Here at CLRN, we’re beginning to review the California eLearning Census data in preparation for a white paper to be released late summer. To augment current census numbers, we’re beginning to inport virtual school attendance data from California’s annual school census taken each October and released in late spring. The California Basic Educational Data System results for all schools can be accessed through DataQuest, which is where we found virtual student populations for the 14 virtual schools that didn’t participate in the eLearning Census. Being a snapshot taken in early October, it doesn’t reflect growth during the school year. For example, the October count for California Virtual Academy @ Los Angeles was 4897 while the spring eLearning Census report was 5100. Still, CBEDS & DataQuest allow us to track student attendance over time, which is the focus for this brief post and a taste for what you can expect in the white paper.
Let’s start with how attendance has increased at the 10 California Virtual Academies, all independent direct-funded charter schools managed by K12, Inc. Attendance in 2009/10 was 10,379, which grew to 11,256 in 2010/11, an 8% increase. This year, the Academies report 13,125 students, representing a year-to-year growth of 17%. The chart below tracks their growth.
Compare the above chart with those below representing growth at the Rocketship schools, direct-funded charters emphasizing the Rocketship rotation method of blended learning. Of the five Rocketship schools, only two have been open three years. Their year-to-year growth was 10% in 2010/11 and 12% this year.
Three Rocketship schools have been operating at least two years, and the chart below represents their 17% year-to-year growth, which is identical to California Virtual Academy growth. Being a two-year chart, though, skews the growth line.