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Greenfield School Committee Supports Virtual Academy

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The Greenfield School Committee voted Thursday night to create a proposal for a new virtual academy.

The vote came after the committee rescinded their February vote to not submit a proposal to the state for a virtual school.

The town currently operates the Massachusetts Virtual Academy, but that will shut down on June 30th because of a new state law. The law changed how the state regulates virtual schools to now require more oversight from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The proposal is due by April 22nd. The town was given an extension to submit their proposal.

The Massachusetts Virtual Academy is not just for Greenfield students there are more than 470 students enrolled from all over the state.

Thursday night, parents and students asked the committee to do what they can to help keep a virtual school in operation.

“We’ve spoke to the governor. We’ve talked to senators, our legislators. I mean just to let them know,” said Sheila Rose, parent.

The vote to create the proposal comes after several school committee members had a change of heart. The committee learned the new law does allow them to have some local control over the school.

“It’s about the kids now. It’s not about government and politics. It’s about the kids,” said Doris Doyle, School Committee Member.

The virtual academy helps students with learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety or who are even accelerated learners.

The School Committee will have to vote one last time on the proposal before it gets submitted. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is expected to review the applications and award certificates by June.

“We thought after June 30th we were done, but after the last few meetings we are very very hopeful,” said Rose.