Skip to main content

Michigan is taking innovation by the horns. Accompanying all the current political talk around school choice, Detroit Public Schools Community District has launched a virtual school. It has not been easy for families enrolled in the full-time virtual school. Here’s how they are doing: 


  • Virtual learning has been part of student life since the pandemic began in 2020.
  • Ahead of this school year, school officials were banking on the virtual option becoming a permanent fixture for students who thrive in the online space.
  • The district also hoped the virtual school would accommodate families’ health and safety concerns.


  • Families are finding that being enrolled in the district’s virtual school hasn’t always been easy.  
  • Parent concerns include
    • virtual classrooms are too full
    • some classes are not staffed consistently
    • program hasn’t provided enough services for their children with special education needs 
    • missing electives and extracurriculars


  • The virtual school has been received mixed reviews from parents.
    • Some found it safer due to pandemic threats on their children’s health conditions.
    • Some felt better supported in this environment.
    • While others felt special learning accommodations and needs were not met well. 
    • Some of the educational, behavioral, and physical needs of particular students cannot be met in a virtual learning environment. 

Future for the virtual school

  • The district is considering limiting enrollment to grades 4-12 in the 2022-23 school year, as school officials have questioned whether the virtual school is the right space for early literacy in pre-kindergarten to third grade.
  • District is “exploring the possibility of” advanced courses and more electives in the future.
  • For the time being, the school will focus on its core classes and support for exceptional student education, or ESE, students.
  • Other resources such as after-school tutoring, may be offered if teachers are willing to work after long days of screen time. 


  • Challenges school districts have faced so far with virtual learning are not damning nor are they unlike compliants received by traditional campuses during the pandemic.
  • There’s a long road ahead for school district leaders to design and implement high quality online learning options that balance the flexibility of remote instruction with the academic standards of in-person learning.
  • Good remote learning environment needs to be done with intentionality and based on research best practices.


Close Menu

Contact Us

National Association of Testing Professionals (NATP)
611 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Box 462
Washington, D.C. 20003

T: 361-960-4619