Online learning in North Kansas City Schools is known as eCampus and allows individual schools to expand their curricular offerings in advanced and specialty courses as well as technical, remedial and credit-recovery courses.
Classes are designed to meet a variety of learning styles and needs. Providing students with an online option for course selection also supports progress toward the 1-to-1 laptop initiative included in the District Technology Plan.
In October, 2003, the superintendent of the North Kansas City School District charged IT leaders to investigate options using technology to enhance educational opportunities. A committee reviewed the options and created program goals for 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years. It was decided that the best way to provide extended learning opportunities was to implement online curriculum and Blackboard was selected as the platform for the District.
The first three courses offered were Biology, Geometry, and U.S. History with a course enrollment of 23 students for the fall semester. Three teachers were selected and trained during July, 2004. Initially, three course cartridges were purchased and the courses were aligned to the district curriculum and pacing guide. An online coordinator was hired and paid with an extra duty assignment contract. Spanish was added in the spring. Blackboard also started being used as a way to develop internal staff Web pages for schools and a way to hold virtual committee meetings.
During 2006-07, an additional component of Blackboard called the Content System was added providing a virtual hard drive for course storage, acting as a platform for collaboration and provides a student portfolio package. A full-time eCampus Coordinator was hired at the beginning of the 2007-08 school year. Course offerings have expanded from 4 to 26, and 42 with the inclusion of off-semester courses. Enrollment has increased to approximately 600 course enrollments in the spring semester of 2008-09 school year.