Online Student Programs

School districts may incorporate online coursework into the district’s curriculum to enhance, supplement or enrich the existing curriculum and provide an alternative means of instruction. These supplemental online courses can be an effective tool to expand the educational opportunities for students at all levels of achievement. A state grant program is available to school districts with fewer than 3,000 students interested in using supplemental online courses.

State law allows school districts and charter schools to operate online education programs in which a student can enroll and take all his or her coursework over the Internet. A 2007 state law created a statutory framework for quality oversight of online education programs. [C.R.S. § 22-30.7 101 et seq.] The Division of Online Learning at the CDE provides support for online education programs and rules adopted by the state board establish quality standards for the operation of such programs.

In 2011, the legislature shifted some of the division’s oversight responsibilities to local districts. School districts that authorize online programs are now required to review their online program’s alignment with the state board’s quality standards as part of its accreditation process. CDE ’s Online Division continues to collect information regarding online schools’ financial and accounting practices. Each student in an online school is evaluated, tested and monitored at the same intervals as other students of the same grade level in the student’s regular school and takes all state assessments.

Colorado resident students are eligible to participate in online programs offered by other districts. A student participating in the online program may participate on an equal basis in any extracurricular or interscholastic activity offered by the district. [C.R.S. § 22-30.7-108.]

Colorado school districts, charter schools and BOCES may apply for funding for students who qualify for per-pupil funding for online enrollment. Per pupil funding for online students is set by the School Finance Act.