Vendor Course Approval Process

Why a vendor course approval process?

Not all virtual courses are created the same.  With virtual providers proliferating and rigorous national and State-Board approved standards, the array of options can be overwhelming and, for some schools, difficult to navigate.  Like the textbook adoption process, the approval process is intended to ensure access to a variety of high-quality, standards-based courses from vendors and providers all over the country, while lowering costs by eliminating the need for each school or LEA to separately evaluate virtual course products.

NC General Assembly S.L. 2011-145 states is section 7.22 (h)(2), the following:

The Director of NCVPS shall continue to ensure the following:

(1) Course quality standards are established and met.
(2) All e-learning opportunities other than virtual charter schools offered by State-funded entities to public school students are consolidated under the NCVPS program, eliminating course duplication.
(3) All courses offered through NCVPS are aligned to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

SBE Policy # GCS-M-001 (“Course for Credit”) Section 4.1 states, “Any K-12 e-learning course taken for credit towards a diploma must first be approved for credit by the NC Virtual Public School (NCVPS).” This does not include college courses taught by college professors offered to high school students. Speaking of the rigor, depth, and breadth of such courses, section 4.3 of the above policy, reads: “NCVPS shall consider whether the course meets the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and/or International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) criteria for awarding credit or is offered for credit toward a degree by a UNC system institution, an institution in the North Carolina Community College System, or a regionally accredited college.”

The goal of the vendor course approval process is not to limit choices, but to consolidate as many high-quality courses as possible into a menu of options for schools and LEAs. NCVPS invites LEAs and schools to identify virtual learning courses necessary to meet the needs of their students.  Through partnership with LEAs and schools, NCVPS can better serve the needs of all students and the state may achieve some benefit through cost consolidation and state-level agreements.

The Review Process

This process only applies to teacher-led online courses which are taken for full credit either because the student is taking the course for the first time or has failed the course previously and needs to retake the entire course.  By teacher-led, we mean that the Vendor provides the teacher to deliver the instruction for the course. In addition, courses taken for credit recovery where the student may only retake portions of the course are not subject to this approval process.

Courses that do not have any corresponding NC State Standards are not eligible for review.

  1. Vendors need to complete this Request Form for each course  to be approved
  2. Once the application has been received, Don Lourcey, an NCVPS staff member, will contact the vendor to provide information on where all evaluation artifacts should be submitted.
  3. Vendors will submit an artifact for each item on the following checklists to the location supplied based on letter “b” above.
  4. Upon receipt of all artifacts, the items will be reviewed and results reported to the vendor within 120 days.

If you have any questions, please contact Don Lourcey by e-mail at don.lourcey@ncpublicschools.gov.