5 great things the pandemic revealed about schools

The light at the end of the tunnel shines a little brighter every day, and it makes it easier to reflect on a handful of hard-won positives to emerge from the pandemic. These may not be universal truths, but some schools have unearthed opportunities from the past year’s challenges.

Increased engagement

When given the opportunity to connect through teacher conferences, traditionally, parents could take it or leave it. After all, barriers to creating connections loomed large. Virtual school led naturally to virtual conferences, and the rest is history. One district even saw 100 percent attendance at one elementary school’s conferences!…Read More

Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School Selects InScribe Platform to Enhance Communication

InScribe, which delivers game-changing digital community solutions, today announced a partnership with Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School (GCVS), streamlining the way the school engages and communicates with parents and students. InScribe’s intelligent collaboration and community platform creates a centralized location for interaction, making it easy for everyone to connect and get the information and answers they need in a timely way.

“For a lot of parents, virtual schooling is unfamiliar territory, and we don’t want them to feel the distance. Rather we want them to feel connected and to be an integral part of their children’s education experience,” said Chris Moody, Director of Technology. “InScribe is redefining how we communicate, making it easier and more straightforward. Not only can we share information across our communities, but InScribe is helping us to be more effective and transparent in our interactions.”

From enrollment, onboarding, and orientation, throughout the educational journey, parents can easily access GCVS’ community to ask questions, find resources, get notifications, contribute to the group, and connect with other parents and educators. Parents can search for information, view questions and answers from other parents, and see the interactions and advice from parents who came before them, giving them the tools they need to better navigate the education process and support their children.…Read More

3 great tips for experiential learning

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin is often credited with this quote that resonates with teachers as a reminder to make learning experiential. When students have a personal stake in the subject matter, they better connect to what you’re teaching, and are more likely to engage with challenging subjects.

Here are three tips for inviting experiential learning into your classroom:…Read More

Virtual schools in a fight for adequate funding

Virtual school funding gets 'Do Not Pass Go' in Georgia.
Virtual school funding gets 'Do Not Pass Go' in Georgia.

Heart-wrenching decisions made by state bureaucrats that affect the pursuit of a child’s dream might sound like the makings of a Hollywood movie, but for virtual schools in Georgia and elsewhere, these are par for the course.

Two proposed virtual schools in Georgia got the OK to open this fall, but with very limited funding. Their plans are now on hold while they appeal the state’s decision, which supporters of online instruction say was based on politics and not a careful analysis of the costs necessary to operate a high-quality virtual school. What’s more, virtual school advocates say Georgia is not alone in funding virtual schools at a level that is dramatically lower than what traditional schools receive per pupil.…Read More

First virtual school in Mass. opens today

The Massachusetts Virtual Academy opens in Greenfield on Sept. 2, not only as the first in the state, but also as the first virtual school in New England to serve students from kindergarten through high school, reports the Boston Globe. At the virtual school, students will take all of their classes online and have a learning coach make sure they complete their assignments. A parent could be certified, for instance, to be the learning coach. The student can work anytime of day, and some might never see their teachers in person. Greenfield Superintendent Susan Hollins said a small fraction of students find the size and fixed structure of traditional schools unworkable for them, adding: “I’m delighted to spearhead something that opens doors and provides another opportunity for children and parents.” Greenfield officials believe 10,000 to 20,000 students in Massachusetts could benefit from a virtual school, but the school is limited to 500. Greenfield has been working on opening a virtual school for 18 months. Provisions of the state’s education overhaul law, passed this year, allowed for virtual schools. But Greenfield faced a roadblock in the state’s requirement that 25 percent of the students live in the district operating the virtual school, and 10 percent if the school is intended to serve a target population. The state granted Greenfield an exemption Aug. 13 to those rates and requires only 2 percent instead…

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Massachusetts panel wants to set limits on virtual public schools

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, apprehensive about a new state law that allows public schools to operate almost entirely in cyberspace, will consider imposing limits on the growth of these virtual schools, much to the dismay of supporters, reports the Boston Globe. The goal of the proposed regulations is to allow some experimentation in Massachusetts with these kinds of schools, while not allowing them to grow unfettered without knowing what works and what doesn’t, said Jeff Wulfson, an associate education commissioner. Among the proposed limits: capping enrollment at each virtual school at 500 students and requiring at least 25 percent of those students to reside in the school district that is operating the virtual school. “We’re trying to find the right balance,” Wulfson said. But some virtual-school advocates say the proposed regulations go too far in controlling growth, crippling the ability of most districts across the state to open these schools…

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