Online Schools

Michigan Launches Virtual Charter Academy

The Michigan public school system has launched the state's first online public charter school, the Michigan Virtual Charter Academy (MVCA).

As a public school, the MVCA does not charge tuition, and enrolled students are provided with school materials (equipment, books, and other learning media) at no charge. Participation requires a computer with Web browser, which students may receive on a loan basis in cases of financial hardship. The initial 2010-2011 academic year will accept Michigan residents who attended any public school the prior year (excepting kindergarten), or students under the age of 21 who have dropped out of high school. The deadline for application is June 11, 2010, and an online account login is provided once the application is accepted.

Curriculum is provided by K12, a private educational services company. About 20 percent to 25 percent of learning time involves a computer; the remaining balance is spent offline with more traditional textbook-based assignments or on field trips and other events, according to K12. For high school students, some instruction requires attendance in person at a learning center. High school courses are structured by student ability level into four categories: Core, Comprehensive, Honors, and Advanced Placement (AP). Advanced Placement coursework available includes AP English, Calculus, Biology, and United States History (among others) and follows the College Board curriculum.

Further details can be found here.

About the Author

Evan Tassistro is a freelance writer based in San Diego, CA.