Category Archives: Meet IVS

Three Generations of Illinois Virtual School Directors. – Kip Pygman

Three Generations of Illinois Virtual School Directors

Last week I attended the inaugural Digital Learning Conference, DLAC. It was a jammed-pack three days filled with the attendees exploring, disseminating research, news, and best practices in online learning including the effective use of technology in education.

When hundreds of professionals who share a similar passion toward a common interest gather under one roof, the level of excitement and desire to grow together is vastly profound. This was no different at the first ever DLAC Conference and an experience I encourage more professionals to attend.

While attending the conference, I had the privilege of collaborating with the past directors of Illinois Virtual–see the picture below. Mr. Matthew Wicks was the first director of Illinois Virtual including from 2001-2009 followed by Ms. Cindy Hamblin leading the program until her retirement in 2018. How special it was to stand with our past directors and reflect upon how much IL Virtual has accomplished on behalf of our students and virtual education as a whole across our great state! I thank Matt and Cindy for their leadership, vision, and unwavering support toward the advancement and growth of online learning.

3 Generations

Our conversation included differences, challenges, and opportunities related to the particular time and landscape that each director was leading the program. However, two constants existed which all three of us shared:

  • The profound passion, commitment, genuine care, and exceptional quality of our instructors.
  • The positive opportunities virtual schooling affords thousands of students across Illinois.

Expanding further on the two points above, at IL Virtual, we have near 70 part-time teachers including the majority who also serve full-time at their local middle or high school right here in our home state. They combine the value and experience gained from their face-to-face teaching experiences with an educational technology skill set that results in an innovative, enriching learning environment for kids.

We pride ourselves on delivering online options which meet the same level of rigor we all expect for students taking classes on-campus. Did you know over 90% of our teachers hold a Master’s Degree including 15% who are Nationally Board Certified? We pride ourselves on creating a family-like atmosphere where our teachers know one another as people first and share in a mutual desire to grow and learn together professionally. Did you know our teachers have been with us on average for eight years including some who have been with us since our inception in 2001? IL Virtual is a special place where teachers who reside across every geographic area of our state join together for a singular goal: To do what is best for our students who just happen to be online learners!

Whether a student desires the online experience for flexibility, accelerated learning, enhanced autonomy, access to a course not offered locally or a multitude of other reasons, our teams are ready and excited to serve students. We recognize each enrollment is unique and each learner has a different path traveling from their Point A to their Point B including their future college and career aspirations.

Personally, I get chills imagining the world of possibility for students when they are presented with such a vast array of educational choices–such as face-to-face, blended, or online. These options provide today’s students with the ability to choose the style of learning that best accommodates their needs at any given point in time.

Last year, IL Virtual served students across 215 districts spanning hundreds of schools. We look forward to continuing working with these districts, future new partners, students, and families by providing them with a virtual learning option. Together, we will pursue the positive difference we all aspire to achieve for our students.

Looking forward to DLAC 2020 and another conversation with Matt and Cindy!


Kip Pygman, Director

Summer Terms are Now Open for Enrollment !

IVS offers four Full Service Course start dates to work with students’ busy summer schedules. Whether you want Accounting or Latin; Physics or Programming – IVS can help! Visit the Summer Courses page to learn how IVS can facilitate your summer learning experience.

IVS also offers Credit Recovery courses that are available with Rolling Enrollment and can be started at any time.

New Students – Ready to sign up? Take the next step and visit the Getting Started page to learn how to create an account and request a course.

Returning Students – Remember to Request Your Course in time for your school to approve the request.

New Schools – Visit the Become a Partner School page and complete a Partnership Agreement Form to get started!



IVS is Proud to Introduce Our New Director, Kip Pygman!

As most of you are aware; IVS’ longtime Director, Cindy Hamblin, retired at the end of June. With that, the Peoria Regional Office of Education has replaced her with an exceptional individual who shined through a field of outstanding candidates. Please welcome Kip Pygman as the new Director of Illinois Virtual School.

Kip spent the first ten years of his professional career at Leyden High Schools, starting as a business instructor and serving in other leadership roles including an online learning coordinator and response to intervention director. Most recently, Kip was the inaugural director of the Expanding Learning Opportunities Consortium (eLo), where for four years he led an online learning consortium comprised of three Illinois school districts spanning seven high schools. Kip currently sits on the Board of Directors as the Vice-Chair for Walther Christian Academy and is a member of the Illinois PK-12 Digital Learning Advisory Council. Kip holds a Master of Educational Leadership from Concordia University and a Master of Educational Technology from Boise State University.

A message from Kip:

“What is the first action most people take when they sit down to dine? After engaging in a few minutes of small chat, most reach for the menu and explore the options.

  • How hungry am I today?
  • Do I feel like fish, meat, pasta, or poultry?
  • Does the menu have choices that meet my dietary restrictions?

We often gauge our dining experience by customer service but also by the diversity of the menu—assuming the quality of your meal meets your expectation. If you dine at a restaurant with limited options, you might become dissatisfied with your experience. On the other hand, when you explore a menu with a variety of options, your tablemates and you often comment on how impressed you are with that menu because it accommodates immediately your particular need or want.

Students today have an amazing variety in their on-campus learning menu, whether honors or advanced placement, career and elective, dual-credit courses, internships, etc. We, at IVS, are thrilled to help our partners expand and supplement their learning menu for students. By broadening further the variety inside the menus, such as online choices, we are empowering more students to make educational decisions that meet their needs with where they exist at a definitive point in time.

I get chills imagining the world of possibility for students when they are presented with such a vast array of educational choices. We look forward to continuing working alongside all of our partners, students, and families by providing them with these virtual learning opportunities. Together, we will pursue the positive difference we all aspire to achieve for our learners.”

Illinois Virtual School is honored to have such a distinguished online learning professional join our team and we look forward to working with Mr. Pygman to continue providing an exceptional online learning opportunity to students from throughout the State of Illinois.