It was late 1997. A group of six teachers and four support personnel had spent five months learning about teaching online from any source we could find.
We were building courses in Lotus Learning Space, and preparing to register kids for this new thing called Florida High School. There had been tears, there had been elation, and there had been a lot of supposition about what teaching online meant.
We nervously sat around a small round conference table waiting for the phone to ring after we opened registration for the first time ever. We kept saying to each other, “If we build it, they will come,” but would students really want to try this? The “Web School” pilot in Orange County in the 1996-97 school year drew some students, so we had hope.
Finally, after an excruciating wait, the phone rang. We had our first student! Continue reading
This week, the National Association for the Education of Young Children is recognizing young learners by celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, and their families.
I can think of no better time to observe the importance of educating young students.
As the FLVS Full Time school leader for Kindergarten – 5th grade at our statewide tuition-free public school, I see the hard work and tireless efforts our teachers, families, and staff make to encourage and celebrate our young learners every day.
Online schools like FLVS Full Time bring high-quality education to some of the state’s littlest learners, providing a standards-aligned curriculum, structure, and support to families who seek increased flexibility, a safe learning environment, or more involvement in their student’s education.
For young students at FLVS Full Time, a parent or trusted adult plays a key role as a Learning Coach, working closely with the teacher to create a supportive learning environment in the home. While teachers are responsible for the instruction of students—providing lessons, working through the curriculum, and grading assignments—the Learning Coach helps oversee the academics at home. Continue reading
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
Today 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
2016 is an incredible time to be a teacher.
I am grateful for each and every day I get to work alongside the best of the best in education.
While expectations are high, standards seem impossible to meet, and the everyday trials and struggles we face seem endless, this time in our country and our world is truly an incredible time to be a teacher. We have so much more access to research about how and why we learn. We have clearer pictures of our brains and all they can accomplish.
We might be up against some very difficult mountains to climb, but the teachers that have gone before us have never been as well equipped as we are today.
As a teacher I’ve always been fascinated with the brain – how it operates so much more than just our physical bodies. Each and every day, new research is published confirming something I think teachers have always known. Continue reading
In August of 1981, the first personal computer was invented.
Selling for a whopping $1,565 (today’s price would be more than $7,000), it hardly had any of the high tech specifications that basic computers come with today.
It had an 11 ½ inch monitor (definitely not a touch-screen), a floppy disk drive (most people under the age of 25 have no idea what that even is), and offered a black and white screen. Now, imagine your students and children using this PC for homework. The World Wide Web doesn’t even show up until 1991, so they are very limited in what they can use the computer for.
Now, fast forward to November 2016. Continue reading
The other weekend, my mother was happy to come and watch my son as I tackled a few things that had been on my list for a while.
My “To Do” list consisted of starting a mortgage application, purchasing some “the best way to get your baby to sleep through the night” products and printing nearly 1,000 adorable photos of my now 7 month old.
She immediately scooped up her grandson when she arrived (you would too, he’s so cute!) and took off into the other room so he could show her his new trick of “almost crawling.”
Two hours later, she came out into the kitchen and was startled to see that I was still sitting there. Continue reading
If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling the world, it may not be as complicated as you think.
In 2008, Mike Cooney traveled the world with his wife, Catrell, and three teenage sons, Morgan, Zach, and Harrison, who studied online with FLVS. After selling their home, downsizing, and packing up their belongings, the family traveled across six continents and 22 countries…more than 61,000 miles! Today, Mike shares their experiences at speaking events and talks about his book which details their adventures. As Mike likes to say, “If we can do it, anyone can!”
In a year-long blog series on The Virtual Voice, Morgan, Zach, and Harrison and their parents shared their experience: Continue reading
This is the final post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.
For the past 12 months, my family and I have been recounting our trek around the world and sharing what it meant to each of us.
Although it’s been nearly seven years since we returned in September 2009, there is not a day that goes by we don’t think about what the trek meant to us individually and collectively. Needless to say, it was a life-changing experience for each of us. My wife Catrell and I set several goals before leaving on our trek and they were all met. Continue reading
This is the 11th post in a series by the Cooney family about their world travels, made possible by the flexible learning offered at FLVS.
Our around the world trek was accomplished in two stages.
The first lasted four months and we backpacked through Central and South America. After returning home for a short visit, we resumed our trek, which lasted seven months. During our odyssey, we traveled to six continents, visited 22 countries and covered more than 61,000 miles. Although we did circumnavigate the globe, the fact is we only traveled a narrow piece of geography.
No matter how well-traveled someone is, they tend to stay within the lines – back roads, hiking trails, plane routes and highways. We were no different. Through Central and South America, we traveled almost entirely by bus – from “chicken buses” packed with 30 people when there should have only been 15, to a luxury motor coach that had its equivalent of a flight attendant onboard. Continue reading