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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Application for a New Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
January 17, 2014

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Chapter 379 of the Acts of 2012, "An Act Establishing Commonwealth Virtual Schools" (Act) authorizes the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (Board) to grant certificates to operate virtual schools. The law states that the Board shall select not more than three Commonwealth virtual schools for the 2013-2016 school years.

In August 2013, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) received six letters of intent for new Commonwealth of Massachusetts virtual schools (CMVS). In November 2013, we received only one application, indicated in the following table. An executive summary of the proposal, written by the applicant, is attached for your review.

Proposed Name of CMVSDistrict or CollaborativeOpening YearGradesProposed Maximum Enrollment
TEC Connections Academy Commonwealth Virtual SchoolThe Education Cooperative2014-2015K-121,500, expanding to 6,000 by the fifth year

Attached you also will find a detailed description of the application review process for virtual schools. Briefly, the application review process includes the following components:

  • Public comment. During the application process, a public hearing was held in Malden on December 16, 2013. Board Chair Maura Banta and member David Roach attended the hearing. Written comments were accepted from members of the public through January 6, 2014. (Prior to the February 2014 meeting, we will send Board members the written comments.)
  • Review panel. A review panel, which included both internal and external reviewers, discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the application and identified areas where clarification from the applicant was needed. This process helped to generate questions for the interview phase.
  • Review of Learning Management System (LMS) - The Department examined features of the applicant's LMS that will enhance learning, communication, and efficiency, as well as its overall performance, security, data-handling, interoperability, and accessibility.
  • Interview. On January 8, 2014, the Department conducted a final interview with the applicant group.

I will forward to the Board, prior to its February meeting, my recommendation regarding the possible award of a certificate for a new virtual school. In the meantime, if you have any questions on the pending application or the review process, please contact Cliff Chuang, Associate Commissioner, at 781-338-3222; Luis Rodriguez, at 781-338-3247; or me.

Enclosures:

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
TECCA Executive Summary
Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Virtual Schools Application Review Process


Last Updated: January 24, 2014
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