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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 1003
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F.S. 1003.499
1003.499 Florida Approved Courses and Tests (FACT) Initiative.
(a) The purpose of the initiative shall be to make available multiple options to suit unique student interests, satisfy educational requirements, and accelerate student accomplishment of goals in a productive and effective manner. The Legislature intends that state and local rules, policies, and administrative decisions are flexible in interpreting and implementing the requirements in this section in order to encourage creative, innovative, resourceful, and forward-thinking practices that can be modeled throughout this state and the country.
(b) Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, the Florida Approved Courses and Tests (FACT) Initiative shall be implemented to expand student choices in selecting high-quality online courses, including, but not limited to, massive open online courses and instruction included under subsection (2) for promotion or graduation. Such courses and instruction may be provided using a blended learning model that shall include components such as differentiated instruction, flexible scheduling, differentiated teaching, and self-paced learning. Instruction through the blended learning model may be provided using online instructional videos, online class forums, and online homework assignments and projects, coupled with one-on-one direct instructional support to students.
(2) FLORIDA APPROVED COURSES.The Department of Education shall annually publish online a list of providers approved to offer Florida approved courses which shall be listed in the online catalog pursuant to s. 1002.321(5).
(a) As used in this section, the term “Florida approved courses” means online courses provided by individuals which include, but are not limited to, massive open online courses or remedial education associated with the courses that are measured pursuant to s. 1008.22. Massive open online courses may be authorized in the following subject areas: Algebra I, biology, geometry, and civics. Courses may be applied toward requirements for promotion or graduation in whole, in subparts, or in a combination of whole and subparts. A student may not be required to repeat subparts that are satisfactorily completed.
(b) A Florida approved course must be annually identified, approved, published, and shared for consideration by interested students and school districts. The Commissioner of Education shall approve each Florida approved course for application in K-12 public schools in accordance with rules of the State Board of Education.
(a) To be approved by the Department of Education, an individual provider must provide all the following documentation that demonstrates that he or she:
1. Is nonsectarian regarding courses, enrollment policies, employment practices, and operations.
2. Complies with the antidiscrimination provisions of s. 1000.05.
3. Requires all instructional staff to be Florida-certified teachers under chapter 1012 or certified as adjunct educators under s. 1012.57 and conducts background screenings for all employees or contracted personnel, as required by s. 1012.32, using state and national criminal history records.
4. Provides to parents and students specific information posted and accessible online which includes, but is not limited to, the following teacher-parent and teacher-student contact information for each course:
a. How to contact the instructor via telephone, e-mail, or online messaging tools.
b. How to contact technical support via telephone, e-mail, or online messaging tools.
c. How to contact the administration office or an individual offering online courses, including, but not limited to, massive open online courses, via telephone, e-mail, or online messaging tools.
d. Any requirement for regular contact with the instructor for the course and clear expectations for meeting the requirement.
5. Possesses prior, successful experience offering online courses to elementary, middle, or high school students as demonstrated by quantified student learning gains or student growth in each subject area and grade level provided for consideration as an instructional program option. However, for a provider without sufficient prior, successful experience offering online courses, the department may conditionally approve the provider to offer courses measured by the statewide assessment program pursuant to s. 1008.22. Conditional approval is valid for 1 year. Renewal of provider approval is contingent on sufficient performance data available demonstrating success in accordance with this section and State Board of Education rule.
6. Ensures instructional and curricular quality through a detailed curriculum and student performance accountability plan that addresses every subject and grade level that the provider intends to provide through contract with the school district, including all of the following:
a. Courses and programs that meet the standards of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning and the Southern Regional Education Board.
b. Instructional content and services that align with, and measure student attainment of, student proficiency in the state academic standards.
c. Mechanisms that determine and ensure that a student has satisfied requirements for grade level promotion and high school graduation with a standard diploma, as appropriate.
7. Publishes for the general public, in accordance with disclosure requirements adopted in rule by the State Board of Education, as part of the application as a provider and in all contracts negotiated pursuant to this section all of the following information:
a. Certification status and physical location of all administrative and instructional personnel.
b. Hours and times of availability of instructional personnel.
c. Student-teacher ratios.
d. Student completion and promotion rates.
e. Student, educator, and school performance accountability outcomes.
(b) Each approved provider contracted under this section must participate in the statewide assessment program under s. 1008.22 and in the state’s education performance accountability system under s. 1008.31.
History.s. 5, ch. 2013-225; s. 9, ch. 2023-13; s. 25, ch. 2023-16.