Students perform their work either via computers which already they own, or which are supplied to them by the school. Work is performed online via secure intranet connections.
ECOT was founded in 2000 by William "Bill" Lager, under an agreement with the Lucas County Educational Service Center; and it is managed by his company, Altair Learning Management (IQity).
Under Ohio law, "community schools" are independent public schools that offer school choice to parents, students and teachers. They are accountable to the public by a contract with a sponsor, such as a school district, or the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). In ECOT's case, the school is accountable to LCESC and its publicly-elected Board. Community schools cannot charge tuition and must follow all laws pertaining to health, public safety and civil rights.
Students are required to take state-mandated proficiency/achievement tests, and other examinations prescribed by law. Students are required to pass the Ohio Graduation Test to receive a diploma.
Technically speaking, ECOT is not a "home schooling" program. It is a public community school, subject to all the laws and regulations thereof. (See the ODE website for more detailed information regarding home schooling in the state of Ohio.)
Students are expected to attend classes online for 25 hours per week during the school year, comparable to the time which students in "brick-and-mortar" schools are also expected to attend. Attendance need not adhere to traditional time conventions however; Affording flexibility to students and families not typically available in traditional educational settings.
While students must be residents of the state, their education need not take place in the state. Education, not temporary location, is the focus. Travel need not hamper learning. Students whom must be outside the state for various reasons may participate. Common reasons for location-independent learning include:
All teachers employed by ECOT meet, or exceed, the "Highly Qualified" standards set forth under the No Child Left Behind guidelines. These standards were voluntarily adopted and put into effect before they were required by law.
Students and parents/guardians may use these facilities for orientation, to contact teachers face-to-face, submit work, take tests, and to receive technical support for computer/curriculum issues they may experience.
The REC centers host workshops, class activities, tutorial sessions, test preparation, counseling, and career development opportunities.
The Elementary School comprises grades Kindergarten through 5. Middle School consists of grades 6 and 7. The Lower High School covers grades 8 to 10 and the Upper High School covers grades 11-12. Each is supervised by its own Principal.
ECOT was the first electronic charter school in the nation to graduate students.
Students receive traditional high school diplomas, as authorized by the Ohio Department of Education.
The school's first graduation ceremonies were held in the Ohio State House. In later years, larger venues became necessary due to Public Occupancy Limits, and are presently being held at Germain Amphitheater. In 2006 the graduating class was just shy of 800 students.
High School Graduates must meet, or exceed, Ohio standards for learning to graduate. At present those standards are:
Students can earn 4.5 credits in 8th grade by doing P.E(0.5), Algebra I(1.0), French(1.0), Basic Computers (1.0) and Intermediate Computers (1.0). Students have the opportunity to skip the 10th grade and go straight to the 11th if they earn maximum credits from 8th and 9th grades, plus 2 credits from 2 9th grade summer school classes.