GREENFIELD - Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School (GCVS) is seeing more and more students in their online “hallways.” GCVS, Massachusetts’ first K-12 online learning public school system, has seen enrollment increase to 689 in grades K-12 as of October 1, 2019, from 570 students last year.
“Education isn’t a one size fits all proposition, and we’re happy we’re able to help more students than we ever have before,” said Dr. Salah Khelfaoui, GCVS’s executive director. “Last year, we built up our live classrooms and laid the groundwork for new programs that can educate a wider variety of learners. This fall, our students have more options that fit the way they learn and succeed.”
GCVS is a public school of choice, so any Massachusetts student can enroll for free, with children coming from a wide variety of backgrounds and from all across Massachusetts, helping to create an engaging educational environment. Dr. Khelfaoui said the school has seen great success with online live-classroom programs, where students spend part of their time working with teachers and classmates in scheduled video conferencing classes. They continue their learning independently with online tools, videos, lessons, and homework delivered through a robust online platform.
A new program, known as “GCVS Flex”, gives middle and high school students an “asynchronous option” where they can learn and study when and where is best for them, without attending live online lessons. Students can enroll in this program full-time and take all of their classes through this program, or supplement the live lesson school with classes that may only be available through GCVS Flex, including languages such as German and Chinese, AP classes, and more.
“Massachusetts offers the best public school education in the country, and we’re building on that to increase opportunities to our students,” said Greg Runyan, GCVS principal and director of teaching and learning. “GCVS Flex students are getting better, more flexible access to a wider variety of coursework while still maintaining the quality of education.”
In addition to GCVS Flex, the school has partnered with Greenfield Community College (GCC) to offer the state’s first fully online dual enrollment program. Where traditional brick-and-mortar dual enrollment programs can sometimes incur fees and travel to and from college campuses, the GCVS/GCC dual enrollment is entirely online and there is no cost to families or students. This is ideal for students who may not have easy access to a local program. Students earn college credit while in high school, and motivated students have the potential to earn an associate’s degree while still in high school.
Khelfaoui said: “The dual enrollment partnership between GCVS and GCC is all about increasing opportunity, a mission that is near and dear to both of our schools. It helps lower the cost of a college education by earning credits while in high school, and the online nature of it makes it accessible to every student in the state.”
The Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, the state’s first online public school of choice, serves students from across Massachusetts who need a learning community that is accessible and flexible. GCVS gives students and their families choices in what, how, when, and where they learn. GCVS redefine and change how students and teachers engage through innovative technology, while ensuring mastery of competencies embedded in a rigorous curriculum. To learn more, visit www.gcvs.org