Parent Edition

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


Make, Bake, Partake – Volunteering at School

Blog_School_Volunteer_20170420My mom was blessed with the baking and hospitality gene. As far back as I can recall, she loved to play hostess—still does, and when people come over, she has a quiet way of honoring them and making them feel special. It shows in the details, from a sparkling clean house to using the good dishes and serving delectable treats.

I remember my mom volunteered to be the class mom for Mrs. Kast’s second grade class in New York. I glowed whenever she’d come into my classroom to drop off some cut outs for a project we were working on, or when she’d bring in homemade cupcakes for a class party. And while I just thought I had the coolest mom in the world, she had sneakily found a way to stay connected to me during the school day.

April is Florida School Volunteer Appreciation Month and today marks the first day of Public School Volunteer Week.  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


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