The Virtual School Project began in 2002 in association with the Office of Overseas Schools and the staff and students of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia, to support the March 2002 evacuation of the International School of Islamabad. Since its inception, the program has expanded to 19 schools in the NESA region.
The project is an innovative, productive and sustainable means of addressing the quality and continuity of curriculum on overseas school campuses. It enables durable and multi-faceted regional on-line communities. The programs of the participating schools are significantly enhanced by access to technology-rich tools which promote student learning in the classroom, teacher professional development and regional collaboration and resource sharing. The programs in the participating schools provide the capability for continuity of operations if natural or man-made emergencies occur.
While Thomas Jefferson High School continues to provide technical advice and training, participating overseas schools have assumed responsibility for management and technology support in collaboration with OS, their regional associations and Blackboard, Inc., which has provided the software.
In anticipation of the World Virtual School (WVS), the NESA Virtual School Project is moving to Moodle as its software platform for 2011-2012 and will be a “hub” of the WVS.
In June 2010, Thomas Jefferson High School again provided training to system administrators from Department-assisted overseas schools in managing a virtual school and using the software to support instruction and communication in an overseas school (see JOSTI - Jefferson/Overseas Schools Technology Institute).
World Virtual School now provides coordination of a network of learning management systems for participating international schools to use affordable and reliable on-line academic resources for day-to-day instruction, for continuity of operations during times of emergency and for fostering and supporting collaboration directly among participating schools, among regional associations and at the multi-regional (global) level.