Frequently Asked Questions about Wyoming Virtual Education

What is virtual education?

Virtual education in our state is K-12 courses taught and delivered primarily through technology (W.S. 21-13-330(f)(i)). Instruction is provided by a Wyoming certified teacher through some means of technology (e.g., interactive features within an online course, telephone, email, web conferencing, etc.) while the teacher and student are in separate locations. In virtual education, neither the teacher nor the student need to be on a school campus when providing or receiving instruction. Because of the physical distance between the teacher and student locations, the teacher is typically unable to provide in-person instruction if needed. Virtual education courses can be purchased by a vendor or developed by a district.

What is remote education?

Remote education is a new type of distance delivery course passed into law during the 2019 legislative session. In remote education, real-time instruction is delivered through interactive technology to a student who is located in another school by a teacher who is simultaneously instructing students in their physical classroom. The remote student is physically located in their school of primary enrollment while taking the class and is able to interact in real time (e.g., ask questions, participate in discussions, make comments, etc.) with the teacher and other students. To find out more, take a look at our Remote Education Information Flyer.

What are technology-based classes?

Technology-based instruction is based on student responses to educational software or other computer program-based materials when the student is physically located in their school of primary enrollment. Even though the teacher assigned to the class may not always be in the same classroom as the student, the teacher is not separated from the student by location and is available to provide in-person instruction when needed. Additionally, the vendor that the curriculum is purchased from does not provide any instructional support in the course.

How is average daily membership calculated for virtual education courses?

Average daily membership is now measured by students meeting course participation requirements that result in an attendance equivalence. Participation measures include activities recorded in the learning management system, such as submission of required coursework, and items verified by the virtual education teacher, such as a log of communication between the teacher and student or the teacher and the learning coach. 

What is a virtual education teacher?

A virtual education teacher is the person who provides course instruction, facilitates student learning, monitors student progress, provides and grades assignments, and provides qualitative feedback to students through technology outside of the physical classroom. The virtual education teacher is not able to provide in-person instruction a preponderance of the time due to the student and teacher being in separate locations.

Why do virtual education teachers need to be certified in Wyoming?

The requirement for teachers to be certified can be found in Wyoming statutes W.S. 21-7-303(a) and W.S. 21-2-202(a)(xxxi)(A). Any public funds being used to pay for instruction of a course, including purchased online courses taught by a K-12 teacher, require Wyoming certification. Assigning a Wyoming certified teacher to a student to provide instructional support doesn’t alleviate the requirement for the online teacher to be state certified.

Does the virtual education teacher need to be employed by a Wyoming school district?

No. It is no longer a statutory requirement that virtual education teachers be employed by the school district providing the course.

What is a virtual education program?

Virtual education programs in Wyoming may only be delivered through a school district approved by the WDE to provide virtual delivery courses. School districts may opt to deliver virtual education courses part-time or full-time and they may elect to provide courses only to students in their district, a selection of districts, or statewide.

What are district responsibilities related to virtual education?

Any district providing virtual education courses, whether purchased through a vendor or developed within the district, must submit an application to the WDE for program approval. Districts providing virtual education must adhere to all statutory and Chapter 41 Virtual Education Rules requirements including ensuring the courses are aligned to Wyoming Content and Performance Standards and taught by Wyoming certified teachers. Districts must also track participation in virtual education for the purposes of recording and reporting an attendance equivalent measure for average daily membership.  

Are online dual enrollment courses part of the K-12 virtual education program?

No. Distance delivery dual enrollment college courses taught by faculty employed by an appropriately accredited postsecondary institution are not part of the K-12 virtual education program. Faculty teaching dual enrollment courses are not required to have a Wyoming PTSB teaching license (W.S. 21-7-303(b)(i)).

What is the role of the Virtual Education Advisory Committee?

The advisory committee recommends modifications to rules, policies, practices and procedures and serves in an advisory capacity to  school districts to improve the delivery of virtual education courses across the state (W.S. 21-2-202(a)(xxxi)(F)).

Which district receives ADM for students taking virtual education K-12 concurrent enrollment courses?

ADM goes to the school district that has primary enrollment for the student. The district with primary enrollment can enter agreements with virtual education program districts to provide a portion (part-time) or all (full-time) of the classes a student receives and is still eligible to receive full ADM for the student.