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For Immediate Release
Friday, December 6, 2013
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

Public Hearing Scheduled on One Commonwealth Virtual School Application

MALDEN - The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced today that it has scheduled a public hearing to invite community members to comment on this year's lone Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School final application.

The founding group that submitted a final application to open a new Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School is undergoing a rigorous review process over the coming months. The public hearing represents an opportunity for interested parties to provide feedback on the finalist. At least one member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will attend the hearing and report back to the full Board on the public testimony provided at each hearing.

The public hearing will take place at the following location:

Monday, December 16, 2013 (3:00 to 4:30 p.m.)

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden

Parties who are unable to attend the hearing in person and wish to provide comment may do so through Google Hangout. Interested parties should contact the Department's Office of Digital Learning using on Google (+). Users must have an email address, create a free account, connect with, download the Google (+) plug-in, and ensure that they have the technology necessary to participate in a video call for the public hearing. To exercise this option, interested parties must contact the Office of Digital Learning at no later than Friday, December 13, 2013 and provide the following information: full name, email address, and position taken on the proposed application (for/against). Parties will receive an invitation from Google (+) ODL ESE approximately five minutes prior to the start of the public hearing.

In addition to the hearings, members of the public can submit written comments through Monday, January 6, 2014, to: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, c/o Office of Digital Learning, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148 or by email to

The final application process includes a rigorous review of the written final application by a review team, an interview of the applicant group, a public hearing, and a review of public comments submitted to the Department. Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester will then review all of the materials and make final recommendations to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for consideration and vote at its February 2014 meeting.

The Department received six Letters of Intent from potential applicants for new virtual schools to open for the 2014-15 school year. But only one of those founding groups submitted a final application by the November 4, 2013 deadline.

The one proposed virtual school that submitted a final application is:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School: Massachusetts Connections Academy of Learning Excellence @ TEC Commonwealth Virtual School

District or Collaborative: The Education Cooperative

Opening Year: 2014-15

Grades: K-12

Proposed Maximum Enrollment: 1,500, expanding to 6,000 by the fifth year

Chapter 379 of the Acts of 2012, "An Act Establishing Commonwealth Virtual Schools," allows the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to grant certificates to operate a virtual school. The law states that the Board shall grant not more than three Commonwealth virtual school certificates for the 2013-2016 school years. One virtual school, the Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, is currently operating in Massachusetts.

For more on virtual schools, go to

Last Updated: December 6, 2013
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