September/October 2001 // Letters to the Editor
The Virtual High School Symposium
by Kathryn Winograd and Maureen Atkins
Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source ( as: Kathryn Winograd and Maureen Atkins "The Virtual High School Symposium" The Technology Source, September/October 2001. Available online at The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher.

In October 2000, the first Virtual High School Symposium was held in Louisville, KY in response to the desire of K-12 leadership to share the best practices in creating virtual high school programs. The symposium offered insight on building infrastructure for virtual high schools, designing and delivering effective online courses, and marketing and evaluating these programs. An informal straw poll indicated that representatives from the 38 states attending the conference wanted to have a virtual school online within the next 9-12 months. Every state now has begun efforts in statewide virtual education, whether by launching statewide consortiums, acting as moderators of online courses, or exploring the available opportunities. Virtual learning will equalize education by allowing all students access to certain types of learning (advanced placement courses, remedial courses, specific disciplines) and curricular activities (field trips to exotic locales and national landmarks). As the CEO Forum (1999, p. 28) notes, "Educational technology will empower all members of a school community to communicate and collaborate with broader circles of peers and experts from around the globe." States have become aware of the necessity to make education readily available to students of all backgrounds.

Now, nearly one year after the first Virtual High School Symposium, many states have succeeded in their quest to implement some form of virtual education. To celebrate their progress and continue providing valuable support, the Center for Internet Technology in Education (CiTE), in conjunction with the Illinois Virtual High School, will host the second annual Virtual High School Symposium in Chicago on October 16 and 17, 2001. This year's forum will feature the same "grassroots" learning and sharing environment, while also showcasing innovative ways of taking education directly to students through the Internet. We have a series of speakers from various statewide and district-wide virtual high schools; Dr. Eugene Hickok, Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education, and Dr. Roger C. Schank, Director of the Institute for Learning Sciences at Northwestern University, will keynote the event. We have encouraged speakers to submit their presentations to The Technology Source for publication consideration.


CEO Forum on Education and Technology. (1999, February). Professional development: A link to better learning. Retrieved August 30, 2001, from

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