As we approach the end of the year, I have been reflecting on all that has happened this year and the successes we have achieved. On the top of the list is our reinventing ourselves as a school in order to better meet the needs of our students. Last year at this time, the Board of Trustees made a decision to leave the company that was providing an all-in-one curriculum and learning management system. The reason for doing this was two-fold. First, we discovered that the curriculum was not well aligned to the Massachusetts’ Curriculum Frameworks. Secondly, it became cost-prohibitive to continue down this path.
The result was the need to reinvent what we were doing. We migrated to using Canvas as our Learning Management System and curated curriculum content primarily from EngageNY for grades K-5 and Florida Virtual School for grades 6-12. Both of these curriculum resources were able to demonstrate a much closer alignment to the Massachusetts frameworks. Our teachers worked countless hours last summer pulling these resources, along with other supplemental programs, together to ensure that our students received the curriculum needed for success. Zoom was brought in for live lessons, which enabled students to be able to see one another and use video, voice, and chat to communicate with their teachers and classmates.
The transition was a bit rocky at first, which was to be expected, but we got onto smooth footing thanks to our administration, faculty, staff, providers, and our families working to resolve issues together. I am forever grateful to all of you for your hard work and persistence to make this work. In the midst of all this activity, we changed our name to reflect our new direction.
The Board of Trustees also voted to change the school’s mission, reflecting what it is that we are working to fully become. The new mission statement reads:
The Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, a public school of choice, is a pioneer of personalized learning that serves students from across Massachusetts who need a learning community that is accessible and flexible.
We empower our educators to harness technology by tailoring learning experiences to each student’s strengths, interests, and challenges. We enable our students and their families to have choices in what, how, when, and where they learn; while ensuring mastery of competencies embedded in a rigorous curriculum framework.
Along with that mission, the Board also adopted a new Accountability Plan. It contains three goals:
- Ensure that the GCVS written and enacted curriculum align to the standards of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education curriculum frameworks.
- Develop a comprehensive assessment system and analysis protocols designed to measure and improve competencies in relation to the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks, to be measured by increases in the percentage of students meeting/exceeding expectations on MCAS, and by closing gaps between the school’s average and the state’s average in all subgroups.
- Increase faculty & staff/student/family/community engagement in the life of the school through personalized learning and activities designed to increase input into the school.
This plan was established to go through the end of the 2019 school year, as it is the year in which an application for renewal of the school’s certificate to operate will be considered by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
You can view a full copy of the Accountability Plan here. accountability plan_approved_2017-19_ESE_APPROVED
Families will soon be given a link to complete and give feedback on this plan and our direction for the future. Be on the lookout for a link!
In closing, I want to thank all of you for your flexibility and persistence as we journeyed together through these major changes. This was a full school community effort and I can’t be more proud of the work we have done together. GCVS has a bright future ahead!
Regards, Dr. Judith Houle, Executive Director