Professional Learning

Rock On: Expert Advice from Two Master Teachers

By on July 20th, 2017

Every time I look back at my career as a teacher, I realize how far I have come.

What I find truly astounding is that what made the most impact in my practice was not learned in the resounding hallways of my Alma Mater or the momentous conference rooms of the many in-service training sessions I’ve completed, but interacting and networking with my peers. Sometimes I will get the best idea from asking a question or brainstorming in a Professional Learning Community (PLC) session.

And just like a movie flashback, I am back at the topic for this blog!

I wanted to ask some questions to our teachers that everyone else also asks. It was difficult to single out one or two teachers, because here at FLVS I feel that I am teaching in the middle of a rock festival and every teacher I know is a rock star!

To narrow it down, I reached out to two of our Teacher of the Year nominees, Amsler Burns and Kellie Shellenberger. Continue reading


Why Every Teacher Should Go See “Hidden Figures”

By on March 1st, 2017

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


Professional Learning at FLVS in 2015

By on February 25th, 2015

Teacher PLAt FLVS, professional learning matters.

Learning that is student-centered, collaborative, sustained and data-driven is what drives success.

Student Centered

This is the year that every department and individual at FLVS is going to refocus. For our teachers, being able to identify and articulate professional learning goals directly impacts student learning, mastery, and performance.

This is what student-centered professional learning is all about.

Continue reading



Momentum: FLVS World Symposium Recap

By on October 28th, 2014

Momentum Cover
If you have ever wondered how much fun 2,000+ educators could have at once, just attend the annual Momentum: FLVS World Symposium held in Orlando each fall. Yes, there is a ton of learning going on, and educators find that pretty thrilling. It is in their DNA! One educator summarized day one of this year’s conference as follows: “Awesome conference so far. Only one day and I already feel equipped!”

Educators across the country came to learn, participate, present, and network at the conference in early October alongside Florida Virtual School staff. This collaborative learning experience benefited all who attended. As one FLVS staff member highlighted, “Love the idea of presenters outside of FLVS. Lets us know what is going on outside our world.” Continue reading


Instructional Coaching the FLVS Way

By on April 1st, 2014

instructional coachingHow does instructional coaching work in a virtual world?  Have you heard about the Vir-structional coaching program at FLVS?

The Vir-structional program is designed to help those using a virtual platform to train, teach, and inform participants.  The goal of the Coaching Program is to deliver high quality technology-based education by increasing customer/student learning through engaging and interactive live lessons.

Instructional coaching provides a venue for instructors to share teaching ideas and strategies with each other. The coach is someone who has expertise and knowledge in developing highly effective and engaging lessons that will lead to increased participant learning. The coachee is someone who would benefit from a coaching relationship by being open and receptive to learning new tools, techniques, and strategies to increase participants’ attendance and understanding. Continue reading


Stop, Collaborate, and Listen

By on February 26th, 2014

collaborationDoing Virtual Doesn’t Mean Doing it Alone!

When people think virtual, what do you think comes to mind? Prior to my experience at FLVS, I thought of sitting alone in front of the computer, reading lessons, responding to discussion boards, and checking email. The common denominator behind all of my thoughts was that you do it alone. While virtual education primarily places responsibility on the learner, there is a debatably larger need to collaborate to be successful.

At FLVS, students are required to collaborate with one another at least one time within each segment/semester. Many families, at first glance, think this is a demanding request or an off-the-wall requirement, because of their initial thoughts about virtual education. What they find is that they wonder why they didn’t start collaborating sooner. Continue reading


Learning Forward – Part 8: Lesson Study

By on October 15th, 2013

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

The lesson study process is one of the most unique teaching techniques available to 21st century teachers. During a lesson study, instructors present a lesson and uncover what makes it effective or ineffective.  Bringing several teachers together and using their combined knowledge to create, teach, and reflect on a lesson is one of the best teaching strategies for instructors. Teachers are life-long learners and are always looking for ways to improve their skills. Lesson study is an ideal format to observe what does and doesn’t work and make improvements.  Continue reading


The Power of Negativity

By on September 30th, 2013

crticsmathRemember the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” I have to say, that through life experiences, I’ve come to realize that this statement is completely false. The bruises that are caused by sticks and stones may last for a period of time, but the scars words leave can last a lifetime.   Continue reading


Learning Forward – Part 6: Professional Learning Communities

By on August 5th, 2013

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Photo credit: http://www.learningforward.org/

Continuing my series on the Professional Learning standards, today’s blog post focuses on Professional Learning Communities. A Professional Learning Community (PLC) consists of educators committed to working collaboratively in an ongoing process of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.  PLCs are intended to improve student learning by providing continuous job-embedded learning opportunities for educators. A PLC utilizes data to identify gaps between learning goals and actual student achievement. Then, through action research, a PLC develops action items to make corrective changes.  Continue reading