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Michigan Virtual Charter Academy Approved by Grand Valley State University to Serve Students in Grades K-12 Statewide
Apr 30, 2010 (05:04 PM EDT)

Innovative new school would be Michigan's first public virtual charter school

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michigan Virtual Charter Academy (MVCA) announced today that it received unanimous approval from Grand Valley State University's Board of Trustees to serve students across the state beginning next school year.

MVCA would be Michigan's first public virtual charter school.  The school plans to serve 400 students in grades K-8 in its first year.  In subsequent years, it would expand to serve up to 1,000 students from kindergarten through high school with an emphasis on students who have dropped out of school.  

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) is a well-regarded authorizer of public charter schools in Michigan.  GVSU began authorizing charter schools in 1995 and now charters 28 schools and 3 urban high school academies serving over 17,800 students.  

MVCA intends to use curriculum, technology and school services provided by K12 Inc., the nation's largest provider of high quality online school programs and proprietary curriculum for students in kindergarten through high school.  In partnership with school districts and public charter schools, K12 operates online public schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia.  Since K12 was founded in 2000, it has provided over 1.5 million courses to more than 150,000 students in the U.S. and worldwide.

MVCA is governed by an independent, non-profit board of directors.  The President of the MVCA Board of Directors is Dr. Linda Marlow, a resident of Michigan and retired school teacher with more than 25 years of experience in education.  

"The MVCA Board is excited about the opportunity to serve Michigan's students and families," said Dr. Marlow.  "We're grateful to the Grand Valley State University Board of Trustees for their approval and to the university's charter school office for their guidance and professionalism.  Through our partnership with K12, our school will use high quality curriculum and excellent teachers, and will model the best practices and highest standards in online learning.  We are confident that our school will increase opportunities and achievement for students, and provide an excellent educational experience that is high quality and accountable."

According to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), online learning is one of the fastest growing segments in education, and every year more states are providing public virtual charter school opportunities for students.  Michigan is the latest state to embrace public virtual charter schools as part of an education reform package recently signed into law by the Governor to improve student achievement by enhancing technology, innovation, and school performance standards.  

The K12 virtual school program combines an award-winning curriculum – using engaging online lessons and hands-on education materials – with professional teachers, advisors, and state-of-the-art technology that connect students to a vibrant school community. The program is customized for every child.  This gives students the opportunity to receive an individualized education regardless of their geographic location, socio-economic background, or educational need.  

Younger students in MVCA will work with a "learning coach," usually a parent, to help guide them through their lessons, and they will communicate with their teachers and schoolmates through interactive technology.   Teachers will provide instruction, guidance and support, and will communicate with students and parents via phone, email, web-based "e-classrooms," and face-to-face meetings.  Teachers will also organize a variety of school field trips, activities, and events for students and families.  

More than 95 percent of parents are satisfied with the K12 program.  Additionally, K12 has received numerous awards and honors for academic achievement and innovation, and K12 schools regularly outperform other virtual schools on state test results.

SOURCE Michigan Virtual Charter Academy