Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Greenfield Virtual Commonwealth

Chester: two virtual schools up and running
point at which you have to renew Greenfield's certification
were anticipated as being created as innovations under their communities
quickly became clear that these would become statewide schools being governed by a local school committee
now Board issues a certificate to a non-profit that runs the school
gave Greenfield "their own runway"
"when we look at Greenfield's performance, it's less than stellar. It's mediocre"
rely on vendor to make a go of it
"not clear they could make a go of it without that back engine"
Greenfield using K12...TECA using MediaConnections
neither has a great track record anywhere in the nation
part of what Greenfield is looking at is if they'll continue to use K12
interesting policy question is if the current regulatory structure will allow for a viable virtual school short of them contracting with one of these engines
"I'm comfortable pulling the plug on this; it's still new"
there are kids who won't be able to go back
explore options around regulatory
Sagan: whenever we close a school, we hear that and it's challenging
virtual school "but not virtual kids"
Chuang: there is data that supports these kids are different
very very high on 504 plans
considerable high churn, intake, and stability rate
Sagan: asks what is going on with the kids
Chuang: only have two years of data
revisit will be after the next two years
Sagan: we really want to know, is it helping
Chuang: have to get the data to inform these discussions
Willyard: are we looking at a school ...where the low academic performance is because of the students they are taking (Sagan interrupts "or their circumstances")
Willyard: don't show up anywhere to take tests
Chuang: entirely online
there is a home office and their staff meets there, but students don't attend school in that building
Stewart: have you gone through vendor options?
Chester: we have had that discussion
one option would be for a single statewide virtual school "because it does look like this is relevant to a small number" of students
Moriarty: love seeing the Greenfield aspect, hate seeing the mediocrity
resource to the homeschooling community?
DESE; survey parents on reason for enrollment; about 20% coming from homeschool
as kids age into middle school years
Peyser: new requirement that they have to enrollment 5% of their students from Greenfield
Chuang; what is the purpose of the 5% in the statute?
would be some concern if they have to reduce the number of students that they have
Peyser: if they don't enroll any more Greenfield students, they have to cut their enrollment in half!
Chuang: they haven't violated anything as of yet
Noyce: obviously if this were any other school, we would not vote to continue it
their absolute scores are dismal, their growth is dismal
if that's because the children are in the hospital getting chemotherapy all day, that's understandable
we don't have enough information
"what is the best going on out there in the world around virtual schools"
need to ask "are these kids being better served than they are somewhere else?"
if they've never seen the child, how can they make an assessment of that
question if they can wait...Chuang "This is about as late as we can possibly go"
certificate of no less than three years, but can impose conditions within the renewal
Sagan: I think we all support this, but support it with some reservations
McKenna: there's a second virtual school
Sagan: they're not up yet
Chuang: their performance hasn't changed the conversation (regarding performance)
unanimous vote "with reluctance" to renew

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