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Virtual School

Cyber school updates

Subcommittee picking board finalists; hearing on Greenfield plan tonight

GREENFIELD — A subcommittee will select finalists for Greenfield’s new cyber school’s board of trustees on Thursday.

The school department’s proposal to transition its 3-year-old virtual innovation school into a state-authorized virtual school is being reviewed by state officials this month and next, ahead of a state vote at the end of June.

But part of Greenfield’s proposal includes identifying the five members who will sit on the board of trustees — the entity that will autonomously run the school starting July 1.

School Committee Chairman John Lunt said that 15 individuals have expressed interest in the trustee positions. The innovation subcommittee will select seven to eight finalists Thursday for the full committee to interview at its May 16 meeting.

Once the finalists are selected, they’ll be asked to submit resumes and letters of intent, said Lunt. The full committee will choose five trustees at its meeting.

A majority of the trustees must be Greenfield residents, according to the school department’s proposal. At least one must have a financial background and one must be a parent.

The trustees will each be paid $200 a meeting, not to exceed $2,400 for a whole year or $1,200 for a half year, according to the proposal.

The innovation subcommittee — consisting of Mayor William Martin, Doris Doyle and Lunt — met for about 90 minutes in executive session last week to discuss potential candidates, said Lunt.

The subcommittee will meet Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the Davis Street administrative offices. There will likely be another executive session discussion before the subcommittee returns to open session to vote on the finalists, said Lunt.

State public hearing tonight

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will host a public hearing in Malden today at 4 p.m. to discuss Greenfield’s virtual school application.

Spokesman JC Considine said the hearing will be similar to ones the state has organized for charter school applications. Anyone is invited to speak for up to three minutes about their thoughts on Greenfield’s proposal.

At least one member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will attend the hearing and report back to the full board. Written comments can also be submitted through Monday, May 20, by emailing odl@doe.mass.edu.

No one from the Greenfield School Department is required to attend, although Lunt said that Superintendent Susan Hollins will be present.

The state will interview Greenfield officials, and the new trustees, during the last week in May.

At a meeting last month, the Greenfield School Committee approved the virtual school proposal 5-2, with members Maryelen Calderwood and Francia Wisnewski casting the dissenting votes.

The Massachusetts Virtual Academy, the state’s first and only cyber school, uses the Internet to teach about 470 students. A dozen local children attend for free.

The new state-authorized virtual school could teach as many as 750 students next year and as many as 1,750 in five years.

The entire proposal can be read online at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/odl/cmvs/app-process.html

You can reach Chris Shores at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264

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