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Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual Schools

Frequently Asked Questions


FAQ for Parents and Students

What is a Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School (CMVS)? Is it a public school?
A Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School (CMVS) is a public school operated by a board of trustees where teachers primarily teach from a remote location using the Internet or other computer-based methods and students are not required to be located at the physical premises of the school. Each CMVS determines what grade levels it will serve and what particular programs it will offer. Below is a list of Massachusetts virtual schools:
Who can attend a CMVS?
Any student in the state can apply for admission to a CMVS. If more students apply to a CMVS than there is space available, the school will hold a lottery to determine which students will be admitted. Once a student is admitted to a CMVS, he or she is entitled to attend in subsequent years without reapplying. For information about a particular CMVS, or to apply for admission, contact the school directly.
How can I determine if a CMVS is right for my child?
The resources below will help you determine whether your child is prepared to thrive in an online program. (Disclaimer: Reference in this list to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)
Does Massachusetts provide accreditation for private virtual schools?
No, Massachusetts does not currently have a process for accrediting private virtual schools.
What do I need to do if I want to enroll my child in a virtual private school?
If the private virtual school is based in a town in Massachusetts, the law requires that the committee of that town approve the school.

If you wish to enroll your child in a private virtual school that is not based in Massachusetts, state law would treat your child as a homeschooled student. In that case, you would need to have your educational plan reviewed and approved by the school district in which you reside. You can find contact information for all of the school districts in the Commonwealth using the Department's School/District Profiles Tool.

Can my child play high school sports for his/her hometown team?
Most high school sports programs in the state belong to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA). For a virtual school student to play for his or her hometown high school team, they must follow a waiver process established by the MIAA: (1) The student should first speak to the principal of the public high school in the community s/he resides to seek agreement from the principal to participate. (2) If the principal is in agreement with the student participating, the principal must request a waiver of MIAA Rule 52 (MIAA White Book of forms, page 14). (3) A letter of agreement must be signed by both the student's virtual school principal and high school principal in the town of residence (MIAA White Book of forms, page 15) and included with the waiver request.
Will my child be eligible to play sports at a Division I or Division II college or university upon graduation?
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a private organization, requires all prospective student-athletes to complete appropriate course work in order to qualify for NCAA programs. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the virtual school prior to enrolling their child to determine whether the school's high school courses meet NCAA core-course criteria. For more information, visit the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Last Updated: May 24, 2016
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