EPIC'S BLENDED LEARNING CENTERS
EPIC has two charters. It is authorized in all 77 counties by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board for its One-on-One charter and it is sponsored by Rose State College for its Blended Learning Charter, which is limited to students residing only in Tulsa and Oklahoma County.
We value our Rose State sponsorship because it allowed us to create four on-site learning centers in those two counties for the many working parents who told us they needed full-time, on-site EPIC centers for their children. A regulation prevented us from creating such centers without the Rose State sponsorship because it arbitrarily suppressed the number of hours that virtual students could meet with a teacher one-on-one. That rule only applied to virtual schools with state wide attendance boundaries but it didn’t apply to virtual schools with specific attendance boundaries, like Tulsa and Oklahoma counties only.
The vast majority of students under our Blended Learning charter do not attend one of our full-time, on-site centers. However, approximately 1,000 students as of this school year do. In fact, demand for this model continues to grow to the extent that we will be creating at least one more on-site center in the coming school year.
Just like any charter school sponsor does, Rose State College is paid a sponsorship fee. The Statewide Virtual Charter Schools Board also is paid a fee for its authorization of EPIC. School districts such as Oklahoma City Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools receive fees from the charter schools they sponsor, too.
Higher education organizations are allowed to sponsor charter schools and Rose State College is not the first. For example, ASTEC Charter Schools in Oklahoma City is sponsored by Oklahoma State University and John Rex Charter Schools was sponsored for several years by the University of Oklahoma.
EPIC finds intrinsic value in partnering with higher education. Students gearing up for college have direct access to an established higher education entity that understands EPIC students and helps them plan ahead. For example, the EPIC on-site learning center in Midwest City houses the EPIC News Network – the state’s first and only state-wide journalism program for high school students. ENN and Rose State students are working together in a joint effort to develop and produce news stories relevant to both schools and the state.
EPIC will continue to explore partnerships that Rose State’s sponsorship as a higher education institution affords.