Parent Edition

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


How FLVS Has Impacted My Daughters

RileyMy family and I are so thankful for FLVS that words can’t express enough how we feel. You see, I went to college to be a teacher assistant and I used to teach Pre-K, so I firmly believe in education through the public school system. Our plan for our first daughter, Riley Marie, was public school, just like all her other friends and family.  But in 2015, our whole world changed.

My second daughter, Holly Berlin, was born in January 2015 with a life-threatening genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis. This disease changed the way we lived, traveled, ate, and even socialized. This disease can progress tremendously overnight with just one simple sickness such as the common cold.

What do most elementary kids have to battle their first year in school? That’s right: colds, viruses, and more.

Even though it was our newborn who was affected with this disease, we had to make the decision to protect her from any of these viruses entering our home, which is why we decided to homeschool our older child to prevent her from spreading these viruses. 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


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 →

 


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


Supporting Access to Online Education for All

Digital Learning DayToday is Digital Learning Day!

It’s a day when the whole nation celebrates all the wonderful benefits of online learning and digital literacy.

You know, everything from the cool and advanced technology of courses and anytime learning, to the digital literacy skills that online learning provides to strengthen a student’s learning experience.

This not only includes finding and learning from digital content, but also creating authentic digital content, and communicating or sharing it in multiple formats.

It also includes valuable soft-skills that today’s employers are asking for – like time management and being efficient in using online resources.

While we are thrilled to be celebrating today with other online learning providers, families, and students, we at FLVS have to admit that we celebrate this stuff everyday!

We can’t help it – our passion for online education comes from our awesome students and families who we serve. It doesn’t take long to see the difference we make in students’ lives, and get excited about what we can do next in order to keep our students thriving. Continue reading


How Career & Technical Education Changed My Life

CTE_Blog_CoverIn honor of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, I would like to reflect on the influence CTE has had on my life – even though I didn’t realize it until a decade later.

As a teenager, I wasn’t a big fan of school. Classes, homework, and way too much science! I couldn’t stand it.

However, every time I left my rural campus to assist nurses at the local hospital, I felt the thrill of escape and the fun of doing something new. So, for all the wrong reasons, I enrolled in my high school’s nursing program and was quickly on my way to plenty of time not in school. The perfect plan!

It didn’t take long for me to learn my first CTE lesson: there is much more to a nursing program than wearing scrubs and getting out of class. I’d signed up for a daily, three-hour block of anatomy and physiology, as well as an introduction to nursing skills. Yep, my brilliant plan to escape school somehow locked me into three hours of science a day. Continue reading