Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Utah gets an open charter high school

David Wiley, The Open High School of Utah, iterating toward openness, May 12, 2008.

With extreme joy and happiness I can now announce that this past Friday (the 9th) the Utah Board of Education formally approved our request to create a new charter school to be called the Open High School of Utah. For those unfamiliar with how US charter schools work, a charter school is a publicly funded school with a specific emphasis - like a performing arts high school. OHSU will be a completely online school (or “virtual school” as they are sometimes called) that will use open educational resources exclusively.

Through partnerships we are building we hope to make the OHSU an “early college high school,” meaning that students will have the opportunity to earn an Associate’s degree at no extra cost at the same time they earn their high school diploma. Our pedagogical approach will be heavily influenced by service learning.

As you can imagine, a high school based on OERs has need of a variety of partnerships - especially partners who are also interested in locating / assembling / building an entire high school curriculum’s worth of OER content. There will be lots of opportunities for volunteers to contribute and become part of the OHSU community - finding appropriately licensed resources, assembling these in ways that conform with their various incompatible licenses (no small challenge!), creating new OERs to fill the gaps in what exists, aligning content structures to state and national standards, etc. ...

Comment. See my comments at
... There are a few reasons this is particularly exciting. This school will have a strong concentrated interest in supporting OERs — you can expect the administration to be vocal advocates for favorable policies, funding, etc. The staff will develop deep experience with OERs, which can be shared with colleagues at traditional schools — and carried with them to future jobs. The school’s existence will establish a precedent, encouraging other educators to consider how to use OERs.

In other words, this could be the acorn that starts a forest.
Update. Wiley has posted the charter application documents.