTER SCHOOL IN REGARD TO A PROGRAM OF ONLINE OR COMPUTER INSTRUCTION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Virtual School Program
SECTION 1. Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 59-16-10. (A) The General Assembly finds that:
(1) through the use of technology, South Carolina can create educational opportunities for the students of this State that may not exist without such technology; and
(2) using technology to deliver instruction can provide effective alternatives for credit recovery, meeting graduation requirements, resolving scheduling conflicts, delivering curriculum content when there is a shortage of certified personnel, providing a more flexible and individualized instructional pace, and offering low-incidence courses.
(B) It is the purpose of the General Assembly, in this chapter to establish the South Carolina Virtual School Program to ensure consistent high quality education for the students of South Carolina utilizing technology-delivered courses.
Section 59-16-15. (A) The State Board of Education is authorized to establish the South Carolina Virtual School Program to provide South Carolina students access to distance, online, or virtual learning courses offered for an initial unit of credit. Additionally, the South Carolina Virtual School Program shall offer access to credit recovery programs for students who have been identified by a school district as not having received credit for a course previously taken or for students who have been identified by a school district as not likely to receive credit for a course in which the student is currently enrolled. Students may enroll in courses for credit recovery based on policies established by the State Board of Education. The South Carolina Virtual School Program shall not award a South Carolina High School diploma.
(B) A public, private, or homeschool student residing in South Carolina who is twenty-one years of age or younger shall be eligible to enroll in the South Carolina Virtual School Program. A private school or home school student enrolled in the South Carolina Virtual School Program must not be entitled to any rights, privileges, courses, activities, or services available to a public school student other than receiving an appropriate unit of credit for a completed course.
(C) Students may be awarded a maximum of three online initial credits in a school year, and no more than twelve online initial credits throughout high school. However, the State Board of Education shall establish an appeals process whereby the governing body of the student's school district may grant a waiver to exceed the established limit.
(D) Local school districts shall accurately transcribe a student's final numeric grade to the student's permanent record and transcript. Home school students and private school students shall receive a certified grade report indicating date, course, and final numeric grade from the South Carolina Virtual School Program or an entity approved by the State Board of Education.
(E) Students enrolled in an online course for a unit of credit must be administered final exams and appropriate state assessments in a proctored environment.
(F) It is not the responsibility of the school, district, or state to provide home computer equipment and Internet access for enrollment in courses provided by the South Carolina Virtual School Program. However, nothing in this section shall prohibit a school or district from providing home computer equipment or Internet access to students enrolled in the South Carolina Virtual School Program.
Section 59-16-20. (A) The South Carolina Virtual School Program shall be housed in and managed by the State Department of Education. The department may contract for distance learning courses, develop courses, or approve courses submitted by entities.
(B) Each course offered for a unit of credit shall be reviewed for correlation with the state adopted academic standards prior to being offered.
(C) All distance, online, or virtual learning courses offered for a unit of credit must be aligned with the state adopted academic standards, include appropriate course materials, and be approved by the State Department of Education.
(D) Instructors must hold a valid teaching certificate in each content area being taught or receive approval from the State Department of Education to teach the course.
(E) All virtual schoolteachers must receive appropriate preservice and in-service training pertaining to the organization, classroom management, technical aspects, monitoring of student assessment, and other pertinent training from the State Department of Education.
Section 59-16-30. As used in this chapter:
(1) 'Distance learning' means the acquisition of knowledge and skills through mediated information and instruction, encompassing all technologies and other forms of learning at a distance. Distance learning includes online and virtual courses.
(2) 'Online learning' means learning delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies.
(3) 'Proctored' means directly monitored by an adult authorized by the South Carolina Virtual School Program.
(4) 'Virtual classroom' means the online learning space where students and instructors interact.
(5) 'School year' means the one hundred eighty days of student instruction required pursuant to Section 59-1-420 and student instruction received as part of a summer school program.
(6) 'Credit recovery' means self-paced, semester-long courses that target learning in areas of greatest weakness, allowing nontraditional or at-risk students to rapidly complete courses, recover credits, and progress to graduation.
Section 59-16-40. The State Board of Education shall develop guidelines and promulgate regulations to include, but may not be limited to, the following:
(1) procedures and criteria to be used for the selection of online courses to be offered for a unit of credit;
(2) qualifications and registration requirements of students who may enroll in online courses to include provisions outlining the enrollment of students that have been expelled from school;
(3) procedures for private and homeschool students to enroll in courses offered;
(4) teacher qualifications and the student-to-teacher ratio for online courses;
(5) appropriateness and provisions for charging tuition and fees;
(6) procedures for establishing uniform evaluation of student progress and awarding of the final grade;
(7) process for maintaining student records and reporting and recording grades on the student's transcript;
(8) procedures and requirements for employment, supervision, and evaluation of teachers;
(9) procedures and requirements for supervision, monitoring, assessment, and evaluation of enrolled students; and
(10) student expectations.
Section 59-16-50. Through the use of an online pilot program, the State Department of Education shall examine the feasibility of providing services of the South Carolina Virtual School Program to students enrolled in adult education programs and shall make recommendations to the General Assembly no later than January 1, 2008.
Section 59-16-60. Annually, the State Board of Education shall provide the General Assembly a report that shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:
(1) list of courses offered through the virtual school;
(2) number of local school districts and number of the district students participating in the virtual school;
(3) private schools and number of the private school students participating in the virtual school;
(4) number of homeschool students participating in the virtual school;
(5) success rates for students by courses enrolled in the virtual school;
(6) number of students who dropped a course and reasons for dropping;
(7) expenditures made for the virtual school; and
(8) number of students unable to enroll because of space limitation.
Section 59-16-70. At the end of each semester, the State Department of Education shall provide student records, including course grades and performance on state assessments, to the Education Oversight Committee. The Education Oversight Committee shall monitor the impact of credits earned in the virtual school, on the school and district ratings, with particular attention to performance on end-of-course examinations and graduation rates.
Section 59-16-80. The implementation of the provisions contained in this chapter are contingent upon the appropriation of funds by the General Assembly."
Charter school provisions and requirements
SECTION 2. Chapter 40, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 59-40-65. (A) If the governing body of a charter school offers as part of its curriculum a program of online or computer instruction, this information shall be included in the application and the governing body shall be required to:
(1) provide each student enrolled in the program with a course or courses of online or computer instruction approved by the State Department of Education that must meet or exceed the South Carolina content and grade specific standards. Students enrolled in the program of online or computer instruction must receive all instructional materials required for the student's program;
(2) ensure that the persons who operate the program on a day-to-day basis comply with and carry out all applicable requirements, statutes, regulations, rules, and policies of the charter school;
(3) ensure that each course offered through the program is taught by a teacher meeting the requirements of Section 59-40-50;
(4) ensure that a parent or legal guardian of each student verifies the number of hours of educational activities completed by the student each school year;
(5) adopt a plan by which it will provide:
(a) frequent, ongoing monitoring to ensure and verify that each student is participating in the program, including proctored assessment(s) per semester in core subjects graded or evaluated by the teacher, and at least bi-weekly parent-teacher conferences in person or by telephone;
(b) regular instructional opportunities in real time that are directly related to the school's curricular objectives, including, but not limited to, meetings with teachers and educational field trips and outings;
(c) verification of ongoing student attendance in the program;
(d) verification of ongoing student progress and performance in each course as documented by ongoing assessments and examples of student coursework;
(6) administer to all students in a proctored setting all applicable assessments as required by the South Carolina Education Accountability Act.
(B) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a charter school that provides a program of online or computer instruction from reimbursing families of enrolled students for costs associated with their Internet connection for use in the program.
(C) A charter school shall provide no more than seventy-five percent of a student's core academic instruction in kindergarten through twelfth grade via an online or computer instruction program. The twenty-five percent of the student's core academic instruction may be met through the regular instructional opportunities outlined in subitem (A)(5)(b).
(D) Charter school students may enroll in the South Carolina Virtual School Program pursuant to program requirements.
(E) Private or homeschool students choosing to take courses from a virtual charter school may not be provided instructional materials, or any other materials associated with receiving instruction through a program of online or computer instruction at the state's expense.
(F) Only students enrolled in the charter school as a full-time student shall be reported in the charter school's average daily membership to the State Department of Education for the purposes of receiving state or federal funds. Private and homeschool students may not be included in the student weighted pupil units or average daily membership reported to the State Department of Education for the purposes of receiving state or federal funds."
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 9th day of May, 2007.
Approved the 15th day of May, 2007.
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