GREENFIELD — FLEX Program Director Steve Haddad is pleased to announce that the Greater Commonwealth Virtual School has continued to assist school districts throughout the state with their ongoing virtual education needs this year.
At the start of this school year, Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley sent a notification to all school districts in the state outlining new options available to districts that needed to supplement their current services for students who could not attend school in person due to a documented medical need.
Districts were given the option of engaging with one of the two Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual Schools (CMVS) in the state, one of which is GCVS. As part of the option, students accessing these virtual courses would remain enrolled in their current district and would attend supplemental virtual courses online as needed.
“Through this assistance option students are not enrolled as a full-time GCVS student, but rather continue to take some courses remotely and receive services from their current district,” said Director Haddad, who oversees students from GCVS partner districts. “It is a very flexible option that can satisfy a critical need for families who find themselves unable to send their children to their home district for whatever reason.”
So far during the school year GCVS has assisted a total of 23 students across 10 partner districts in the state through the supplemental learning option. These ranged from larger urban districts to smaller public charter schools.
Services offered to partner districts by GCVS include:
- Single core course with state-certified online teacher
- Core bundle of courses with state-certified online teachers
- Live courses with state-certified online teachers
- Technology support
Services are offered to elementary students, middle school students and high school students (live instruction or flex/asynchronous learning are available for each).
Students using this option did not count against GCVS’ enrollment cap of 1,050 students, as outlined in its Admissions Policy.
For a complete list of the various grade level and instruction level services offered at GCVS, click here.
GCVS ‘the right fit’
One of the schools taking advantage of this option is the South Shore Charter Public School, which used GCVS for two of its students during the first semester of the 2021-22 school year. This number jumped to six for the current semester.
“When the state mandated us to send our students back to school for in-person learning, there were still some students who needed that virtual option,” said SSCPS Director of Learning Services Matthew Tondorf. “In addition to students’ needs, there are situations where parents may have a situation arise that requires them to take advantage of a virtual learning option for their child as well, so it does fill a great need.”
GCVS’ flexible options and communication have stood out during the year.
“We have the option of adding students after the school year starts, which is a huge benefit,” Tondorf said. “And the communication with the school has been phenomenal, as we get constant updates on how our students are performing and what they need to succeed.”
Tondorf said SSCPS did as good a job as could’ve been expected with virtual learning at the onset of the pandemic, and that their ability to remotely educate their students was strong. This made working with GCVS very intuitive.
“The pandemic gave us a totally new perspective on this type of education, so when the need arose for us to continue to educate a select number of our students virtually we knew Greater Commonwealth Virtual School was the right fit,” he said. “Having this option has allowed a selection of our students to stay on the right path when it would have otherwise been a real challenge.”
Other districts utilizing GCVS as part of this virtual learning option include three schools within the City of Boston, a district on Cape Cod, two districts in Middlesex County, a district in Hampshire County, and a district and arts/technology public school in the Berkshires.
Any district needing additional information on using GCVS’ services for supplemental virtual instruction can contact GCVS Director of Enrollment and Recruitment Michelle Morrissey at 413-475-3879 ext. 39 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greater Commonwealth Virtual School is a public school of choice serving K-12 students from across all of Massachusetts. GCVS supplements the educational programs offered by traditional school districts to provide unique programs that address the needs of students who learn better in non-traditional educational environments. Under the Massachusetts School Choice program, GCVS offers students an alternative way to succeed academically and successfully prepare for life beyond K-12 education, through both virtual classroom-based programs and personalized asynchronous programs.