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January 8, 2001

Ryan Launches Illinois Virtual High School
Provides expanded educational opportunities to students throughout Illinois via the internet

BRADLEY -- Governor George H. Ryan today launched the first day of classes for Illinois' newest high school, the Illinois Virtual High School, providing expanded opportunities for high school students in public and nonpublic schools, both inside and outside the classroom walls with the technology of the Internet to deliver classes to students throughout the state.

All IVHS courses put emphasis on curriculum needed to ensure that students can meet the Illinois Learning Standards, including courses in foreign languages, high-level mathematics and sciences, Advanced Placement review courses and other courses that might not otherwise be available to all students.

The opening for the Virtual High School fulfills one of the promises of Governor Ryan's Venture Tech initiative announced in his 2000 State of the State/Budget Address.

In opening classes for the Illinois Virtual High School, Governor Ryan said:

"The Illinois Virtual High School provides a unique opportunity to assure that we leave no student behind in this digital revolution. With the help of the State Board of Education, the Board of Higher Education, Illinois Math & Science Academy, Illinois Community College Board, Lakeland College and Western Illinois University, the Illinois Virtual High School is ready for its debut.

"This will afford schools who have been unable to offer a wide array of courses such as foreign languages or advanced courses outside the main curriculum that opportunity. There are places where teachers cannot be recruited to teach certain subjects and other schools where only a small number of students interested in a specific topic do not economically justify a course. In these situations, the Virtual High School will be a valuable mechanism for offering quality instruction to those who are interested, regardless of the geographic location or the wealth of the district.

"We must continue to invest in teacher training to keep those entrusted with the education of our children on the cutting edge of how to harness the power of technology. And, we must continue to invest in opportunities that deliver that power through initiatives such as the Illinois Virtual High School, Illinois Virtual Campus and Illinois Century Network. I look forward to watching the development of offerings and student enrollments in these programs soar over the coming months.

"Technology brings us the capability of delivering educational opportunities to anyone, anytime, anywhere. It does not replace teachers but supplements their classroom efforts.

In August 1999, Ryan launched the Illinois Virtual Campus -- a place where citizens can go to find the list of distance-education courses offered in Illinois. Through the Virtual Campus, citizens are provided not only a catalog of courses and programs but also the human touch through computer access, local advising, and services through our community colleges. The Virtual Campus now lists 2,333 distance-education courses and 48 programs of study in higher education. Last spring over 26,200 students enrolled in Illinois distance-education courses.

The Ryan Administration has also invested in the creation of the Illinois Century Network to provide high-speed Internet access to schools, colleges, universities, libraries, museums, as well as local and state government offices. Currently, over 4,000 entities are connected to the Century Network, with an additional 50 applying to join every month. These connections now deliver the content of the Virtual High School as well as the incredible resources of the Internet from all over the world.

Registration for courses through the Virtual High School is currently underway. Students can now access 16 courses and 10 Advanced Placement review courses through the IVHS. Each semester-long course costs $300 per student and Advanced Placement review courses cost $49 per student. Courses are available to high school students in public and private schools and home-schooled students. Students must enroll through public school districts.

More information may be obtained by logging on to the Illinois Virtual High School website, www.ivhs.org.

Governor Ryan's speech is available in audio/video format. The audio/video feed is streamed using the RealVideo® format.

To view the speech, you'll need the RealNetworks® RealPlayer®. To use RealPlayer® you must have at least a 28.8 modem connection. You can download it for free. See system requirements for more information.

View the speech.


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