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School Environment Evaluation Demographics State Online School (SOS) is a virtual, public charter school that educates K-12

students in one midwestern state. In 2010-2011, the average daily enrollment was 9,474 students. Of those students: 10.5% were Black, non-Hispanic 0.5% were American Indian or Alaska Native 3.6% were Asian or Pacific Islander 3.4% were Hispanic 2.0% were Multi-Racial 79.9% were White, non-Hispanic 11.4% were Students with Disabilities 55.3% were Economically Disadvantaged SOS has grown exponentially each year of its existence (opened in 2002). Most of the small staff (9 people) who were the first employees are still with the school. Over 12,000 students were enrolled at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. The administration predicts that the enrollment cap of 15,000 students will be reached during the 2012-2013 school year. After the 2010-2011 school year, the number of economically disadvantaged students caused the entire school to be considered a Title I school, which resulted in teacher shifts and funding changes. This also caused some changes in how services were provided, in order to incorporate all students into the funded services. Students at SOS are from a wide variety of areas within the state. Some live in very remote, rural regions. Other live in varying sizes of cities and towns, including large populations in the six cities that are over 100,000 in population. There are metropolitan areas that have over two million citizens. Administrative Filter Policy Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent because technology use is fully supported at all levels of the school. Although some office staff does work at the schools headquarters, every employee is supplied with a computer and printer. It is an online school and completely technology driven. As such, the policy is very clear to have technology at all levels. Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent I gave this the benchmark rating of Intelligent because the school is governed by a board who approves all policy. This includes technology at all levels. Further, the school is associated with a corporate entity that has schools in many areas. Part of this agreement with the board of SOS involved technology at all levels. There are some programs that are integrated among all of the schools, making this a necessity. Planning Behavioral -- Islands

Because of the unique nature of the school (statewide entity), it is not part of a school district. I gave this a benchmark of Islands, because, although much planning is quite obvious, there are many things done that do not seem to have a plan. If the school finds that there is extra funding, it seems that some quick way to use it is found, rather than having a plan in place for such events. Two years ago, all of the teachers were suddenly given an additional monitor (we had received one the year before, which was great). This new monitor was a touch screen monitor, which was impractical for our teaching environment, in most cases. It is a great monitor, but most teachers rarely have reasons to incorporate the touch screens. Resource/Infrastructure -- Islands For the same reasons above, I also gave this section the benchmark rating of Islands. To be completely honest, I am not sure that there is even a formal plan, although I think that there must be, given the corporate nature of the school. Budget Behavioral -- Integrated I gave this a benchmark rating of Integrated because I am not sure. I am assuming that, due to the corporate nature of the school, technology budgeting is high priority. I do not think that long-term budgeting is. There does not seem to be a schedule on which equipment is replaced for veteran families and teachers. Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent because of the nature of the school. Since it is online, technology must be included in the budget. Because this is an online school and technology is primary in every area, I do feel that specific technology budget is provided. Administrative Information Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this the benchmark rating of Intelligent. We absolutely use electronic systems for everything that we all do every day. Although some teachers may make a choice to print records for their own use, it is not a widely made choice. Almost everything is electronic, although there may be some paper copies that are required by law filed in the main office. Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent because administrative systems are absolutely available to all administrators and staff. There is a very small number of staff members who work in the main office. Most staff members, including many administrators and all teachers, work remotely from our own home offices. We must have the administrative systems available. We have many internal databases to which we have access. There are different levels of access, depending upon the needs of the individual position. Curricular Filter Electronic Information Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent because we must use information resources in order to do our jobs, both as staff members and students. Staff members receive communications from the main office, administrators, and various other teachers. Students receive information from the school, the principal, or teachers.

Resource/Infrastructure -- Integrated I gave this a benchmark rating of Integrated because I feel that both staff and students do not receive their information in a streamlined manner. For staff, when we are working on a major project (state testing or end of the year progress reports, for example), we often receive many emails detailing the steps we need to take. These can come from many different staff members. Information is often repeated. It is hard to decide what is current, what is most important, etc. It becomes very confusing and compromises the ability to do the job correctly. For students, it is much the same. The high school does have daily announcements posted, which are helpful. But, students and families are dependent upon what we send to them through our internal email system. They can receive many communications in a day. Although there is a weekly middle school newsletter, this can get lost among many other items. It is very hard for them to know what is important and what actually pertains to them. This causes many to shut down on reading and responding, which definitely hurts them in the long run. Assessment Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. With the exception of some requirements from students for written work samples, most assessments are completed online. The online curriculum has embedded assessments. We also use Study Island and Scantron Performance Assessments regularly. Resource/Infrastructure -- Islands I gave this a benchmark rating of Islands. Although the assessments are almost entirely online, they are not fluid in providing the correct information and assessments of the students. For example, the assessments in the online curriculum are considered mastered when a student achieves 80%. However, when the student has access to the parent account, he or she can see the answers. A tech savvy student can realize this and cheat very easily. A student can also take assessments over and over with no limit, achieving mastery just by trial and error. It is very hard to get many students to take the assessments that are outside of the online school. Without the data from Study Island and Scantron, it is very hard to gauge their levels of understanding. The systems are there, but they are not always used, with few repercussions for students and families. Curricular Integration Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. Because this is an entirely online school all courses and related activities are accessed via technology. Students do receive hard copy textbooks and other materials (i.e. for science experiments, etc.) Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent I also gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. It is exciting to be able to use technology for every part of the curriculum! Teacher Use Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. Because we are teaching online, we use technology for everything! Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent

I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. We are provided with many online resources other than the curriculum for supplemental work. Even if we provide anything that is hard copy, it is transmitted electronically. Student Use Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. Students must use technology every day and cannot meet outcomes without it. All of their assignments are given to them online. Much of their information is provided online, although they do have some hard copy textbooks and workbooks. This is subject specific, however, and none exist without a very intensive online component. Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent because students do have consistent and regular access to appropriate technologies. Upon enrollment, they are provided with a computer and printer/scanner from the corporate entity associated with the school. They sign an agreement that they have dependable internet access. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, but in theory it is the case. Support Filter Stakeholder Involvement Behavioral -- Integrated I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. While I am sure that the planning and implementation process is very detailed and professional, some of the stakeholders are often unaware of what is happening. There seems to be a level of secrecy that leaves many teachers and families uncomfortable. Resource/Infrastructure -- Integrated I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. I do think that most of the groups are represented in the planning and implementation process, although it may be very select members of certain groups with no representation of the masses at all. Administrative Support Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. There is definitely extensive administrative support in planning, practice, and implementation. Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. It almost seems that administrators are meeting constantly to plan. At the very least, all administrators usually meet for an entire days session weekly. Training Behavioral -- Islands I gave this a benchmark rating of Islands. We do have many training activities, especially in the first year after being hired (asynchronous online sessions), but there is so much more that is not covered. These sessions deal with the ins and outs of the online school, but not the great amount of technology other than that with which we deal every day. Resource/Infrastructure -- Integrated

I gave this a benchmark rating of Integrated. Ongoing training is provided by our corporate entity and some on staff who are technical wizards and pave the way through the different programs. Technical/Infrastructure Support Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. Staff members should take advantage of the technical support that is available both formally and informally and most do. If they do not, and are having a problem, their ability to meet the expectations of their positions will be be greatly compromised. Resource/Infrastructure -- Islands I gave this a benchmark rating of Islands. We have a staff of over 400 person and online one person is employed for technical support. If our machines need repair, it can take weeks. Items are often returned unrepaired because the machine did not display the difficulty when it was looked at. It becomes very tedious and uncomfortable for staff members to even think of contacting technical support. Connectivity Filter Local Area Networking (LAN) Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent because the main office does use LAN. Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent because the main office is in a metropolitan area and does have a powerful LAN. District Area Networking (WAN) Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent because it is used as much as it can be, especially in the main office. We are not districtwide and many are remote, so it is not applicable in many cases. Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent See the above description for behavioral. Internet Access Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. All staff uses the internet constantly. Resource/Infrastructure -- Islands I gave this a benchmark rating of Islands. The main office does have direct internet access. The rest of the internet access, however, is limited by what is available at each of the locations for staff members. I am limited in my area to a lower speed DSL. Many live in metropolitan areas and other areas with high speed cable. Some, however, are very limited to dial-up or satellite internet (and this was me just a couple of years ago). We are all reimbursed for our internet, so it is technically provided by the school. Communication Systems Behavioral -- Intelligent

I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. Email is used constantly all day long. We have an Outlook based email system for staff. We also have a very secure internal email system for staff, students, and families. Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. Because we are an online school, all families are expected to have working email addresses as backup to our internal email system. However, they are not provided school specific email addresses. Innovation Filter New Technologies Behavioral -- Integrated I gave this a benchmark rating of integrated. Technologies are introduced in such a way that staff has no choice to use, but many staff members are resistant to more change and new technologies. Resource/Infrastructure -- Integrated I gave this a benchmark rating of integrated. Although the technologies exist, not everyone uses what is accessible. It may take some pushing for everyone to use. Comprehensive Technologies Behavioral -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. We have every imaginable technology available, either provided by the school or for free on the internet. Since we are an online school, we are able to accomplish amazing things. Resource/Infrastructure -- Intelligent I gave this a benchmark rating of Intelligent. We regularly incorporate sound and videos into our lessons. It make take some time for everyone to make the transition, but the technologies are used very comprehensively. Overall Rating of School Environment -- Integrated I originally assumed that my overall rating would be Intelligent because we are a technology based, online school. However, I found that after I weighed everything I was choosing Integrated. We are very strong in most areas. However the rating of Islands in Planning, Training, Assessment, and Technical Support indicated significant gaps in the technological maturity of SOS. These must be addressed before being rated Intelligent, which I consider to be state of the art.