Law sets framework for online school districts

Cape school officials may beef up their online programming to combat a wave of virtual school districts scheduled to open within the next several years.

"If you don't play in the game you are left behind," Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School Principal Kenneth Jenks said Friday.

He and about 10 other educators from the Cape and Islands were at the Cape Cod Collaborative for a presentation from the VHS Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that provides online courses for schools, including several on the Cape.

The Commonwealth Virtual Schools Act, signed into law Jan. 2, allows as many as 10 new online-only school districts to open their virtual doors and enroll up to 19,000 Massachusetts students in the next seven years, Jim Dachos of the VHS Collaborative said.

The new law established a framework for virtual education in Massachusetts and gives the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education authority over remote schools that draw students from more than one district, he said.

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