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Virtual School

Two familiar faces join Virtual Academy at Greenfield board

GREENFIELD — Two familiar faces from Greenfield schools will serve on the board of the Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School.

Two former Greenfield school committee members, John Lunt and Daryl Essensa, have been appointed to serve on the seven-member board. Lunt served as the chairman of the Greenfield School Committee until he resigned this spring.

They join Chairman Ed Berlin, Chris Joseph, Mike Phillips, Paul Bassett and Christina Powell on the board that will guide academic, finance and technology policy for the 1-year-old virtual school.

Meanwhile, the school is moving steadily along toward its enrollment goal of 850 students. The school has 610 students enrolled at this time, according to Carl Tillona, executive director.

The virtual academy is the first diploma-granting virtual school in Massachusetts.

The school uses the Internet to teach about 500 students across the state who, for a variety of reasons, cannot attend brick-and-mortar schools.

The school had been part of the Greenfield School Department for three years.

It first opened its doors as a fully independent school in July 2013 and had operated under a contract for superintendent services with Greenfield Public Schools until this April, when the school became fully independent.

While the virtual school is independent from Greenfield schools, some small connections remain, such as the requirement that the virtual school needs a certain number of Greenfield residents, about 2 percent of its student population. Greenfield students also can attend the school for free and take virtual classes in their brick-and-mortar schools.

The school is also planning to collaborate with Greenfield Superintendent Jordana Harper to discuss ways Greenfield students can be successful, Tillona said.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268 On Twitter, follow @RecorderKatMcK

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