Section 10-20.56 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/10-20.56] authorizes a pilot program for the payment of general state aid (GSA) for school districts that choose to provide instruction to students outside of the attendance center in lieu of using one or more emergency days required under Section 10-19 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/10-1]. The E-Learning Days Pilot Program will authorize three school districts to use e-learning days, starting in the second semester of the 2015-16 school year though the 2017-18 school year.
The use of e-learning days is designed to avoid interruptions in instruction that occur when school cannot be held districtwide due to adverse weather conditions. E-Learning days may also be used by a school district when one or more schools must be closed due to an "act or acts of God, or occasioned by conditions beyond the control of the school district which posed a hazardous threat to the health and safety of pupils". School districts participating in the program are not required to use e-learning days nor do they have to exhaust all of their emergency days before using an e-learning day. Any day approved as an e-learning day may be counted as a day of attendance for purposes of calculating GSA and would not need to be "made up" at the end of the school term.
School districts wishing to participated in the E-Learning Days Pilot Program must ensure that each of its students can access the e-learning program away from the school facility through the Internet, electronic text messaging or emails, telephones, webinars or other similar electronic communication devices that allow for interaction between students and teachers and the provision of instruction. Instruction may take the form of prerecorded lectures, video recordings, worksheets or reading materials. Instruction must be provided for a minimum of five hours a day and each student's participation must be actively monitored in order to authenticate his or her identity and verify that the student is actively participating in the instruction and completing the work.
None is available.
Each application submitted must provide a detailed description of how the school district's program will do each of the following:
Eligible applicants are Illinois school districts.
Before a school district can apply for the E-Learning program, its school board must hold a public hearing about the proposal. Parents and school personnel must be notified about the public hearing at least 10 days before it is held. Notification must be in a newspaper of general circulation, and also must include direct written or electronic notification to parents, any exclusive collective bargaining representative, and all employees not represented by a collective bargaining representative.
Applications must be received by October 15, 2015. A similar deadline is anticipated annually.
3 school districts are expected to gain authorization to use e-learning days.