Homeschool Edition

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


Making Connections for the Future

FBLALife is about the connections we make. Sometimes these connections come from people we’ve known our entire lives, friends next door, colleagues, or even classmates at school.

Because fitting in is a big part of a student’s success, especially during the teenage years, making these connections and collaborating with others can help students grow and learn. Studies have demonstrated this, but I learned it firsthand when I was still in school.

Transitioning from middle to high school was difficult for me, so the 9th and 10th grade years were a trying time in my life. Luckily, I had some excellent teachers who helped me adjust. One particularly important moment was the day my 11th grade computer teacher encouraged me to attend a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) meeting.

When I finally relented and decided to go, I didn’t yet realize I’d made one of the best decisions of my life. 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


Mastering Discussion-Based Assessments (DBAs)

Blog_DBA_FollowupIf you missed this week’s Facebook Live Q&A about discussion-based assessments, don’t worry! In this post, we’re sharing a great video recap that covers everything you need to know.

At FLVS, we want students to be successful and completely comfortable when learning online. This includes discussion-based assessments (DBAs).  Even though some students may get nervous or anxious, just remember that DBAs are simply a verbal conversation between you and your teacher.

DBAs are one of the ways we ensure academic integrity (and make sure that it’s actually you doing the work). This is why teachers need to hear directly from you! They will be referencing the work you have done and speaking to students and parents multiple times throughout the course, so there is a common thread of communication that helps teachers connect a face (or voice) to the same student they see (or hear) in live lessons and through submitted work. DBAs are also there for teachers to help you! 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


Would You Rather…the Dentist or a DBA?

Blog_Public_SpeakingChances are that if you ask someone if they’d rather have dental work done or speak in front of an audience, that person will probably have to take a moment to think about it.

According to many studies, the idea of speaking in public or making a presentation ranks extremely high on the anxiety scale.

Along those lines, we’ve heard from many of our students that they are apprehensive when it comes to their discussion-based assessment, commonly known as a DBA. For those not familiar with the DBA, it is a verbal conversation between a student and teacher to discuss what he/she has learned in the modules.

If this is you, you can take some comfort in the simple fact you are not alone.

Have you ever watched someone talk in public and think, “Man, they are great—so relaxed and natural. I wish I could speak like that.” While it’s true that some have a natural gift for gab and their conversations seem effortless, it is quite possible that they had to learn to overcome their nervousness. Speaking professionally in a public setting, is a skill that must be developed and fine-tuned. And this takes time.

Here’s a secret… Continue reading


FLVS Corkboard: March Highlights

corkboard-coverIt’s March, and minus the cold snap madness, spring has sprung—and FLVS continues to sow seeds of learning!

While you may be rooted in the “here and now” of schoolwork and tasks to accomplish this semester, we understand that some of you may already be thinking of life after high school. For many, that may mean college. Or, maybe you think you’d like to go to college but aren’t sure if you “have what it takes” or if you can afford it.

Great news! If you are a student in Florida, you can learn how to prepare for college without leaving your home. (But we do recognize that leaving the home is ultimately the goal of every child—and their parents.)

Virtual College Week

You can explore the notion of college all from your living room if you make plans now to participate in Virtual College Week, April 4-6. Presented by FloridaShines, students and parents can get free expert advice on all things college-related, including the admissions process and financial aid. Gather important information, ask questions, hear from others—demystify college at no cost. Continue reading


Meet Cristi, Founder of Tallahassee Teen Magazine

Christi McKeeFLVS student Cristi McKee has been a member of the Creative Writing Club since 2012 and is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Tallahassee Teen Magazine.

In a recent interview with club students, she answered questions about her experiences as an intern with Tallahassee Woman Magazine.

What motivated you to found Tallahassee Teen Magazine?

I always wanted to inspire teens through writing, but I never could figure out how – until December 2015.

I took my love for writing and approached a local magazine and their publisher, Tallahassee Woman Magazine and Kim Rosier, and told them that I was interested in starting a magazine for teenagers that would be filled with inspirational, encouraging content while also celebrating local teen’s accomplishments. Soon after, Tallahassee Teen Magazine was founded courtesy of Tallahassee Woman Magazine. Continue reading


When Virtual Class Time is Innovative, Student Engagement Soars

This article was first published by eSchool News and features FLVS Flex Elementary, eSchool Media and Xirrus Innovate to Educate Community Award Winner. 

FLVS Flex Elementary InnovationInnovation doesn’t simply involve throwing technology into a classroom. It requires unconventional ideas, foresight, thoughtfulness, and dedication to student learning. And as the world becomes more connected, schools are making every attempt to help students develop the skills they’ll need to be a part of that interconnected world.

In the Florida Virtual School (FLVS), students are learning in unique ways while developing these much-needed skills through individualized and personalized learning methods, said Sarah Sprinkel, FLVS elementary principal.

FLVS is one of two Community Winners in the eSchool Media and Xirrus Innovate to Educate awards program, which recognizes the unique ways schools and districts are leveraging technology to improve student learning.

Continue reading on eSchoolNews →