Educator Edition

Professional Learning at FLVS in 2017

LightbulbAt FLVS, our growing and learning continues daily! Learning isn’t just something our students do each and every day – our teachers do too.

Our professional learning team is an incredible group of educators who work tirelessly to help our teachers grow and learn so they can all reach their students effectively.

There are all kinds of exciting initiatives rooted in the Professional Learning team that we’re focused on in 2017.

We have amazing team members who benefit our teachers and staff with their commitment to providing stellar professional learning opportunities across our district.

Here are a few of the exciting learning opportunities we have for our teachers and staff to keep growing and learning: Continue reading


Pinwheels for Prevention

This post was written in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Pinwheels for PreventionMy first realization that not all parents behave as loving parents was in the third grade with news that Penny’s mom had hit her over the head with a trophy. It was shocking, as child abuse was not a topic you typically heard of in the 70s, but conversations soon sprouted throughout our small suburban school and community.

Fast forward to today, and news of children being neglected and abused is far too prevalent.

Every child deserves to grow up in a safe and loving environment and it is our duty as parents, educators—as humans—to look after them.

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed pinwheels have popped up in your community and throughout Florida. A ceremony was held in Tallahassee earlier this month on the lawn of the Turlington Building, which serves as the home of the Florida Department of Education. These pinwheels represent Pinwheels for Prevention, a national campaign that engages communities in a coordinated effort to prevent child abuse. Continue reading


FLVS Day at the Capitol

Day at the Capitol

Pictured from left to right: Adriana, Andrew, and Branden with FLVS Communications Specialists Diana Furey & Suzan Kurdak

If you ask me, there is nothing like the rush of sharing with our state legislators the unique ways FLVS serves Florida students, and it’s even better when students themselves get to share their stories.

On April 5, 2017, that’s exactly what happened in Tallahassee.

Florida Virtual School executives, board members, staff, parents, and students walked into the state Capitol with a mission.

It was FLVS Day at the Capitol and we wanted our state Senators and Representatives to know how important access to virtual education is for students of all ages. Right now, students in grades 2-5 wishing to take FLVS courses on a part-time basis have to meet a list of eligibility requirements, with the most problematic being that they must have been enrolled in a Florida public school the entire year prior.

House Bill 833 and Senate Bills 868 and 692 remove those eligibility requirements.

Passing these bills means FLVS Flex Elementary students can continue their education with FLVS, allowing them to learn from the hospital, abroad, and from home without restriction. Continue reading


Why Libraries Still Matter

Blog_LibrariesAs a young girl, I always enjoyed visiting my local library.

My librarian, Mrs. Ferris, knew me by name and greeted me with a loving smile. She always had recommendations for great books, from beautiful Caldecott Medal picture books to the latest Newberry Award winners. She knew just the right stories that would captivate me for hours, keeping me up well past my bedtime as I read by the light of a flashlight under my covers.

In the days before the internet became a household staple, the library was my go-to source for answers about life’s most pressing questions. Even with nothing but that clunky card catalog of old, Mrs. Ferris could find resources to answer my many questions within minutes of me asking them. I wanted to know everything there was to know about kangaroos? Got it. Pompeii? Easy. The Holocaust? Let’s try reading Number the Stars and go from there. Continue reading


Aliens and Explosions

This post was written by FLVS student Sarah Weyand about her award-winning research in astrophysics.

Studying ExoplanetsMy science fair journey began about a year ago.

I was approached by a Harvard graduate who wanted to mentor a high school senior in an astrophysics and computer science research project.

I knew nothing about astronomy and I didn’t know a single programming language, but I love space and I plan to major in computer science in college. Naturally, I said yes. This project has taken me to the Science Talent Search, the Indian River Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and, now, the State Science Fair.

My project is titled Aliens and Explosions: How Supernovae Affect the Habitable Zones of Exoplanets.

The purpose of the project is to calculate the percentage of exoplanets, a planet that does not orbit our Sun, that would no longer be in the habitable zone of their host star due to a supernova, the explosive death of a massive star. Continue reading


Springing Forward with FLVS Flex Elementary

Blog_SpringSpring has sprung!

For those of us in Florida, this can mean so many different things, from getting back on the allergy meds, to getting the hard yard work done before our incredibly long “heat wave” starts. And you got it – I’m talking about the looooooooooooong stretch that starts very soon and often ends in late fall!

But in addition to all the personal connections to this season, spring becomes a reason for teachers to reflect on where we are with our students and our teaching this time of year.

So, let’s start with time.  Right about now, you either have adjusted, or are seriously wondering when you finally will adjust, to daylight savings time.  Most of us experience that “falling back” in fall is a lot less disruptive than “springing forward” in spring.

It provides a good analogy, because as teachers, flexibility and positively powering through are a part of being on the FLVS Flex Elementary team.

The inevitable changes that come with remarkable growth in an innovative new program are part of our everyday lives and continue to keep our work fresh, exciting, and energizing.  Continue reading


The Beauty of Letting Go

Change

Do you order the same exact dish from your favorite restaurant every single time? Do you listen to the same music or watch the same movies? Yep, that was me – same dish, same style of dress in multiple colors, and 20 bottles of nail polish in similar shades of pink.

Yes, I was in the dreaded comfort zone, and loving every minute of it. But as wonderful and safe as comfort zones are, they can also be dangerous.

If we stay in our comfort zones for too long, we fail to grow – both personally and professionally – which is never a good thing.

A totally unexpected thing happened this past October. Continue reading


Why Every Teacher Should Go See “Hidden Figures”

Hidden FiguresLast month I saw the movie “Hidden Figures” and I was so incredibly inspired.

I am a former English teacher, so my love is words and writing and reading. But I ventured to see this movie because it empowers women and sheds light on some pretty amazing mathematicians who had the power to make this word-loving English teacher a fan of math.  I mean, as a teacher I’ve always loved data, but for me, seeing this movie reinforced why numbers are just as important as words.

We look at data a lot in education, but most of the time I believe we are just looking at numbers and not really grasping the full story data can tell us.

Data does tell a story.

Sometimes it’s a story we don’t want to hear; sometimes it’s a story we already know and we’re just validated. Sometimes it’s a story we never gave any thought and a whole new path is opened for us. If the data you look at regularly is just numbers on a screen and it’s not telling you a story, maybe some insights from “Hidden Figures” will help. Continue reading


FLVS Attending SXSWedu Conference

SXSWeduOn March 6-9, 2017, Dr. Jodi Marshall, the Executive Vice President of Business and School Solutions at Florida Virtual School, and Mawi Asgedom, CEO of Mawi Learning, will be speaking at the 2017 SXSWedu Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas.

Together, the presenters will share how students set themselves up for success with a suite of powerful leadership courses offered by FLVS and Mawi Learning.

Presenting on How to Create Leaders in an Online World, Jodi and Mawi will explain how to virtually prepare students for leadership roles now and in the future.  Continue reading


FLVS Students and Staff Give Back

Random Acts of KindnessRandom acts of kindness are enough to make anyone’s day.

Whether it is holding a door open, paying it forward in line at Starbucks, or helping someone carry in groceries, we all have the capacity to be kind on a daily basis. This year, in order to celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17), we spoke with some awesome FLVS students that really know what it means to be caring and kind.

The Creative Writing club is participating in an ongoing service project that started in February and runs through March. There are many ways that students of the club can help out. They can donate books, read to someone, help out at the library, or even volunteer as a reading, writing, or English tutor. So far, the Creating Writing Club members have donated 25 books.

The STEM/Science Club at FLVS recently participated in a clothing drive. Sometimes it can be easy to take something as simple as the clothes on our back for granted. Continue reading