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A Year in Review: 2021 at VHS Learning

By: Carol DeFuria

As 2021 draws to a close, we reflect on our memorable moments and accomplishments over the past year. While schools have begun to recover from the pandemic and the challenges it presented, students and teachers have worked hard to create a new normal for learning. This school year has still offered unique challenges, and online learning has continued to be a critical tool in supporting learning and helping students stay on track.

Reflecting on 2021, VHS Learning has had many exciting moments developing new courses, building valuable partnerships, and working to create helpful resources for schools and teachers, globally.

At the beginning of the year, we received a $1.4 million, three-year grant from The Manton Foundation to help us better serve students and schools. The funds will enable us to update our infrastructure, website, and course offerings, as well as provide supplemental curriculum and instruction services to schools in rural and high-needs areas.

In March, we partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) to create the STEM Advanced Placement Access Expansion Opportunity. This initiative––funded by a five-year grant of more than $9 million that the MA DESE received from the U.S. Education Department’s Expanding Access to Well-Rounded Courses Demonstration Grants Program––is designed to increase Massachusetts students’ participation in advanced coursework and create greater equity in STEM AP® course-taking.

In May, we celebrated VHS Learning’s 25th anniversary, marking an incredible milestone in our rich history dedicated to helping schools expand curriculum and provide engaging learning experiences for students. Also in May, I was honored to be recognized by the American Consortium for Equity in Education as one of 20 women leading the education industry. This group of female leaders was recognized by Equity & Access magazine for their vision to make learning more equitable and their commitment to making that vision a reality.

Throughout the year, I had opportunities to share insights learned over my two decades in the online education space, and draw on VHS Learning’s 25 years of experience serving schools and students, discussing online learning engagement in Principal Leadership from NASSP, remote and hybrid learning and evaluating online learning providers in SmartBrief, and using online learning to make STEM learning more accessible in District Administration.

In October, VHS Learning attended the fifth annual CSforALL Summit, where we announced our plans to further our commitment to expanding student access to computer science education. Our 2021 CSforALL commitment, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, is to create a statewide initiative to increase the capacity of schools to offer coursework that prepares students for postsecondary education and STEM careers.

Most recently, we welcomed Dr. Yolanda D. Johnson to our board of directors. Dr. Johnson is a champion for educational equity and an advocate for under-represented students, and we look forward to having her insights and counsel to help us advance our mission and achieve our strategic objectives.

Throughout the year, several of our incredible education partners were highlighted in District Administration and The Learning Counsel. We were also able to share some of their accomplishments through our case studies highlighting success stories at Notre Dame High School (CT) and Milford High School.

At VHS Learning, we are grateful for the services and support we were able to provide to schools in 2021. We can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store, and we look forward to sharing new ideas, building relationships, and creating engaging online offerings that benefit students and help them achieve their goals.

As you look back on 2021, we hope you reflect upon your own accomplishments during the year and acknowledge the impact you have made on students and their learning. On behalf of all of us at VHS Learning, we wish you a joyful holiday season and a happy new year!

Carol DeFuria
President & CEO
VHS Learning