Mass Educators Look to Online Learning to Aid Budget Crisis

The Massachusetts budget crisis is causing middle and high schools to cut courses. To bridge the gap, a growing number of schools are considering supplementing with online learning.

Maynard, MA, February 22, 2009 --( Last Wednesday in Maynard, secondary school educators and district Superintendents from throughout the Bay State gathered to discuss how online learning can address resource constraints caused by the Mass budget crisis. Hosted by Virtual High School (, educators expressed concern over how to deal with having to eliminate programs, classes and more, and learned about how online learning, as provided by Virtual High School (VHS), can supply schools and students with courses they may no longer have access to.

On Jan. 28, Gov. Deval Patrick released his proposed budget, which called for significant cuts in public higher education, local aid, preK-12 education and many other programs. Since then, many middle and high schools throughout the Bay State have been grappling with how to continue to provide curriculum, and more importantly, curriculum that will sufficiently prepare students for their next level of education and their future careers.

VHS is a non-profit collaborative consisting of schools, teachers and students that partners with schools and school districts to supplement in-person courses with online courses. Presently, 155 middle and high school in Massachusetts participate in VHS, as well as schools in 30 other states and 34 countries. The average school pays an annual membership fee that affords them 25 student seats per semester that can be used for any of VHS’s over 240 core, Advanced Placement (AP) and elective NetCourses.

For many districts, like Burlington School District, it’s not just about bridging the budget gap.

“There is no reason not to do this (participate in VHS). VHS has allowed us to resolve scheduling conflicts, making up for not running a course due to low enrollment and as a summer school option,” said Dr. Eric Conti, Superintendent of the Burlington School District.

In addition to educators, seniors from Maynard High School attended to discuss their online learning experiences.

Kaleigh Mangiarelli who has taken Poetry Reading and Writing online was originally concerned about not being able to “talk” to other students. She has been pleasantly surprised by how similar online classes are to in-person classes. “I have two people from Hong Kong in my class. In addition to the online platform, we often meet via Instant Messaging (IM) and Facebook.”

Michael LaCure who is presently enrolled in VHS’s Criminology course, which he plans to major in, in college, cited the value of open discussions. “The majority of my classmates are in other states and it’s neat to learn about laws in their state. For example, South Dakota has a strange law having to do with lollipops.” In addition, Michael was pleased to learn that someone in his class will be attending the same small college in Wisconsin that he’ll be attending in the Fall.

VHS is presently accepting new member schools for the 2009 -2010 school year. For more information, visit


About Virtual High School Global Consortium (VHS)
Virtual High School Global Consortium is the pioneer of online course design and instruction for teachers and online education for high and middle school students. VHS partners with schools to provide rigorous, student-centered online courses that help expand vs. replace existing curriculum options. Members of the VHS collaborative include over 11,000 enrolled students per year, 593 active member schools and 310 teachers in 30 states and 34 countries. The recipient of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) 2005 and 2007 awards for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices and the Stockholm Challenge 2001 Award for exemplary use of technology in education, VHS was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Maynard, Massachusetts. For more information, visit or call (978) 897-1900.
Virtual High School Global Consortium (VHS)
Carol Arnold
877-718-4604 x2