In Greenfield, Grade School Goes Online

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A child uses a laptop computer. (Todd Hiestand/Flickr)
For some children, this is the new classroom. (Todd Hiestand/Flickr)

It's back-to-school time. Kids with backpacks and new duds are walking to school and lining up at bus stops. But for a small number of students, going to school involves simply turning on a computer at home.

Classes began last week at the Massachusetts Virtual Academy, in the western Massachusetts town of Greenfield. It's the state's first public online school, serving students in grades K-12.

Already Greenfield has received applications for more than 360 students. Several other school districts in the state are considering their own online school options. And they would be in good company — virtual schools are growing in number across the country. At the Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School, there are more than 4,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Would you consider sending your child to a virtual school? Or do you think there are too many non-academic skills that students can and should learn in the social setting of a school?


  • Susan Hollins, Greenfield Public Schools superintendent
  • Jeff Schneider, of Longmeadow, parent of two kids at the at the Virtual Academy in Greenfield
  • State Representative Marty Walz, chair of the Legislature's education committee

This program aired on September 10, 2010.


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