GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Michigan Virtual Charter Academy, the state's first online charter public school, will open this fall with up to 400 kindergarten through eighth-grade students, The Grand Rapids Press and the academy reported.

Grand Valley State University trustees unanimously approved granting a charter to open the school, which will be managed by K12 Inc., a Virginia-based company that operates online schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia, The Press reported.

According to a news release from the MVCA, students complete their online coursework with help from a "learning coach," typically a parent, but also communicate with teachers and classmates in virtual "e-classrooms."

Retired teacher Dr. Linda Marlow is president of the MCVA board of directors, according to the news release, which also said the school could serve up to 1,000 K-12 students in the future, with a focus on high school dropouts.

"Parents in many parts of the state don't have access to good charter schools or other schools that the parents can choose. And this program is aimed at an underserved population," said Tim Wood, head of the GVSU charter school office, The Press reported.

The Grand Rapids Press, "GVSU trustees approve Michigan Virtual Charter Academy," April 30, 2010

PR Newswire, "Michigan Virtual Charter Academy Approved by Grand Valley State University to Serve Students in Grades K-12 Statewide," April 30, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Online Learning Can Improve Michigan Public Education," April 13, 2010