Michigan is known nationwide as a leader in online learning for K-12 education. Since 2004, Michigan Virtual has been helping to build that reputation. Though the nonprofit, which was created in 1998, shifted their attention to K-12 learning, President & CEO Jamey Fitzpatrick recalls pleading with principals and superintendents to help utilized 100 scholarships for online students. Last year, Michigan Virtual enrolled 24,000 students from 500 Michigan schools.
Michigan Virtual has been going along with K-12 online learning. The organization currently employs a staff of 50, and Fitzpatrick expects that number to grow to 70 to 75 by the end of this school year.
“We’re a very fortunate situation in that online learning is really starting to take off,” Fitzpatrick says. “It really is exciting to be a part of this incredible transformation we’re starting to see.”
Fitzpatrick explains the role of Michigan Virtual as that of change agent, service provider and capacity builder for online learning throughout Michigan. As the prevalence of online learning continues to grow in the state, so too will Michigan Virtual’s role.
“The one thing we’re embarking on right now is we’re constantly trying to update our online content, and part of our goal there is to make the online experience fun and enjoyable,” Fitzpatrick says. “We’re constantly looking for partners in the industry to assist us.”
Michigan Virtual currently works with such organizations as the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Michigan Association of Public Accountants to make their curriculum more engaging and relevant.
This article appeared in the Capital Gains online magazine the week of Sept. 19, 2012.
About Michigan Virtual
Michigan Virtual is a private, nonprofit Michigan corporation established by the State of Michigan in 1998 to serve as a champion for online learning. It is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual for Students and Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute.