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Michigan Virtual celebrates 20 years as leader in online learning in Michigan

By Author Profile Photo Michigan Virtual

Lansing, Mich.Michigan Virtual celebrated two decades as one of Michigan’s top providers and thought leaders for online and blended student learning and professional development at a special awards luncheon honoring key supporters, including current and former lawmakers and education leaders. Following the luncheon, the celebration continued at an evening reception at The View at Cooley Law School Stadium, where Mitch Albom broadcasted live from the event and interviewed special guests and panelists exploring education and the future of learning in Michigan.

“It has been an amazing two decades for Michigan Virtual, filled with new technologies, new policies and new possibilities,” said Michigan Virtual President and CEO Jamey Fitzpatrick. “Today’s celebrations pay tribute to the great work we’ve done together for Michigan students and educators. Tomorrow, we continue our work to help better position Michigan students for success in the classroom and beyond.”

“Online learning is part of our educational landscape and we must continue to recognize the importance of giving students the choice to learn any place and at any pace,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “I want to congratulate Michigan Virtual on 20 years of service and for their support of student choice and different ways of learning.”

Michigan Virtual was founded as a nonprofit in 1998 with the support of many education and policy leaders, including then Governor John Engler, and has since become a leader in providing online courses and professional development to students and educators. The organization’s intersection of research, advocacy and course delivery has made them a trusted partner for schools across Michigan.

Michigan Virtual has provided significant statewide leadership in designing and developing new delivery models that leverage the power of the Internet to offer content and knowledge,” said Gov. Engler. “Michigan Virtual has served as a national model for research and innovation in the K-12 space, and they must continue to push the boundaries to help all students succeed in our digital world.”

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) was also instrumental in launching Michigan Virtual to help the state use the latest technology to develop an educated and trained workforce.

“Over the past 20 years, Michigan Virtual has helped more than 250,000 people receive high-quality online instruction they might not otherwise have been able to afford or access through traditional learning programs,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan and former president of the MEDC. “Michigan Virtual positions Michigan to lead in the delivery of high quality education and training at a time when the demand for this has never been greater.”

In 2006, Michigan adopted the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC). This new curriculum was passed to better prepare students for technological changes in an increasingly global society. One component of the MMC was an online learning requirement for students, making Michigan the first in the nation to adopt this type of legislation.

Michigan Virtual has played a key role in helping our state’s K-12 community benefit from innovative online delivery models in education,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm. “They were instrumental in helping my administration and other state policy leaders implement the nation’s first online learning requirement for high school graduation. I would like to offer my sincere congratulations on Michigan Virtual’s 20th anniversary and heartfelt appreciation for their capacity building efforts.”

Michigan Virtual recognized Govs. Snyder, Engler and Granholm, as well as Doug Rothwell and other awardees, at a luncheon on May 15 in Lansing. Awards included the Founders Award, recognizing individuals who played a key role in the formation of Michigan Virtual in 1998; the Ambassador Award, recognizing individuals who have supported and shaped the work of Michigan Virtual throughout the last 20 years; and the Innovator Award, recognizing leaders who have championed innovation in public education in Michigan.

Award winners included:

Founders Award
Honorable John Engler
Dr. James Duderstadt
Mr. Robert Filka
Mr. Doug Rothwell
Honorable Jason Allen
Mr. Mark Murray
Dr. David Spencer
Dr. Tim Quinn

Ambassador Award
Honorable Rick Snyder
Honorable Jennifer Granholm
Honorable Mike Prusi
Ms. Robbie Jameson
Honorable Ron Jelinek
Congressman John Moolenaar
Mr. Michael Flanagan
Honorable Matt Gillard
Honorable George Cushingberry
Mr. John Austin

Innovator Award
Honorable Goeff Hansen
Honorable Hoon-Yung Hopgood
Honorable Phil Pavlov
Honorable Tim Kelly
Honorable Pam Hornberger
Honorable Lee Chatfield
Honorable Daniela Garcia
Honorable Adam Zemke
Mr. Kevin Miller

About Michigan Virtual
Michigan Virtual™ (formally known as Michigan Virtual University®) provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®. Visit us at michiganvirtual.org.

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