Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

02/17/2017 08:00 AM EDUCATION

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Audio Topic
08:00:52 AM Start
08:02:23 AM Presentation: Virtual Education from a Statewide Perspective; Florida Virtual Schools; New York State Distance Learning Consortium
09:24:35 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Virtual Education from a Statewide Perspective TELECONFERENCED
Florida Virtual Schools
Mike Bayba, New York State Distance Learning
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE EDUCATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 17, 2017                                                                                        
                           8:00 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Shelley Hughes, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: VIRTUAL EDUCATION FROM A STATEWIDE PERSPECTIVE;                                                                   
FLORIDA VIRTUAL SCHOOLS; NEW YORK STATE DISTANCE LEARNING                                                                       
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
VIRGINIA GESLER, Digital Education Consultant                                                                                   
Florida Virtual Schools (FLVS)                                                                                                  
Tampa, Florida                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information on Florida's Virtual                                                                
HOLLY SAGUES, Executive Director                                                                                                
Government Affairs and Strategic Solutions                                                                                      
Florida Virtual Schools (FLVS)                                                                                                  
Tampa, Florida                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented information on Florida's Virtual                                                                
MIKE BAYBA, Co-President                                                                                                        
New York State Distance Learning Consortium                                                                                     
Buffalo, New York                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  information on  New  York  State                                                             
Distance Learning Consortium (NYSDLC).                                                                                          
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:00:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SHELLEY  HUGHES  called   the  Senate  Education  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 8:00  a.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were  Senators Begich, Giessel, Coghill,  and Chair Hughes.                                                               
Senator Stevens arrived shortly thereafter.                                                                                     
CHAIR HUGHES said the presentation  on virtual education would be                                                               
by two  organizations that  are leading  the way  nationally. The                                                               
Florida  Virtual School  (FLVS)  offers  full-time and  part-time                                                               
virtual  education  for  students  throughout  the  country.  She                                                               
understood  that a  few Alaska  School  Districts have  purchased                                                               
content  from   FLVS.  The  New  York   State  Distance  Learning                                                               
Consortium  (NYSDLC)  connects  school districts  throughout  New                                                               
York to exchange virtual education  courses with other districts.                                                               
The  presentation  by NYSDLC  will  be  using video  conferencing                                                               
^PRESENTATION:  VIRTUAL EDUCATION  FROM A  STATEWIDE PERSPECTIVE;                                                               
FLORIDA  VIRTUAL  SCHOOLS;  NEW   YORK  STATE  DISTANCE  LEARNING                                                               
 PRESENTATION: VIRTUAL EDUCATION FROM A STATEWIDE PERSPECTIVE;                                                              
   FLORIDA VIRTUAL SCHOOLS; NEW YORK STATE DISTANCE LEARNING                                                                
8:02:23 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
a   presentation   on   Virtual  Education   from   a   Statewide                                                               
Perspective;  Florida Virtual  Schools; New  York State  Distance                                                               
Learning Consortium.                                                                                                            
She noted that Senator Stevens joined the committee.                                                                            
8:02:51 AM                                                                                                                    
VIRGINIA  GESLER, Digital  Education Consultant,  Florida Virtual                                                               
Schools  (FLVS),  presented   information  on  Florida's  Virtual                                                               
Schools. She noted that FLVS was  the first virtual school in the                                                               
nation. She shared the history of FLVS:                                                                                         
     1996-Orange  and Alachua  Counties  receive a  $200,000                                                                    
     grant  from the  Florida  Department  of Education  and                                                                    
     pilot a "Web School" with five online courses.                                                                             
     1997-Florida  High  School  (now  FLVS)  launches  with                                                                    
     seven staff members.                                                                                                       
     2003-FLVS  joins forces  with Florida  school districts                                                                    
     to increase the capacity of  students who can be served                                                                    
     online through an in-state franchise program.                                                                              
     2003-FLVS becomes  fully funded as a  statewide virtual                                                                    
     school  and  becomes  part  of  the  Florida  Education                                                                    
     Finance Program.                                                                                                           
     2012-FLVS  experiences  continual   growth  in  student                                                                    
     enrollments and now delivers more than 120 courses.                                                                        
     2013-275 FLVS  Full Time  12th grade  students graduate                                                                    
     and receive high school diplomas.                                                                                          
     2014-FLVS reaches  a milestone  of 2  million completed                                                                    
     semester courses.                                                                                                          
8:06:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. GESLER related how FLVS looks today:                                                                                        
     440,300 half-credit courses completed 2015-16                                                                              
     In   Florida,   we   offer  Full-time   and   Part-time                                                                    
     License   our  rigorous   curriculum  in   every  state                                                                    
     throughout the U.S. and internationally                                                                                    
     Over 150  Courses - Core, Elective,  Honors, AP, Credit                                                                    
     Over 1,200 full time teachers                                                                                              
     Accredited and NCAA approved                                                                                               
     Courses meet  SREB Essential Principals of  Quality and                                                                    
     the iNACOL Standards for Quality Online Content                                                                            
     FLVS Global is a non-profit entity                                                                                         
8:07:58 AM                                                                                                                    
HOLLY   SAGUES,  Executive   Director,  Government   Affairs  and                                                               
Strategic  Solutions, Florida  Virtual Schools  (FLVS), presented                                                               
information  on  Florida's  Virtual Schools.  She  shared  FLVS's                                                               
results of  end of  course exams  in Algebra,  Biology, Geometry,                                                               
Civics, and U.S. History. She said  since FLVS is a public school                                                               
they  are held  to  the same  accountability  standards as  every                                                               
other public school.  She noted  that FLVS exceeds or matches the                                                               
state average in all areas.                                                                                                     
8:09:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  SAGUES described  FLVS funding.  They began  as a  line item                                                               
grant for  the first  years. The legislature  would award  FLVS a                                                               
specific amount. In 2003, the  legislature included FLVS into the                                                               
Florida Education Finance Program  (FEFP). She explained that the                                                               
formula  FLVS and  all virtual  education funding,  is unique  in                                                               
that they are funded upon  successful completion by each student.                                                               
She said they  have fewer funding categories and  a lower funding                                                               
level than regular education funding.                                                                                           
She explained  that Florida  has a  unique funding  categorical -                                                               
class size.  Virtual schools used to  receive class-size dollars.                                                               
Today,  those  dollars  are  removed   from  the  formula,  which                                                               
decreases their funding. The  legislature recognized that problem                                                               
and provided a "hold harmless"  account. The first year the floor                                                               
was  set at  $4,800 and,  since that  time, it  has increased  to                                                               
$5,230. If  the total does not  come to that amount  per student,                                                               
the state kicks  in the remainder. FLVS's funding  floor will not                                                               
change until  the Virtual  Education Contribution  (hold harmless                                                               
fund) is depleted.                                                                                                              
8:15:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SAGUES showed  a graph of how FLVS is  stretching Florida tax                                                               
dollars. She noted the funding  has remained stable. She detailed                                                               
the  funding  per  year  and  per student  for  public  and  FLVS                                                               
8:16:51 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL asked how many Title I students FLVS serves.                                                                    
MS. SAGUES said  there are about 7,000 students  in the full-time                                                               
virtual school,  and about 200,000 part-time  students throughout                                                               
the  state. The  virtual school  is considered  a Title  I School                                                               
with 40 percent of students in Title I.                                                                                         
8:17:37 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked what the governance of the school is.                                                                     
MS. SAGUES said  FLVS has a seven-member board  that is appointed                                                               
by the governor.                                                                                                                
8:18:13 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  thanked the presenters.  He asked if there  is a                                                               
charge for the courses and how  those dollars are folded into the                                                               
MS. GESLER explained that FLVS  does license out courses to other                                                               
districts  in  several  ways.  If   a  state  or  district  needs                                                               
teachers, as  well as courses,  it is  one price; for  the course                                                               
only, it  can be  done per  enrollment - one  set price  for each                                                               
enrollment of each  student. There is also a  per-seat license so                                                               
one student can take many courses using the district teacher.                                                                   
SENATOR COGHILL noted that is  money coming into the district. He                                                               
asked how the state views that income.                                                                                          
8:20:25 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. SAGUES  said there  is special language  in the  statute that                                                               
states FLVS  seek those  types of revenue  streams and  the money                                                               
must  go  back  toward  new course  development  to  benefit  all                                                               
Florida students and students in other states.                                                                                  
SENATOR COGHILL asked if the  school board reports that income to                                                               
the  state and  whether it  is used  for matches  or for  regular                                                               
MS.  SAGUES replied  that there  are no  matching funds  from the                                                               
state,  but it  allows FLVS  to supplement  their funding.  Their                                                               
school does go through a financial audit every year.                                                                            
8:22:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  asked  if  the  creation  of  FLVS  has  reduced                                                               
staffing or administrative  costs in other public  schools, or if                                                               
virtual school is an alternative for students.                                                                                  
MS. SAGUES  replied that  Florida is beginning  to see  a teacher                                                               
shortage.  There has  not  been  a decrease  in  teachers at  the                                                               
district  level because  Florida  is growing.  Students can  take                                                               
virtual  courses  at their  district  programs  or through  FLVS.                                                               
There are  many reasons students  take the courses.  She provided                                                               
examples. She pointed out that  virtual education saves districts                                                               
money when they do  not have to fund a teacher.  She has not seen                                                               
instances of teacher reductions.                                                                                                
8:24:34 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   BEGICH  stated   that  virtual   education  offers   an                                                               
opportunity for rural districts to  access more courses. He asked                                                               
if that was the fundamental mission.                                                                                            
MS.  SAGUES  said  yes.  Within FLVS  there  are  three  priority                                                               
populations; rural  districts, low  performing schools,  and home                                                               
school students.                                                                                                                
8:25:40 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked  how funding works for  public schools when                                                               
their students take virtual courses.  He asked how the formula is                                                               
modified when a student spends half-time in a virtual school.                                                                   
MS.  SAGUES responded  that before  2013, it  did not  impact the                                                               
local school  district at all.  In 2013 there was  a modification                                                               
to the  funding formula  that provided that  a student  could not                                                               
generate more than  one FTE. She explained how  the funding works                                                               
for  public schools  and  for virtual  schools.  She provided  an                                                               
example of  a student  taking 6 courses  in a  traditional school                                                               
and one course  from a virtual school, the  school district would                                                               
receive 6/7 of a full FTE  and the virtual would receive 1/7 FTE.                                                               
She noted that  it is difficult on a district  level to determine                                                               
the budget because it is complex when using fractions of FTEs.                                                                  
8:28:46 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  referred to the  slide about virtual  school and                                                               
public school results and asked  if there is a similar comparison                                                               
of outcomes for Title I students.                                                                                               
MS. SAGUES offered to provide that information.                                                                                 
8:29:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HUGHES  asked  whether  200,000  students  take  part-time                                                               
MS. SAGUES said yes.                                                                                                            
CHAIR HUGHES  asked how  many of  the 200,000  part-time students                                                               
come from out of state.                                                                                                         
MS.  SAGUES  said  that  number  does  not  include  out-of-state                                                               
students. She deferred to Ms. Gesler to answer.                                                                                 
MS.  GESLER said  she did  not have  the exact  numbers, but  she                                                               
could  provide them.  She added  that  most out-of-state  virtual                                                               
education is managed by the other states.                                                                                       
8:31:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked if middle schools are served.                                                                                
MS.  SAGUES said  they  serve  students in  K-12;  most are  high                                                               
school students.                                                                                                                
8:32:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked for the breakdown.                                                                                           
MS. SAGUES  thought it was  70 percent high school  students. She                                                               
offered to provide that information.                                                                                            
CHAIR HUGHES asked what grades full-time students are in.                                                                       
MS. SAGUES replied they are K-12 students.                                                                                      
CHAIR HUGHES requested  the breakdown of students  by grade level                                                               
and  how  the  academic  results  compare  to  brick  and  mortar                                                               
MS. SAGUES offered to provide that information.                                                                                 
CHAIR HUGHES asked how their building looks and is set up.                                                                      
8:33:36 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. GESLER replied that in Florida  the teachers work out of home                                                               
offices. It varies where the  students work; home, school lab, or                                                               
centers, or a combination. Courses  are available to students 24-                                                               
hours a day.                                                                                                                    
8:34:53 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   HUGHES  asked   if  the   delivery   is  synchronous   or                                                               
MS. GESLER explained that teachers provide live lessons and one-                                                                
on-one  lessons, which  allow for  opportunities  to reteach  and                                                               
build relationships. It also aids in academic integrity.                                                                        
CHAIR HUGHES asked for the student/teacher ratio.                                                                               
MS. SAGUES  said there is  no hard ratio, but  generally teachers                                                               
are limited to  a 150-student load. Some courses  have more, such                                                               
as AP courses.                                                                                                                  
8:37:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES  asked if it is  a special type of  teacher who does                                                               
this kind  of work, especially  for two-way teachings.  She asked                                                               
if the quality of teachers is different.                                                                                        
8:38:34 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  GESLER opined  that it  takes a  different mindset  to be  a                                                               
virtual teacher. Usually, experienced teachers apply.                                                                           
8:39:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked if they provide training to the teachers.                                                                    
MS. GESLER said specific online  training is provided in Florida.                                                               
Outside   of  the   state  there   is  professional   development                                                               
8:41:08 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS  said  in  Alaska   districts  solve  their  own                                                               
problems in  distance education;  some are successful,  some not.                                                               
He asked if  Florida districts are involved  in determining their                                                               
programs or if it is left to FLVS.                                                                                              
MS. SAGUES replied  that it is a partnership.  Districts can have                                                               
their  own program  within FLVS's  system. Almost  every district                                                               
participates in a  franchise. In some cases, it  makes more sense                                                               
to   have  a   local   teacher  to   provide  distance   learning                                                               
opportunities. Students can choose either method.                                                                               
8:43:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked if any teachers live outside of Florida.                                                                     
MS. SAGUES  said 95  percent live in  Florida, however,  some are                                                               
specialized and live somewhere else.                                                                                            
CHAIR  HUGHES thanked  the presenters.  She  introduced the  next                                                               
8:44:45 AM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
8:45:39 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  BAYBA,  Co-President,  New  York  State  Distance  Learning                                                               
Consortium,  presented information  on  New  York State  Distance                                                               
Learning  Consortium  (NYSDLC). He  began  with  the overview  of                                                               
NYSDLC. There  are 37 Board  of Cooperative  Educational Services                                                               
(BOCES)  serving 700+  districts. They  are intermediary  service                                                               
organizations that are assigned to  groups of school districts to                                                               
deliver services  in a cost-effective  manner. Many of  the BOCES                                                               
offer  some  sort  of  distance  education,  two-way  interactive                                                               
video, online, or  a combination of both. Any  district can join,                                                               
and it costs $300 per year.                                                                                                     
He  said NYSDLC  consists  of  29 members.  The  purposes of  the                                                               
consortium  are  joint  planning, sharing  of  expertise,  policy                                                               
influence, support for new members, and sharing courses.                                                                        
8:49:22 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BAYBA  provided an  overview of  NYSDLB's funding.  They have                                                               
been doing  interactive video for  about 20 years.  Their purpose                                                               
is   to  pursue   academic  opportunities   for  students   using                                                               
technology.  Each BOCES  has the  unique status  of being  both a                                                               
school  and  a  service  provider.  The  state  encourages  BOCES                                                               
participation  by  incentivizing  BOCES  service  use  through  a                                                               
complex aid  formula. He  said the formula  is based  on district                                                               
8:52:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BAYBA described NYSDLB's  course delivery. Distance education                                                               
classes  are  offered  to  students  through  their  home  school                                                               
district   via  teacher-created   content  or   vendor  purchased                                                               
curriculum. Students do not get  to select courses; the districts                                                               
do.  This  does  not  prevent districts  from  purchasing  online                                                               
curriculum directly  from a vendor. Consortium  course are taught                                                               
either  by   member  school  district  or   BOCES  NYS  certified                                                               
8:54:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BAYBA  explained that course costs  vary and are set  by each                                                               
individual BOCES. He compared NY to  AK in size and costs. In the                                                               
current  range, cost  varies  from free  to  $10,200 per  course.                                                               
Video courses are  usually charged by the  course; online courses                                                               
by the student. Online courses  must have a NYS certified teacher                                                               
assigned, either from the district or from BOCES.                                                                               
8:57:14 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BAYBA  emphasized  that  courses   are  selected  by  school                                                               
district personnel, not by  students individually. The consortium                                                               
practice is that distance education  will not be used to supplant                                                               
existing  staff positions.  The following  barriers, if  changed,                                                               
could  dramatically increase  utilization -  the common  calendar                                                               
and common bell schedule.                                                                                                       
9:00:16 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BAYBA  shared NYSDLC's  academic results.  He said  no formal                                                               
study  has been  done to  compare student  performance at  remote                                                               
locations, but he has not heard  of lower scores. AP results have                                                               
exceeded the  national and  state averages.  He said  the teacher                                                               
return  rate is  well  over  95 percent  in  BOCES. The  teachers                                                               
choose  to  teach in  this  environment.  The course  catalog  is                                                               
expanding  annually. There  are college  tuition savings  through                                                               
college  professor adjunct-status  high school  faculty to  award                                                               
dual  credit.  Community colleges  are  tuition  free within  his                                                               
region  and many  others.  In  the last  15  to  20 years,  BOCES                                                               
programs  have  probably saved  students  $1  million in  college                                                               
credits. Many BOCES have a reduced tuition rate.                                                                                
9:04:30 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BAYBA turned to the future  of NYSDLC. He stated that virtual                                                               
classes are  not going  to disappear any  time soon.  Video based                                                               
synchronous  classes  have  become  a real  boom.  Online  based,                                                               
teacher created,  and vendor supplied  classes are  very popular.                                                               
Blended  classes, consisting  of teacher-determined  blend levels                                                               
are the wave of the future.                                                                                                     
He related that  NYSDLC does an evaluation of  best practices for                                                               
all models and evaluates new  technologies to aid the delivery of                                                               
instruction,  such   as  the  technology  being   used  for  this                                                               
9:08:12 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.   BAYBA   offered   a   link   to   their   shared   catalog:                                                               
dlcourses.e@ccb.org. User  name - alaska;  password -  alaska. He                                                               
showed it  available on  NYSDLC's web page  and explained  how to                                                               
search  the site.  There are  815 entries,  some active  and some                                                               
inactive. This year there are 334 active courses.                                                                               
He showed specific examples of courses.                                                                                         
9:11:49 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked if they could see a teacher teaching.                                                                        
MR. BAYBA  said there is a  separate video library for  those. He                                                               
offered to forward the links.                                                                                                   
CHAIR HUGHES was thinking from a marketing perspective.                                                                         
9:13:02 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  shared  his  experience  working  with  juvenile                                                               
justice. He asked  how large a BOCE is and  whether it could work                                                               
outside of the government model, such as in a non-profit.                                                                       
MR.  BAYBA  explained that  the  BOCES  are educational  entities                                                               
created by statute,  and NYSDLC is treated as  a school district,                                                               
as  well as  a provider.  Private schools  do not  belong to  any                                                               
BOCES; however,  they can buy  individual courses. He  thought it                                                               
could be done as a private enterprise.                                                                                          
He spoke  of the  problem of losing  sight of  the cost-effective                                                               
nature of  the BOCES. The  overhead gets large because  the BOCES                                                               
are large.  He said  in his BOCES,  student enrollment  is 30,000                                                               
with  27  districts  and  is large  geographically.  He  gave  an                                                               
example of a BOCES with  dense population, noting that each BOCES                                                               
is unique.                                                                                                                      
9:16:54 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL asked about demographics  and outcomes of Title I                                                               
9:17:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BAYBA responded that they do  not have that data because when                                                               
two  districts decide  to  share  a class,  the  students do  not                                                               
become BOCES  students. Face-to-face  students are  reported from                                                               
their schools and BOCE has no role in reporting.                                                                                
9:18:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL thanked  the presenter. He said  Alaska is trying                                                               
to figure  out how to  use distance  education. He asked  how the                                                               
BOCES do an annual student count.                                                                                               
9:19:18 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BAYBA explained  that it is complicated. Within  the BOCES he                                                               
is  affiliated with,  he  keeps  track of  who  the teaching  and                                                               
receiving  sites  are  and pursues  school  districts  for  their                                                               
enrollment  numbers.   However,  each  BOCES   counts  enrollment                                                               
9:20:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES asked about the cost  per course and how it compares                                                               
to a brick-and-mortar course.                                                                                                   
9:20:48 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BAYBA said  he knows only how much his  teachers cost - about                                                               
$75,000 to $80,000. He provided a hypothetical example.                                                                         
CHAIR HUGHES  commented on the  95 percent of  teacher retention.                                                               
She  asked  for  the brick-and-mortar  school  teacher  retention                                                               
MR. BAYBA thought it was comparable, but varied by location.                                                                    
9:23:52 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES thanked Mr. Bayba.                                                                                                 
She noted that Commissioner Johnson was present in the room.                                                                    
9:24:16 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGHES announced next week's schedule.                                                                                    
9:24:35 AM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Hughes adjourned the Senate Education Standing Committee                                                                  
at 9:24 a.m.                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
NYSDLC Presentation.pptx SEDC 2/17/2017 8:00:00 AM
FLVS History-Financial SS for AK.pdf SEDC 2/17/2017 8:00:00 AM