Virtual School District
The Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) brought the “virtual school district” to juvenile correctional facilities in 2013 and developed student-customized curricula to supplement their classroom instruction. Oregon’s Virtual School District allows youth in the justice system the same educational opportunities as their peers in non-secure classrooms and allows them to make successful transitions back to the community. The Virtual School District was made possible after the Oregon Youth Authority developed a formal policy to allow youth access to the internet with a focus on online educational resources and transition preparation. Youth have access to college courses and Open Content as well as the freedom to explore interests and potential areas of study. Within the Oregon Youth Authority, there is a staff person who serves as a liaison to the Oregon Department of Education, this person is responsible for developing vocational and post-secondary educational offerings.
In addition, students in short-term stays may access to a playlist of individual lessons without having to enroll in a full course. Implementation of the ORVSD ensures that students have access to a wider range of courses taught by High Qualified Teachers, college courses and College Level Examination Program, courses at different facilities and beyond the school day, and increased opportunities for GED testing. The ORVSD program is supported by OYA policy that permits youth to have email access if the account is used for educational, vocational, or transitional purposes.