Online high schools in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has long-term goals of increasing the use of technology in its public schools, along with improving academic performance. The Commonwealth's plan is to foster technological literacy in students and to provide a high-capacity, Internet-connected computer for every student by 2015.
A diploma could be important for competing in the local economy: The U.S. Census reports that, as of 2010, 88 percent of residents aged 25 or older had completed high school, a number surpassing the national average of about 85 percent. Massachusetts is currently home to 296 public high schools and 72 charter public schools. Education is a priority here -- the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or DESE, calculates that among the high school students who registered for 2009-2010, only 2.9 percent dropped out.
Public and private Massachusetts online high schools
Many of the school districts in Massachusetts participate in the Virtual High School network, a 14-year-old online, non-profit consortium that serves up online classes, even to students in other states and countries. Districts pay for the classes, which include AP subjects as well as credit recovery classes for those who have fallen behind. Students from participating districts can enroll in up to three virtual classes per semester, and home schooled students may also be eligible, although fees may apply. The courses generally follow a predetermined schedule, with due dates for assignments.
As of 2011, the Commonwealth does not provide a full-time, diploma-granting virtual high school program. However, parents and students looking for online high schools in Massachusetts can choose among several private options, which may offer open enrollment and flexible scheduling. Tuition-based online schools strive for student-centered classes to encourage flexibility and collaboration. Asynchronous classes are typically available on a 24/7 basis.