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eLearning Update: Nebraska Opens State Virtual School

Education officials in Nebraska have launched a pilot program for their first statewide virtual school.

Today is the first day that school districts can apply to have students participate in the virtual school, called Nebraska Virtual Scholars. Fifty high school students will be accepted to participate in the pilot.

Up until now, students in Nebraska have had access to online learning through district-run programs, as well as virtual courses provided by the University of Nebraska, but this is the first statewide venture into online learning. The University of Nebraska is a partner in the creation of the virtual school, along with the state Department of Education, the Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council, and Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, a network of broadcasters.

The pilot program will be run by the University of Nebraska, building off its Independent Study High School. Enrollment for the students in the pilot program will be free.

"This is a significant step forward for the future of education in Nebraska," Gov. Dave Heineman said in a press release. "The Virtual School will provide Nebraska students a rigorous online high school curriculum with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, commonly referred to as STEM courses, and Advanced Placement courses in both rural and urban areas. Additionally, the Virtual School establishes a single, centralized website informing students, parents, teachers and schools of virtual learning opportunities in Nebraska."

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