Florida Education

I’ve Got the Magic in Me

By on June 13th, 2013

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Corp.

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Corp.

We could all use a little more pixie dust in our lives, right? Have you ever had someone go the extra mile to make your day a million times better than it was before? If not, take a trip down to the most magical place on Earth…Walt Disney World. Employees, known as “cast members,” are trained to do nothing but make your experience one you will never forget. When you arrive at their hotels, you are greeted with “Welcome Home” because they want you to feel comfortable in your environment. Everyone seems to say hello with a smile on their face and if you need something, then they will take care of it…even before you ask. Continue reading

Firewalls and Willy Wonka

By on May 28th, 2013


Let me start with a disclaimer:  I’m a teacher, but I’m not a parent.  I love kids, but I don’t keep any in the house.  My favorite role in life is Aunt, and yes, I love to sugar them up and send them home.  (I have one niece pushing 14, and three nephews between 11 and 6, if you’re curious.)

Taboos are alluring.  They make you all that more curious about why you can’t have whatever it is, and they make you want it all the more.  I believe that when you deny kids something, you create a taboo.

As a kid, I felt that way about sugary cereal.  There was none allowed in our house.  Continue reading

Education, Politics, and What Really Matters

By on April 29th, 2013

Photo Credit: http://gov.cbia.com

Photo Credit: http://gov.cbia.com

For as long as I can remember I’ve had an opinion – a strong one – and a pervasive need to engage others in friendly debate, even for the purpose of persuasion. My parents taught me early that your greatest attributes can also be your Achilles’ heel if you do not harness the positive elements of your character. Passionate can be seen as obstinate if you are not careful, assertive can be aggressive, and confident can be arrogant – it is all a matter of perception. Knowing that, I take my strong opinions and attempt to portray myself as a passionate, assertive, confident woman who never crosses the line to obstinate, aggressive, or arrogant. That is my disclaimer. Continue reading

Home Education

By on April 18th, 2013

Home Education
The term “homeschooling” continues to raise the eyebrows or evoke comments of skepticism from the mainstream. Even though homeschooling has been in practice since the 18th century, for some it still feels novel and new.

As we look at the evolution of homeschooling, we find that some of our most accomplished athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders were homeschooled. The list may surprise you. Continue reading

Why FLVS is Important for Kids

By on April 15th, 2013

Why FLVS is Important for Kids

When people ask me what I do and I tell them I’m a teacher, they almost always ask, “Where?” When I reply Florida Virtual School, I am often met with a confused expression. Then the questions start. Where is it located? How do the students take their courses? How often do you see them? What kinds of courses are offered? Why would kids want to take their courses on a computer anyway?  Of course I try to answer all of these questions in the best way I can, but I never know if I get across to people how important online schooling can be for students. Maybe I didn’t even fully realize it myself until today. Continue reading

One Size Fits No One

By on March 26th, 2013

FLVS Needs Your Help!It’s legislative season in Tallahassee again.  We know that March will come every year, yet every year it seems such a shock to us that FLVS must stand ready to defend its district against those who would cut first and consider later.

This battle is recursive—we do it over and over and over again.  But, when you are a space-creator, you must also be a space-holder.  Continue reading

Leap of Faith

By on March 14th, 2013

Leap of FaithThere is a reason that I am at Florida Virtual School (FLVS) – my aunt made me take a leap of faith. In 1997, a friend interviewed for Florida High School, an early name for FLVS. When she came back from the interview, she said, “You need to go interview – this is made for you.” So, I went to meet with Julie Young and heard about the plans for this radical new thing called a virtual school.

After being offered a position, I went home and agonized all night. I had a nice teaching job where I knew what was going to happen tomorrow, and I had a pretty good idea what was going to happen next year and the following. This was radical – no one in the country was trying to create a public virtual school. It could fail before it even started. Continue reading

The Student Data Backpack from the Practitioner’s Point of View

By on February 21st, 2013

DATA BackpackRecently, I spent a little time reading the Digital Learning Now Smart Series whitepaper: DATA BACKPACKS: Portable Records & Learner Profiles. This topic is of interest and importance for the following reasons:

FLVS is committed to keeping the student at the center of every decision that we make. How can we be sure we are making good decisions if we have limited data?

The current process for retrieving the student data we can get is extremely time consuming, lengthy, and really just stinks all the way around. Continue reading