School choice, long touted as a key component of educational reform and opposed by teachers unions now have their own alternative.
Cyber schools provide on-line instruction and by law, when students enroll in these Cyber-Charter Schools, their home school district must pay the Cyber-Charter School the a per-student cost. This provides choice for the student and their family, but the home school loses that money.
VLN Partners has created a competing model to Cyber Charter schools, creating a partnership with public schools at a lower cost than what Cyber-Charter Schools cost them.
Dr. Stone, began his journey in 1991, receiving a Masters Degree in Instructional Technology from Bloomsburg University, the first institution to offer this degree in the U.S. He worked in Texas for Multi-Media Learning, Inc. for many years before returning to Pennsylvania to complete a Ph.D program at Dusquene University in 2005.
VLN Partners was formed as a 'bootstrap' company in 2004 and continues to proivde its own funding,now has 40 employees, 20 full-time. In fact, they originally applied for and were granted the 12th Cyber Charter School in the State and received grant money to establish it. "We ended up returned that money and starting VLN to provide solutions that no one else was," Stone shared. "All teachers who provide instruction through the school have the same certifications that any other teacher must have."
"The benefits to school districts is they save money by keeping students who would have transferred to Cyber-Charter Schools. We provide a methodology to align the classroom curriculum with the online component. We customize the programs, creating a "standards aligned system' through a "curriculum mapping process," Dr. Stone explained. "We provide an ROI guarantee to the every district we are working with."
"This blended learning is superior to Cyber-Charter schools because it allows online students to participate in labs and other educational activities that are best done on-site," he continued. " Our curriculum mapping process allows us to match our instruction with what is being done in the classroom."
VLN currently has partnerhips with 23 districts in Pennsylvania including Susquehanna in Dauphin County and Parkland in Lehigh Count with some in roads into Ohio.