Mesa Distance Learning Program

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Mesa Distance Learning Program
MDLP banner.jpg
1025 N. Country Club Dr.
Mesa, Maricopa AZ 85201-3307
United States
School type State, Online, Public
Motto Your online link to quality education
Established 1999 [1]
Founder Doug Barnard[2]
School board Mesa Public Schools
Grades 7-11
International students yes
Hours in school day 1 hour per course recommended[3]
MDLP courses.png
The course page of a "sample" student

Mesa Distance Learning Program is a distance learning program for grades 7-12 sponsored by Mesa Public Schools in Mesa, Arizona, USA that offers students worldwide a US-based education leading to a high school diploma.[4] Tuition is free for students studying in Arizona, and who have passed the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards exam to obtain that benefit.[3][5][6] Those enrolling from outside Arizona must pay USD 200 per course.[7] The Mesa Distance Learning Program is also used by other Arizona school districts.[8][9][10]

The program initially catered for those students in Arizona who could not attend a local high school. However, following its success, the program is now being used widely in territories outside Arizona, including the UK, India, and Australia.[11]

Course Work[edit]

All courses are aligned to Mesa District, state of Arizona and national curriculum standards.[3] The Mesa Distance Learning claims that they are only distance learning program whose lab and fine art courses meet the requirement to enter Arizona universities.[3] All students are required to take a mandatory final exam at the end of the course. This may be done using an approved proctor or at the MDLP office. If the student fails the final exam, they fail the course.[1]

Each course lasts 18 weeks but students are encouraged to complete the course as soon as possible. The course is designed to be completed by studying for one hour per day per school week for each course.[3] Students can take as many courses as they like. However, in order to complete the course within the usual time frame, high school students must be enrolled in at least four courses, and junior high students (grades 7-8) must be enrolled in six courses.[3]

Technical and system requirements[edit]

Students need a computer, Internet access, and an email address to complete courses through MDLP.[12] The coursework is composed of lessons, typed worksheets, and timed online tests that run on the Macromedia Authorware software.[12]

Minimum requirements for operating the system on a personal computer include:

Course offered[edit]

MDLP offer a wide range of course work. As in traditional high schools, students are able to take elective programs and foreign languages. Due to China's presence in the world economy, a Chinese language course was added to the list of courses offered by MDLP and students can also take Chinese through the online Mesa Distance Learning Program.[13]


Founded in 1999, the Mesa Distance Learning Program initially had little data access. Student management and gradebook was being contracted out to a commercial company. The program was mainly used by home school students and disabled students as an alternative to attending traditional schools, and included those with disabilities preventing them from attending a mainstream school on a regular basis, and students with certain types of school phobias. Interactions between student and teacher were done through email.[1]

Towards the later years, the program has made many changes, including more teacher involvement, and the courseware, student management, grade book, and dialog (message box) are now done in-house by Mesa and do not depend on third party involvement. Data access is now given to the teacher, parent, administrator, counselor and lab teacher, and the teacher feedback feature was added in 2007. Mesa moved from commercial software to in-house use in order to retain control of the software design and to ensure the curriculum is aligned with Arizona standards.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Arizona eLearning Taskforce" (PDF). Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Faculty and Staff". Mesa Distance Learning Program. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Mesa Distance Learning Program FAQ". Retrieved 4 January 2011.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "MDLP_FAQ" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  4. ^ "District tailors services for home-school families". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  5. ^ Ryman, Anne. "More Ariz. students 'attending' virtual schools". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Shelton, Shelley (12 August 2010). "Marana kids go the distance without leaving home". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Mesa Distance Learning Program". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "Vail Digital Learning Program". Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  9. ^ Faller, Mary Beth (Jan 5, 2011). "Scottsdale district to offer own online classes". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  10. ^ Herrmann, Jerry. "Chino Valley school district creates online school". Chino Valley Review. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "May 2009 issue" (PDF). The Link. Mesa Distance Learning Program. May 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  12. ^ a b "Technical Requirements". Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  13. ^ Gersema, Emily. "Valley schools beginning to add Chinese language option". Retrieved 19 January 2011.