FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT VIRTUAL EDUCATION IN MISSOURI
IS VIRTUAL EDUCATION FREE FOR ALL STUDENTS IN MISSOURI?
Any student in Missouri who has attended a public school for at least the previous semester qualifies for free virtual school. All children in Missouri may enroll in MOCAP programs, but if they have not been in the public school system for at least a semester then their local district is not required to pay the tuition.
WHAT IS MOCAP?
MOCAP stands for the Missouri Course Access Program. It allows public school students to attend part-time or full-time virtual school paid for by your resident school district. You can learn more on the official MOCAP website.
DO CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS QUALIFY FOR MOCAP COURSES/PROGRAMS?
A charter school is a public school so charter school families qualify under the law. Contact your charter school to begin enrollment and not your local public school district.
WHAT IS A VIRTUAL VENDOR OR PROVIDER?
Vendors/providers are organizations that provide virtual education programs and courses. There are currently 10 vendors in Missouri.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A PROGRAM?
There are many different types of programs serving a range of different grades. Some providers offer live online instruction and some offer self-paced courses and others a combination of the two. There are other factors such as whether or not they provide technology and other learning materials, clubs, dual credit, and AP classes. See here for more information on the variety of options available.
HOW DO I ENROLL IN A VIRTUAL EDUCATION PROGRAM OR COURSE?
WHAT PAPERWORK IS REQUIRED TO ENROLL IN A VIRTUAL EDUCATION PROGRAM OR COURSE?
Guardian ID, report card, transcripts, child’s birth certificate (some providers allow other proof of DOB). Other forms may include: District Approval Form, Enrollment Verification Form, Family Income Form (some vendors supply materials and technology to families who qualify for free and reduced lunch)
WHAT IS "PRIVATE" VS "PUBLIC" PAY?
“Private” pay means you are responsible for payment to the virtual provider. There are a wider range of courses available to private pay families and they are available to non-public school students. “Public” pay are the courses paid for by your local school district and are approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as official MOCAP programs or courses. Make sure when you are researching providers that you are viewing the public pay courses. You can download a list of all official MOCAP courses and programs here.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY DISTRICT/SCHOOL DENIES MY CHILD'S APPLICATION TO ENROLL IN A VIRTUAL COURSE OR PROGRAM?
We have created this guide to help you through the appeals process. It is common to be denied but very often it can be easily resolved. For assistance contact Cici Tompkins at email@example.com or 314-561-8646.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY DISTRICT REQUIRES ME TO ENROLL IN THEIR VIRTUAL PROGRAM?
It is against the law for a school district to require that you use their virtual program. See the full list of virtual programs here. You can also bring this document with you to your school district to educate them on the law.
IF I DON'T QUALIFY, HOW CAN I HELP CHANGE LAWS IN MISSOURI TO ALLOW MY STUDENT ACCESS?
You can take immediate action to improve access to virtual education here. If you would like to help with expanding parental choice more broadly, the Children’s Education Alliance of Missouri is a non-profit organization that seeks to expand education policies in Missouri to give families more options to meet the needs of their students. To get involved contact Cici Tompkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-561-8646. You can also visit ceamteam.org for more information.
DEFINITIONS OF COMMON TERMS AND ACRONYMS USED ABOUT VIRTUAL EDUCATION
MOCAP - Missouri Course Access Program
Vendor - Organizations that provide virtual education. There are currently 10 vendors in Missouri
DESE - Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, our Missouri department of education
Live instruction - students log in at specific times for classes where they get face-to-face instruction from their teacher. Some live instruction includes student participation and interaction
Self-paced learning - students can create their own schedule and go at their own pace. This can include pre-recorded instruction from teachers. With all vendors there are still teachers that can be reached and that oversee the learning
Blended learning - a combination of live and self-paced instruction
LEA - Local Education Agency - your local public school district
ILP - Individualized Learning Plan - “Students taking more than two MOCAP courses must have an individualized learning plan maintained in the LEA’s student records.”