Florida Virtual School Turns 25!
This year is the 25th anniversary of Florida Virtual School! It seems like just yesterday since we launched in 1997 as Florida’s first internet-based, public high school. Since then, we have become a fully accredited statewide public school district and served more than 234,000 students last year alone.
To celebrate our silver birthday, we asked FLVS teachers and staff a few questions to get their insight on how online learning has changed throughout the years. Spoiler alert: it’s changed A LOT!
Question 1: What was FLVS like when you first started? How has it changed over the years?
“When I started, we had calling cards to make long distance calls! I had to type in what felt like 28 numbers every time I called a student or parent. Also, I was the English 2 teacher (as in, I was only one)!” – Kimberly Rugh, Sr. Manager, Instructional Quality and Compliance
“I started working for FLVS in 1998 as the 15th hire! Back then we did final exams at our education center or at students’ houses. A funny story is that I went to many students’ houses to proctor exams, and oftentimes the parents would invite me to stay for dinner.” – Mary Mitchell, Peer Counseling, FLVS Flex
“I was originally hired as a Registrar. Me and one other person would manually register students, mail course materials and final grade reports, and more. The changes over more than two decades have been drastic!” – Jill Ogletree, Senior Certification Specialist
“When I first started working for FLVS, it was long before the days of cell phones. Every teacher had a beeper where students could beep us to let us know they had a question or needed us. Also, our teacher handbook was a 10-page document with a hole punch and ring (I still have it!). – Janene Bowden, Instructional Leader
Question 2: What is a FLVS memory you will always cherish?
“It was 2006 and I was checking out at the grocery store. I handed my club card to the cashier, and he looked at the picture, looked up at me, and asked, “Are you a teacher?” He looked at the picture again and said “Ms. Mizzoni, I was in your AP government class!” We ran around the register and shared a huge hug. We had never met face-to-face but that didn’t matter. We had bonded during political science discussion-based assessments and are still friends today.” – Misty Mizzoni, Sr. Manager, Curriculum Development
“One of my favorite FLVS memories was an end-of-year video call party with my students. We asked students what their favorite memory of the school year was, and one of the students held up the book of student-poetry I had published for them. He said that he was so excited to officially be a published author, and that the book was one of his prized possessions.” – Jessica Strong, FLVS Full Time, 2023 Teacher of the Year
Question 3: What do you think the next 25 years of online learning will look like?
“I believe we will go down the road of even more personalized and individualized learning paths in both our curriculum and our instructional models. In addition, through our national arm, FlexPoint, we will reach infinitely more students and families throughout the nation and engage them the way we have done in Florida for the last 25 years.” – Robin Winder, Sr. Director of Instruction
“I hope it will look like an even more personalized learning experience for our students!” – Amy Heflin, Sr. Manager, Curriculum Development
“I predict that we will have more intuitive systems that provide content, support, enrichment and remediation at just the right times in the course, which will further supplement the top-notch instruction our teachers provide. There is tremendous potential for the future of virtual education, and I see Florida Virtual School and FlexPoint leading the way!” – Jason Schultz, Sr. Director of Instruction
We can’t believe it’s already been 25 years of FLVS and we can’t wait for the next 25! We will be celebrating all school year long so be sure to check back to The Virtual Voice blog and our Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for news and updates.