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History of SVETN

A Brief History of the Southwest Virginia Education and Training Network

  • 1992 – ARC / C&P grant administered by TVA allows educators to study the region’s needs and available technologies;
  • 1993 – C&P Telephone Company assists Lee High, Thomas Walker High, and MECC install and connect equipment for a pilot study;
  • 1994 – Executive Director is hired; pilot equipment is enhanced in Lee and Wise Counties; classrooms linking SVCC and in Tazewell County schools are included; ten year telecommunications contracts are negotiated and dedicated fiber circuits are deployed;
  • 1995 – 1996 School divisions move toward common calendars and bell schedules;
  • 1995 – VHCC and three Washington County schools served by Sprint are added; a total of twelve classrooms are connected;  ITV maintenance contractor is engaged and placed on retainer;
  • 1996 – Eighteen classrooms are linked; additional fiber infrastructure is leased to cross-connect 4 phone company service areas; Sprint offers Ethernet connectivity for Internet on their in situ fiber charging for the cost of equipment only;
  • 1997 – Twenty five classrooms are connected; Virginia Tech creates Network Virginia; community colleges are the first statewide customer; ITV enrollment reaches 1179 in 61 classes;
  • 1998 – Thirty three classrooms are connected; quasi-federal e-rate program begins; A. Linwood Holton Governor’s school begins teaching students including some by ITV; some schools switch to block schedules; hopes for a regional video schedule dissolve; ITV enrollment peaks with 1707 students served in 101 classes;
  • 1999 – Forty seven classrooms are connected; ITV enrollment 1309 in 78 classes; GTE offers Ethernet connectivity for Internet over video fiber in their service area for modest additional cost;
  • 2000 – ITV enrollment 1273 in 59 classes; e-rate refunds significantly reduce the cost of ITV services for public school partners;
  • 2001 – Forty nine classrooms are connected; Program Development Coordinator is hired; SVETN secures Technology Innovation Challenge (TIC) grant to experiment using the Internet for classroom video transport; ITV enrollment 1230 in 72 classes;
  • 2002 – Fifty two classrooms are connected; ANGEL software is licensed using TIC grant funds and a small cadre of secondary teachers are introduced to on-line teaching methods;
  • 2003 – SVETN offers asynchronous online courses for high school graduation credit and professional development; SVETN reimburses high schools for stipends to online teachers; ITV--540 post-secondary students served in 27 classes,  864 public school students served in 72 classes;
  • 2004 – VDOE reimburses SVETN to allow students across Va. to enroll in online AP courses developed in our region; the relationship with “Virginia’s Virtual Advanced Placement School” generates a small revenue stream to help pay online teachers;
  • 2004 – 2007  Ten year contracts with telephone companies begin to expire; successive 12 month extensions are negotiated; companies reject unlimited extensions arguing that in the event of failure their video switching equipment could no longer be repaired or replaced; the cost of proposed alternatives exceeds the original network pricing even after 60-70% e-rate discounts are applied;
  • 2004 – Telephone companies urge SVETN to apply for a Tobacco Commission grant to replace outdated video equipment with a type compatible with probable replacement options; ITV--680 post-secondary students served in 35 classes, 828 public school students served in 72 classes;
  • 2005 – Names are coined for two SVETN services: “ELITE Learning” for Internet classes taught by local instructors, “SVETNet” for a broadband network concept intended to transport all the region’s current and future data, video, and phone services for the partners; VDOE contracts with SVETN to provide a statewide online enrollment portal for “Virginia’s Virtual AP School;”
  • 2005 – ELITE Learning serves 144 students enrolled in 9 online classes; sixty four are enrolled in six non-AP courses and eighty students are enrolled in the three AP courses taught statewide as part of “Virginia Virtual (formerly Virginia’s Virtual Advanced Placement School);”
  • 2006 – SVETN receives grants from VA Tobacco Commission and USDA Rural Utilities Service totaling $2 million for upgrading video classrooms; SVETN engages an independent consultant and begins investigating video network alternatives to replace dedicated telco circuits; generic specs for SVETNet are developed and an RFP issued to telecommunications carriers; ELITE Learning serves 98 students in six classes;
  • 2007 – A majority of SVETN video partners reject the “best” SVETNet proposal as being too costly; the partners decide to provide their own Ethernet (Internet) connections; Bluefield College, Emory & Henry College, and three school divisions elect not to upgrade with grant funds leaving money on the table for those remaining; Tandberg equipment is chosen and installations begin; ELITE Learning serves 95 students in nine classes;
  • 2008 – Virginia Virtual, now on an independent footing, no longer requires SVETN’s enrollment portal or AP classes from ELITE Learning; SVETN phases out AP classes and concentrates on offering dual enrollment courses; due to high renewal cost, ANGEL is replaced by Moodle as SVETN’s Learning Management System; various ITV classrooms are decommissioned while others are added;
  • 2009 – ELITE Learning serves 215 students in eleven classes; all classes are dual enrollment; most recent ITV addition is a classroom in the Dickenson Center for Education and Research at Clintwood; current net 46 ITV rooms;
  • 2010 – Partners approve a funding model for ELITE Learning in which SVETN recovers instructor fees according to a formula pegged to community college tuition; teachers receive compensation based on workload and the number of students in their online class; ELITE Learning serves 387 students in 13 classes during the 2010-2011 school year;
  • 2011 – Executive Director announces his retirement to occur early in 2012; Executive Committee of the Board of Directors continues strategic planning and resolves to end support of ITV in 2012-2013 school year; ELITE Learning delivers 1,362 college credits to 369 students in 19 high schools;
  • 2012 -- New Executive Director, Administrative Assistant, and Educational Technologist are hired; ELITE Learning provides course to 363 students for a total of 1,524 college credits during the 2012-2013 school year;
  • 2013 – ELITE Learning continues to grow during the 2013-2014 school year to serve 363 students for a total of 2,523 college credits;
  • 2014 -- ELITE  Learning hires an additional Psychology instructor to meet the increasing demand.  During the 2014-2015 school year, there were 741 student enrollments for a total of 3,000 college credits.  Total credits awarded since 2008 are 11,466;