MVLRI’s research provides a foundation to examine, engage and explore educational practices in the industry.

MVLRI is dedicated to taking education techniques to the next level. We believe that with proper research, the ways we learn can continue to evolve to strengthen our futures.

Understanding Inequity in Michigan K-12 Online Education

Since legislation passed in the late 2000s requiring online experiences for Michigan K-12 students and establishing online charter schools, enrollment in online courses in Michigan has steadily increased. Depending on their race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, and special education status, students had markedly different outcomes in their online courses. This report is intended to understand K-12 online education from an equity perspective, and more thoroughly, to understand if all Michigan K-12 students are receiving equitable education online.

Educators’ Perceptions of Online SEL Professional Learning Courses

This study assesses educators’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the social-emotional learning (SEL) professional development courses they’ve completed online. Through a survey of 702 educators who completed at least one SEL professional learning course with Michigan Virtual in 2021, this report provides insights into what works well for educators in learning about SEL through online formats, what educators think about their own SEL competencies after completing online SEL training, and educators’ recommendations on how to adapt online SEL professional learning courses to make them more relevant and applicable to their work.

Programs, Pathways, and Proficiency Scales Anchor Student-Centered Learning at Berrien Springs Public Schools

Driven by their commitment to what they call “The Shamrock Way,” Berrien Springs Public Schools (BSPS) offers personalized learning opportunities where students can learn and grow in a caring environment. They are also committed to personalizing professional development for teachers so that they can experience personalized learning for themselves. This case study explores how through a variety of programs, pathways, and virtual learning options as well as a willingness to meet students where they are and a dedicated effort to encourage students to take ownership of their learning and develop agency, BSPS is making learning student-centered.

Recruitment and Retention of Online Teachers

Demand for online education has been on the rise for years and will only continue to increase, but will there be enough professionals willing to teach online given the broader declines in teacher recruitment and retention? What keeps online teachers from staying in their jobs? What keeps people from becoming online teachers in the first place? And what has been done and can be done to address these concerns? This study examines the recruitment and retention of online teachers with an eye toward effective practices in averting a shortage of online teachers.

Through Community and Culture, Oxford Community Schools Makes Learning Student-Centered

Driven by a culture of sustained improvement, support from the community, and a shared vision for student success (their Portrait of a Graduate), Oxford Community Schools is making learning student-centered. This case study details how through their K-12 International Baccalaureate program, well-developed career and technical education program, early college program that empowers students to take ownership of their education, and virtual academy that is customized to meet the needs of individual students, Oxford meets students at their point of need.

Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report, 2020-21

Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by public schools to MDE or CEPI, this report highlights 2020-21 enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact of virtual courses on K-12 pupils. Detailed findings are presented in sections on schools, courses, and students, as well as over 80 data tables.

Empowering Teachers and Capturing Kids’ Hearts®: The Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium, and Keweenaw’s Journey Toward Student-Centered Learning

This case study explores the motivations behind The Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium, and Keweenaw’s shift towards making learning more student-centered. They are breaking the mold of traditional grade levels, spurring creativity and cross-curricular connections with makerspaces, personalizing learning with a multitude of programs and pathways, taking a “student first” approach, and meeting the diverse needs of students and their families. As a school district, they have made some intentional decisions, stepped outside of their comfort zone, harnessed their professional learning, and ultimately capitalized upon the constant state of change in education resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, realizing that they can’t afford to—and don’t want to—return to “normal.”

A Vision of Digital Learning in Michigan K-12 Schools

Schools and districts throughout Michigan continue to adopt educational technologies for the purposes of increasing student engagement and performance. This MVLRI research study explores how Michigan schools and districts are leveraging digital resources to meet the academic needs of students and their families both now and beyond pandemic learning. Specifically, the study focused on the instructional strategies schools are moving toward, what digital resources are being used, and the myriad factors that are accelerating or hindering the use of digital resources.

Competency-Based Education: A Path Towards Equitable Learning for Michigan Students

As school leaders across the nation are seeking to provide equitable learning opportunities for the students they serve, many are looking to design and implement competency-based learning models in their schools. While the process of shifting from a traditional education model to one that is competency-based can be challenging, school leaders are motivated by the model’s promise of equity and greater relevance for students and an increase in engagement and performance for all students.

Online Program Toolkit

The purpose of this document is to help you create and/or maintain a quality online learning program that fits the needs of your students, no matter where you are on this journey. Much of what is covered in this toolkit reflects best practices found in the National Online Standards (NSQ), which were developed by experts from across the country.

We have designed this toolkit with the intention of being brief, and to provide questions and actionable steps to help you support your students in online learning.

Key Strategies for Supporting Teachers in Virtual Learning Environments

The strategies for supporting virtual teachers discussed in this report are based on the current practices shared by 1,809 virtual educators (1,721 teachers and 88 supervising administrators) representing 17 statewide virtual schools or programs with a combined 150 years of online and blended learning experience and more than a quarter of a million virtual course enrollments annually. The expertise of these individuals is provided as a way to help school leaders of both traditional and nontraditional schools and districts that have teachers and school leaders who are developing their skills and abilities as virtual educators.

“It’s Just Too Much”: Meeting the Social and Emotional Needs of Michigan Educators

This study assesses the SEL resources and supports that have been used to help Michigan teachers and administrators. Through an online survey of teachers and educators across Michigan, we examined what district and schoolwide resources have been leveraged, and what strategies teachers and administrators have used to help themselves, which ultimately benefits students, families, and communities. Additionally, attention was paid to the perceived effectiveness of these resources and strategies and challenges associated with their implementation. By understanding Michigan K-12 educators’ well-being and their SEL needs, we hope that teachers and administrators can find ways to meet their SEL needs and maintain a positive well-being, which will ultimately make their jobs more satisfying and fulfilling.

Student-Centered Learning In Michigan K-12 Schools: Factors that Impact Successful Implementation

While the more traditional teacher-centered model of education does work for some students, it does not work for all. By connecting with district administrators, school administrators, and teachers through both a survey and interviews, this study aimed to capture the ways in which some Michigan K-12 schools are implementing student-centered learning practices along with the factors that impact the successful implementation of such practices. It is our hope that the effective practices, guidance, and advice gleaned from the many innovative educators who so generously gave their time to participate in this study will help other school and district personnel overcome their own barriers to successful implementation of a more student-centered approach to learning.

Key Strategies for Engaging Students in Virtual Learning Environments

The student engagement and relationship-building strategies discussed in this report are based on the current practices provided by the 1,721 virtual teachers participating in this study. These individuals currently work within the school structures of 17 statewide virtual schools or programs, in which providing virtual education to students is their primary focus. The expertise of these individuals is provided as a way to aid teachers and administrators of both traditional and nontraditional schools and districts that have teachers and school leaders who are developing their skills and abilities as virtual educators.

Guide to Virtual Course Implementation: Under Section 21f of the State School Aid Act

Student access to any time and any place learning options has expanded under a new law in Michigan. Section 21f of Public Act 60 of 2013 allows students in grades 5 through 12 to take up to two courses online per academic term (with parental consent). Michigan is the seventh state in the U.S. to enable statewide choice at the course level through online learning options.

Michigan’s K-12 Virtual Learning Effectiveness Report, 2019-20

Based on pupil completion and performance data reported by public schools to MDE or CEPI, this report highlights 2019-20 enrollment totals, completion rates, and the overall impact of virtual courses on K-12 pupils. Detailed findings are presented in sections on schools, courses, and students, as well as over 50 data tables at the end of the report.

Guide for Online Course Review Process

For each online course a providing district makes available either through its own district catalog of online courses or the statewide catalog of online courses, the results from a review using the International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s (iNACOL) National Standards for Quality Online Course Standards, Version 23 must be included in the online course syllabus.

Learning Continuity in Michigan: Plans and Perceptions From Spring 2020 Emergency Remote Instruction

With the COVID-19 related school closures in spring 2020 and the need to modify learning models for the start of the 2020-21 school year, Michigan schools were pushed to adopt remote instruction and student support. This research study seeks to understand the learning continuity plans formulated by districts, as well as teacher, parent, and student perceptions of how these plans were executed.

Committing to Quality Online Learning

As an increasing number of schools and districts throughout the state of Michigan are including an online learning format in their academic programs, there is a related and growing need to ensure students are receiving the highest quality education in this format. Having a set of nationally-recognized “standards of quality” for schools and districts will help school leaders plan for the development of high-quality online courses, instructional practices, and school- or district-wide programs.

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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.