Recruiting, Training, Supporting, and Evaluating Online Teachers: A Cross-case Analysis of Teaching Infrastructure Across Virtual Schools

Published on February 17, 2015
Written By: 

Kathryn KennedyMichigan Virtual Learning Research Institute

The Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute conducted a study of the similarities and differences across Virtual School Leadership Alliance member programs with a focus on teacher recruitment, hiring, training, support, evaluation and retention.

Recruiting, Training, Supporting, and Evaluating Online Teachers Report CoverTeachers are one of the key building blocks of education systems. Schools, districts, and other education programs’ processes for recruitment, licensure, hiring, training, and supporting teachers make a crucial difference in the health of a learning environment. For this reason, programs that hire and/or support teachers have a vested interest in them from recruitment through the length of their employment. Key to retaining these teachers are effectively designed training and support components of a program (Desimone, 2009). Based on the significance of this topic, the Virtual School Leadership Alliance made teacher support and retention their first major research effort. The Virtual School Leadership Alliance (Alliance) is an association of the chiefs of leading virtual schools across the country that provides collegial support and collaborative opportunities for the individual members and member organizations to share resources, services, and expertise. Members of the Alliance for 2014-15 include Georgia Virtual Learning, Howard County Public School System, Idaho Digital Learning, IDEAL-New Mexico, Illinois Virtual School, Indiana Online Academy, Michigan Virtual, Montana Digital Academy, North Carolina Virtual Public School, The Virtual High School (VHS), the Wisconsin eSchool Network, Wisconsin Virtual School, and Virtual SC. Evergreen Education Group provides strategic guidance, conducts research, and coordinates the activities of the Alliance to ensure productive communication, collaboration, and value for each member.

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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.