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School Readiness for Online Learning

Are Schools Ready for Virtual Education?

In this time of uncertainness that has enveloped our educational system, how do schools and districts transition from traditional classroom-based instruction to an online, virtual classroom environment?  Verlan Stephens, Managing Partner Agile Education Marketing, researched thousands of districts and how they are coping with these new challenges and we’ve found several factors that we feel are most indicative of a school’s readiness to provide online learning, full-time, for all of its students.

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determine online learning readiness for schools

The key factors that determine school readiness for online learning: 

  • District leadership and communication
  • Deployment of technology, particularly 1:1 computing
  • Implementation of LMS tools allowing for the creation of materials that can be deployed online for student instruction  
  • Experience with deploying online learning methodologies such as blended learning, flipped learning, virtual and online learning 
  • A Title I percentage below 60%, where the districts can supply enough of the necessary technical support for students 

Using the extensive EdIntel district listening service from Agile, we’ve been able to compile a Virtual Readiness Index reflecting how prepared a district is to provide virtual, online learning to its students. Of the over 13,000 regular public school districts, we believe that just over 4,000 of them rank either High or Medium-High which puts them in an excellent position to be able to offer students critical learning opportunities. It is of significant concern that almost 5,000 districts (36%) lack many or all the key indicators that we think are necessary to quickly provide virtual student instruction during this current school year. Below is a table summarizing our Virtual Readiness Score findings. 

How ready are schools today to provide online learning, full time?

Virtual Readiness  Districts  Percent of Districts  Total Students  Percent of Students 
High  1,670  12.5%  17,732,006  35.0% 
Medium-High  2,427  18.1%  15,206,391  30.0% 
Medium  2,623  19.6%  7,295,108  14.4% 
Medium-Low  1,771  13.2%  3,980,395  7.9% 
Low  4,910  36.6%  6,400,090  12.6% 

By our calculation, 65% of students are part of districts that have a High or Medium-High degree of school readiness for online learning and should have the ability to provide virtual student instruction given some time and the money to implement the necessary changes. Unfortunately, that leaves 35% of students that are part of districts that will struggle to provide the needed virtual learning and over 17 million students that will be impacted. Congress is working to support efforts to move to virtual education, and schools have more flexibility to use this year’s funding – now you can focus your efforts and effectively communicate with schools most ready or most in need of what you offer.

We applaud the efforts of many of our customers in providing resources and materials for districts, administrators, and teachers as they work tirelessly to meet the educational needs of this country’s students. To receive a complete list of districts and their Virtual Readiness Score, contact your account rep

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