Michigan Virtual creates online, remote learning working group

LANSING—Michigan Virtual, the remote learning nonprofit, announced the creation of the Michigan Virtual Learning Continuity Work Group, a group of 21 education experts to accelerate the adoption of new teaching models to support remote and online learning in the wake of the school closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Educators need to quickly come together to make plans to prepare for learning continuity and new delivery models during this emergency which could impact the 2020-2021 school year,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Michigan Virtual, founded more than 20 years ago as Michigan Virtual University. “Our goal is to provide a framework of practical recommendations to school district and state leaders on developing instructional strategies that ensure students’ learning continues.”

The expert panel supports three critical areas for Michigan:

  • React to potential ideas, policies, and guidance for school leaders and policymakers around remote and online learning, access, and equity issues.
  • Identify and create recommended strategies for leaders to consider as they implement remote and online learning.
  • Explore new scalable delivery models that enable effective anytime, anyplace and any pace teaching and learning.

The group is co-chaired by two recognized leaders in Michigan education: David Richards, former superintendent of Fraser Public Schools and coordinator of the Michigan Competency Consortium, and John VanWagoner, superintendent of Alpena Public Schools. Both individuals have extensive leadership experience with personalized learning and the systemic shift towards a blended learning environment that supports online learning.

“The Work Group represents a great cross-section of leaders with expertise that will guide our thinking about how to assist local school districts in transitioning to new models of instruction,” said Richards said. “I am optimistic Michigan’s school community will rise to the challenge this crisis has presented to us. We will look back at this time in history as a turning point for the implementation of flexible delivery models that enable effective anytime, any place, and any pace teaching and learning.”

Added VanWagoner: “Due to the COVID-19 emergency, our students, parents, and educators are living through a surreal time in our state’s history. We are racing to find practical strategies and tactics to help our system of public education respond in thoughtful ways that benefit our children.”

In response to the crisis, Michigan Virtual continues to develop and share a variety of support services to help students, parents and educators make the transition to remote learning, including:

The Michigan Virtual Learning Continuity Work Group members:

Jamey Fitzpatrick, CEO and president, Michigan Virtual
David Richards, President, Core2Edge, LLC, co-chair
John VanWagoner, Superintendent, Alpena Public Schools, co-chair
Jeff Bush, Principal, Kent Innovation High School at Kent ISD
Steve Carlson, Principal, Sandusky Jr/Sr High School
Anupam Chugh, Manager, Instructional Technology, Wayne RESA
Kelly Coffin, Assistant Superintendent, Traverse Bay Area ISD
Christopher Davidson, Superintendent, Public Schools of Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw
Steve Dickie, Teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator, Divine Child Catholic High School
Ben Gilpin, Principal, Warner Elementary School – Western School District
Amy Gwizdz, Technology Instructional Coach, Dearborn Public Schools
Gerald Hill, Superintendent, West Bloomfield School District
Andy Mann, Director – Director, Regional Educational Media Center (REMC), Muskegon ISD
Gianna Mrozek, Assistant Principal, Oxford Virtual Academy
Sarah Pazur, Director of School Leadership, FlexTech High Schools
Beth Rayl, Chief Academic Officer, Plymouth-Canton Community Schools
Patricia Sattler, Principal, Mercy High School
Kelly Tillman, Teacher and Technology Teacher Leader, Geisler Middle School, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools
Christopher Timmis, Superintendent, Dexter Community Schools
Monique Uzelac, Director, WAVE Alternative Education Program, Washtenaw ISD
Carrie Wozniak, Superintendent, Fraser Public Schools

Michigan Virtual provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. More at MichiganVirtual.org.


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