Multi-district virtual programs are developed and
maintained by intermediate school districts to serve students from more than
one local district. An example is St. Clair’s Virtual Learning Academy for
students who have dropped out or been expelled from alternative or conventional
St. Clair County high schools. Students
can earn recovery credits in preparation for re-entering a conventional school,
or they can earn their high school diploma directly through the Virtual
Learning Academy. The St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (an
intermediate school district) authorized the academy as a charter school, and
most of the school’s funding comes from the state’s per-pupil foundation
allowance. Courses are provided by MVS. The school enrolled 127
students in the 2009-2010 school year.
Westwood Community School District manages an online
alternative education program that serves any student in Wayne County. The
Westwood Cyber High School is modeled after the “Not School” program developed
in the United Kingdom. Enrollment has ballooned: In the 2008-2009 school year,
the school served 540 students — three times as many as it did the previous
year. The school had a waiting list of 150.
Washtenaw, Livingston and Genesee intermediate school
districts also have countywide multi-district programs. These ISDs all use a
program developed by Widening Advancements for Youth, a newly formed nonprofit
that specializes in “re-engaging” students who have dropped out or are at risk
of dropping out. It uses virtual learning to enable these students to earn a
high school diploma without needing to attend school on a daily basis.
Even though the coordination of these WAY programs is
managed by the ISDs, the state aid for the students who enroll in the programs
is received by the students’ local districts. This mitigates the concern that
individual districts might have about “losing out” on potential state funding
for students who enroll in the WAY program.
A major multi-district virtual program is the Genesee
Network for Education Telecommunications, known as “GenNET.” GenNET,
established in 2001, does not directly supply virtual instruction, but instead
grants access to virtual courses from a host of other providers. The courses were originally available only to
students in the Genesee Intermediate School District, but due to a recent
decision by Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Flanagan,
they are now available to students across the state.
The courses are approved by GenNET and offered by
institutions like Northwestern University, Brigham Young University and the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Other course providers are private companies
like Lincoln Interactive, Aventa Learning and K12 Inc.
GenNET ensures that all of its providers are accredited, and it independently
monitors the instructional quality of each course. Although
the instruction is delivered full-time online, students are often supervised by
teachers at their own schools, and this supervision may include some facilitated
enables it to offer a wider array of programs than MVS. In the 2009-2010 school
year, GenNET carried 900 different courses, whereas MVS provided only about
Although GenNET had about
one-third the course enrollments of MVS, the GenNET program is growing rapidly.
Course enrollments more than doubled from the 2008-2009 to the 2009-2010 school
year, surpassing 4,000.
Funding for GenNET’s services comes primarily from the
districts whose students enroll in the courses. These districts pay the course
fees out of their per-pupil foundation allowances. GenNET also receives funds
from the Genesee Intermediate School District and has received a $165,000 grant
from the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators.66]
 “Frequently Asked Questions” (St. Clair County Regional
Educational Service Agency, 2011), goo.gl/M7rOI
(accessed Jan. 11, 2011).
 More information can be found at: “Virtual Learning
Academy,” (St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency, 2011), goo.gl/9OINT (accessed Jan. 11, 2011).
 “Virtual Learning News” (Virtual Learning Academy of St. Clair County), goo.gl/AdMyM
(accessed Sept. 1, 2010).
 Schultz, “At-Risk Students
Embrace Online Learning at Metro Detroit Cyber School,” The Detroit News, Jan.
20, 2010, goo.gl/awD4O (accessed Jan. 20, 2010);
Lori Higgins, “Cyber High School Program Reaches at-Risk Wayne County Teens,”
Detroit Free Press, April 2, 2010, goo.gl/XK28e
(accessed April 12, 2010).
 “Frequently Asked Questions”
(Widening Advancements for Youth, 2011), http://www.wayprogram.net/way_faqs.php
(accessed Jan. 11, 2011). 2011
 Executive Director Beth Baker, Widening Advancement for Youths,
telephone correspondence with Michael Van Beek, Jan. 10, 2011.
 Thomas Svitkovich and Beverly
Know-Pipes, “GenNET — Academic Options for Schools: A Report to the House
Education Committee” (Genesee Intermediate School District, 2009).
 Thomas Svitkovich, Beverly Knox-Pipes, and Debra Hartman,
“Genesee County’s Seat Time Waiver Briefing” (Genesee Intermediate School
District, 2009), goo.gl/goQAy (accessed Jan. 14,
 For a list of teacher-led online course providers through
GenNET, see: “Teacher-Led Online Course Providers” (Genesee Intermediate School
District, 2010), goo.gl/ncaaH (accessed Jan. 14,
 Superintendent Thomas Svitkovich,
Genesee Intermediate School District and Beverly Knox-Pipes, Assistant
Superintendent, Genesee Intermediate School District, telephone correspondence
with Michael Van Beek, Feb. 15, 2010.
 “A Report to the Legislature” (Michigan Virtual University,
2009), 2, goo.gl/iTXT5 (accessed April 10, 2010); “Online Courses Catalog”
(Genesee Intermediate School District, 2010), http://gennetonline.geneseeisd.org/ course_catalog.asp
(accessed Jan. 14, 2011).
 Thomas Svitkovich, Lisa Hagel, and John Schantz, “A Seat
Time Waiver for You: Genesee County’s Seat Time Waiver Goes Statewide” (paper
presented at the Michigan Association of School Administrators, Detroit, Mich.,
(accessed April 1, 2010).
 Thomas Svitkovich and Beverly Knox-Pipes, “Genesee
Intermediate School District Three-Year Technology Plan, July 2008 – June 2011”
(Genesee Intermediate School District, 2008), goo.gl/Hcn1c
(accessed Jan. 26, 2011); Thomas Svitkovich, telephone correspondence with
Michael Van Beek, Feb. 15, 2010.