Reimagining Education

Virtual Education in Missouri

What comes to mind when someone says the word “school?”

In today’s world filled with technology and interconnected everything, there is a new way to learn — one that is not tied to brick-and-mortar schools or one-size-fits all education philosophies.

Virtual education offers families the chance to get their education from the comfort of their home or even through their phone anywhere in the world.

Thanks to a 2018 law Missouri families have growing access to virtual education through both the MOCAP program and the Missouri Online Summer Institute.

MOCAP provides students access to single virtual courses or full-time virtual programs through their home school district or charter school at no cost to the family.

The Missouri Online Summer Institute is completely free, but only available during the summer and only if students are not taking other summer courses in their home district.

Learn more about virtual education in Missouri:

How virtual education benefits students

Virtual education will not work for every student because it requires a certain degree of dedication and self-discipline, but for those students who do find learning virtually to be a good fit for their learning styles, the new concept of a virtual school offers a wide variety of benefits:

  • Virtual schools allow students to learn at their own pace, advancing through subject matter as quickly or a slowly as their competency over the subject matter allows.
  • Virtual education can provide students in rural or urban areas access to more unique and higher level courses than those offered through their home districts.
  • Digital learning provides parents and teachers immediate, real-time data on how well a student is understanding the subject matter, allowing for quick interventions when a student is struggling.
  • Learning through a digital platform prepares students for online classes in college and the increasingly Internet-based business world.
How virtual education benefits schools

Major cost savings for small districts

Virtual education provides schools an a la carte collection of sought-after courses at a much lower cost than hiring qualified teachers to teach those courses in each district. And even if a student chooses to take a full-time virtual program, because the law caps tuition at the state adequacy target then district schools will never lose money to students taking virtual programs.

Home-grown course offerings

Districts can create their own virtual courses (either by themselves or in conjunction with a company like K12) and offer them to the entire state through the MoCAP system and generate additional revenue for their district.

Real-time monitoring of student achievement

A virtual classroom environment means that instructors have real-time access to student assessments and can monitor everything from the amount of time student is logged in to a course to which questions they are missing on a test as they take it. This immediate data gives instructors the power to personalize learning for greater success.

Helps students get to and through college

Because students can take virtual courses at their own pace, many are able to graduate early or choose to take additional AP or college level courses to improve their chances at scholarships and reduce tuition at college. Students also get valuable experience taking online courses which are a growing part of college success.

What courses are offered?

Courses offered include: Algebra 1&2, American government, American History, Art, Biology, Calculus, Chemistry, Creative Writing, Economics, English 1-4, Geography, Physics, Psychology, Statistics, World History and AP Calculus, AP Government, AP Computer Science, AP English, AP US History, AP European History, AP Psychology, and AP Statistics. For a complete list visit  MOCAP.

How to enroll in virtual courses

In order to have your district or charter school pay for your virtual courses, you need to have been enrolled in that school for one semester prior to enrolling in a virtual course. Districts are not required to pay for courses that are in addition to a full schedule of classes.

Private school and home-school students can enroll in virtual courses through MOCAP,  but they must pay for the courses themselves.

Schools can only deny enrollment in a virtual course if they can show “good cause” for why the enrollment would be detrimental to the student’s academic career.

Denials can be appealed first to the building administrator, then to the local school board, and finally to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.