Virtual school looks to expand enrollment
The new space at 278 Main Street in Greenfield separates the classroom areas from the administrative areas. This space allows up to six students and a teacher to work together without outside distraction.
Two desks in a classroom at 278 Main Street.
The Massachusetts Vitual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School now resides at 278 Main Street in Suite 205.
Virtual School Principal CarlTillona PF-GR-011113
Ed Berlin, chairman of the Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School board of trustees.. Recorder/Paul Franz
GREENFIELD — With a new downtown space and independence from the Greenfield School Department, the town’s public virtual school is ready to grow and will look to enroll about 850 students next year.
The Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield uses the Internet to teach about 500 students across the state who, for a variety of reasons, cannot attend brick-and-mortar schools. Board of trustees Chairman Ed Berlin said he believes the school will be able to bring on an additional 350 students by September.
Interest in the school continues to grow, said Berlin, and the school will step up its local marketing efforts over the next few months.
The school had been part of the Greenfield School Department for three years before it became its own school last July. The department continued to perform administrative services for the virtual school, on a contracted basis, but that relationship ended on April 1.
The virtual school’s Executive Director Carl Tillona said he has hired a special education case manager. The school will also pay business services contractor The Management Solution $24,900 for a three-month contract. The company will help the virtual school build its budget for next year.
Tillona is excited about the school’s new 3,000-square-foot space at 278 Main St. The second-floor suite includes a conference room, staff offices and two computer classrooms where teachers will work, meet with students and proctor standardized testing.
“We’re an individual public school and I think this space helps to fill that vision,” said Tillona, who said his school is growing in size and continuing to improve academically.
Berlin, too, is pleased with the direction the school is going in.
“(Tillona is) really working hard to create a school with its own identity, its own mission (and) focus,” he said.
The virtual school will continue contracting with education company K12, which provides teachers, program administrators, online learning tools and physical course materials. Tillona oversees all staff, with the exception of Head Program Administrator Ryan Clepper.
The school wants to continue collaborating with the local public school department. Greenfield students can attend the school for free and take virtual classes in their brick-and-mortar schools.
Its ability to grow depends on the number of local enrollees. In a school with 850 students, 17 need to live in Greenfield, although brick-and-mortar students who take virtual classes can now count toward that total.
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