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Massachusetts District To Launch Statewide Virtual School

Greenfield Public Schools has partnered with K12 Inc. to launch the first full-time statewide virtual public school in Massachusetts. It's also described as the state's first "virtual 'Innovation School'" under new legislation designed to ease the way for districts to establish their own alternative education programs.

The Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield (or "MAVA@Greenfield") will serve primarily K-8 students, with just a limited number of high school applicants to be accepted from specific regions for the 2010-2011 school year. (The high school program will be expanded over time.) A total of 500 students will be accepted initially.

Ron Packard, founder and CEO of K12, said in a statement released earlier this month, "The Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield will be a school true to the goal of the state's Innovation Schools legislation, providing excellent education programs designed to meet students' individual needs. Over 200,000 students have used the K12 program and we look forward to successfully serving students and families in Massachusetts."

MAVA@Greenfield, like other schools associated with K12 Inc., is a tuition-free public school that will provide a computer, printer, and software to students, along with a stipend to cover Internet costs. The school will follow K12's online curriculum with individualized instruction and will provide students with hands-on learning materials as well. Teachers will work with students via e-mail, chat, phone, and face to face meetings and will also facilitate field trips and other activities for students and parents.

The Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield is enrolling now and is expected to be operational in September.

Aside from the virtual academy, Greenfield Public Schools serves students in nine schools and special programs, including an earl learning academy, three elementary schools, one regular middle school, and one regular high school. It also operates an eighth-grade academy, a science academy for sixth and seventh graders, and a therapeutic day program administered by its high school.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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