North Carolina Virtual Public School and Quality Matters

 

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The North Carolina Virtual Public School’s (NCVPS) journey toward Quality Matters (QM) implementation began in 2013 during a major restructuring and transformation process. NCVPS identified a need to implement quality assurance strategies and processes that would extend across all sectors of the organization. It was clear that implementing this change would take time and require a major shift in the way NCVPS collected and used data, built and revised courses, assessed organizational needs and made decisions that impacted learners' success in their online courses. During comprehensive research to find the best quality assurance standards and processes for online programs, Quality Matters caught its attention! They learned QM had been successfully implemented in higher educational institutions across the state of North Carolina. Given the insight provided by the college and university communities, QM became an obvious solution for NCVPS.

During the initial execution phase, NCVPS staff members attended a Quality Matters Conference in an attempt to gain a more thorough understanding of QM. Conference attendance further confirmed their desire to move forward with a subscription and implementation. It was through a partnership with the State Virtual School Leadership Alliance that multiple state virtual schools, including NCVPS, would gain access to QM tools, rubrics and learning opportunities and make them available to their staffs.

What about NCVPS?

NCVPS is the nation’s second largest state-led virtual school with over 55,000 enrollments each year serving learners in grades 6-12. NCVPS takes great pride in delivering over 130 high-quality online courses taught by Highly Qualified North Carolina teachers. NCVPS opened its doors seven years ago to in-state residents attending North Carolina public schools and has had the privilege to teach learners from the Outer Banks to the Appalachian Mountains. During the last few years, NCVPS began serving non-public school and learners living outside North Carolina. NCVPS has emerged with both a sense of pride and a sense of urgency in an attempt to meet the needs of learners and their desire for flexible learning environments in a fast-paced society influenced heavily by technology. 

Challenges

Obstacles for NCVPS throughout this process include building the capacity of staff members certified to conduct internal course reviews and the availability of financial resources for use in funding independent QM reviews. With a small staff of 24 managing over 700 teachers and 55,000 annual enrollments, NCVPS realizes it must be creative in using outside resources for conducting course reviews. This will require additional training to prepare staff to use the QM K-12 Rubric and partnering with other state virtual schools in the consortium. We're confident this will lead to long term success. As with most state-funded institutions, budgetary restrictions are understandable; however, leadership will continue to work toward securing funding necessary to conduct external and independent reviews of NCVPS courses.

Present & Future

NCVPS is currently plotting the way to using the QM rubric throughout course development and revision processes. Creating buy-in is critical to the execution of QM processes; therefore, multiple staff members on the NCVPS Curriculum Team along with members of the Outreach and Support Team have been trained to use the QM K-12 Rubric. A long range implementation plan is being drafted that outlines how NCVPS will align all 130+ of their courses to QM standards. The plan will incorporate internal and external review processes that will be completed in partnership with other state virtual schools included in the consortium. While they realize this will take time, NCVPS leadership is confident of the eventual success that will be gained throughout this progression. NCVPS anticipates this taking a significant amount of time and plans to work diligently to ensure courses are of outstanding quality and meet these high standards.

Ultimately, NCVPS sees the value and efficacy of the Quality Matters Program and is working diligently to ensure comprehensive application of QM related processes and standards. NCVPS has found significance in QM and strives to deliver a success story that will inspire others. 

The Quality Matters Champions 

Mia Murphy, Ed.D. is Director of Outreach and Support for NCVPS. Mia supervises the staff of professionals who develop programs including quality assurance methods, customer service and communication plans to disseminate information to stakeholder groups. Mia also develops and implements outreach strategies and initiatives consistent with NCVPS's mission, goals, and quality standards. Mia has completed the Quality Matters K-12 Applying the QM Secondary Rubric workshop and serves as one the Quality Matters Coordinators (QMCs) for NCVPS. She has over 17 years working in K-20 institutions in North Carolina, serving as a classroom teacher, central office administrator and community college and four-year institution administrator. Mia has many years of experience in instructional technology, online learning, and program development.

Melissa Davis is Quality Assurance and Research Coordinator for the NCVPS. Melissa oversees quality assurance and research efforts for NCVPS and implements institutional effectiveness strategies. Melissa establishes and supervises research partnerships with higher educational and research institutions and provides multi-level support to staff members across the organization. Melissa has over 23 years working in the K-12 sector as a classroom teacher and school administrator, working throughout her career in support of state-wide online learning initiatives, most recently through NCVPS. She is a certified Quality Matters K-12 Course Reviewer, Quality Matters K-12 Publisher Reviewer, functions as one of the Quality Matters Coordinators for NCVPS, has served on multiple course review teams and has served as a member of the QM K-12 Rubric Review Committee.

Mia Murphy, EdD. is the Director of Outreach and Support for North Carolina Virtual School.  Melissa Davis is the Quality Assurance and Research Coordinator for the North Carolina Virtual School.