Jennifer Schultze's picture

Teacher Perspective: Back to School at Wyoming Virtual Academy

Today marks the first day of school for the 2015-2016 school year at Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA). WYVA is a program of the Niobrara County School District #1 and is open to students in grades K through 12. I have proudly been an online teacher for all of the six years that WYVA has been available in the state.

I come from a long line of teachers and know the effect that they have on young lives. My grandfather was a math teacher who was dedicated to struggling students. He took me under his wing and influenced my decision to become a teacher.

I am currently a music teacher at WYVA, and while it may seem challenging to teach the subject over the internet there are many fundamental similarities. As a teacher I see the same kids, same hearts, and same stories – the online setting doesn’t change those basic facts. I have become a stronger instructor and better at engaging students while teaching at WYVA because of the online environment, not despite it.

Many of the students I teach are struggling because of personal or home-life issues. Last year, there was a student that struggled to complete quizzes and I learned that the student had difficulty reading. We met regularly one-on-one and I soon discovered that the student was an auditory learner and had a great passion and aptitude for music. One of the elements I enjoy most about teaching online at WYVA is the ability to meet with students and provide individualized instruction.

Ashley Collier's picture

K12 Back to School Highlights: Louisiana, Arizona, and Georgia

Back to school season is upon us and many K12 families across the nation are logging in to start the school year at their online schools of choice.

Over the next few weeks we will spotlight schools that are gearing up for the start of school.


Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy (LAVCA) families went back to school on August 10th.  In its fifth year of operation, LAVCA currently serves students in grades K-12. By combining individualized online instruction, hands-on curriculum and the support of highly qualified and state-certified Louisiana teachers, LAVCA helps students discover their individual learning style.

LAVCA Head of School, Dr. Perry Daniels says, "The start of the school year is always an exciting time and we are looking forward to welcoming both our new and our returning families to school year 2015. Our administrative and teaching staff is committed to the success of every child in the program."

Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) is preparing for the start of school by continuing to work with families to provide a complete education that is tailored to individual needs so every student can succeed.

In May, AZVA was given a high "B" school grade under the Arizona accountability system after improving its marks in a number of areas and achieving a high persistence rate among charter schools and other online instructional programs.  The school, which serves a higher population of low-income students than the state average, has also been credited for reducing the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students.

K12 Inc.'s picture

Weekly Roundup: Back to school

Arkansas student attend school via virtual academy

Parents have choices regarding where their children go to school, but what about skipping school altogether and going the virtual route? It's now possible in Arkansas for a student to go from kindergarten through high school and never set foot in a traditional classroom. 

As of this year, the Arkansas Virtual Academy is allowing students to attend school via the web from kindergarten through 11th grade of high school. After the next school year, students will be able to complete 12th grade and graduate from high school, allowing future students to possibly never experience traditional classrooms.

Is virtual school a good match for your child?

Joshua McMurtry was a strong student, receiving high marks from his elementary school teachers. But the Milwaukee fourth-grader still didn't feel confident academically, expressing concern to his parents that he was uncertain about what he was getting out of school.

After researching various options and talking with family and friends, Joshua's mom, Cheryl, decided to enroll him in the Wisconsin Virtual Academy, a full-time, tuition-free online public charter school for grades K-12 open to students statewide.

"It was the best decision for him and for us. During his middle school years, we wanted to ensure that he was getting what he needed," said Cheryl McMurtry.

Arizona Virtual Academy Students Log On to Start School Year
Press Release

The Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) is ready for its first day of school.  After raising its overall school grade with the state, the online public charter school says it is eager build on its success.

Jeff Kwitowski's picture

The Rest of the Story

The New York Observer recently published a piece about K12 and the education organization, Foundation for Excellence in Education.  The author, Ari Rabin Havt, a senior fellow with Media Matters and co-author of a book charging that Fox News is a “propaganda machine,” is not what you would consider an impartial observer.

Nevertheless, prior to publication, I sent him detailed responses to questions about K12 with the outside hope that he would tell it straight.  He did not.  Instead, he drove his agenda; resurfacing old claims but leaving on the cutting room floor the key facts and information that did not fit his narrative. 

Let me fill in what he left out:

On Florida:  An IG report concluded that a claim made about K12 teachers was unfounded; teachers were state-certified.  Other school districts found K12 was in full compliance. K12 is a state-approved online learning provider in Florida and serves over 50 school districts in the state.

On teacher grading:  The author seemed fixated on substantiating a “grade fixing” story in Tennessee that was completely debunked by the school’s teachers.  Just because the local news station that originally broadcast the report would not correct the story on its website – what a surprise! – doesn’t change the fact that it was a manufactured and bogus story.  

On NCAA:  NCAA has its own standards for nontraditional courses. However, these standards are not based on outputs (course completion, grades, end of course exams, course content, or other measures of competency), but rather on inputs – i.e. the way in which an online course is delivered.  Digital Learning experts have criticized this approach.  K12 is nationally accredited by AdvanceED. Its partner schools are state-approved and accredited, and offer courses that are universally accepted by colleges and universities including top Ivy League schools.

On Academics:  The author relies heavily on an old report from National Education Policy Center (NEPC), an organization that collaborates with the powerful teachers unions and is hostile to charter schools.  This report has been criticized for using deeply flawed data. I sent him the most complete and accurate collection of data on performance of K12 partner schools, but he must have never looked at it or simply dismissed altogether.  But it’s all there.  You can find K12’s annual Academic Reports on our website along with other reports and white papers that show academic trends are improving at K12-partner schools -- better overall outcomes, improved student proficiency rates over time, success in closing achievement gaps, etc.  Take a look for yourself here

K12 Inc.'s picture

Weekly Roundup: Supporting Online K-12 Teachers, Elite Performers using Online Learning, and Celebrating School Choice

K12 Inc. Partners with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching to Develop Teacher Evaluation Rubric and Handbook for Online Learning
Press Release

In partnership with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET), K12 has developed a researched-based rubric to serve as the basis for evaluation, coaching, and teacher development in K12's online learning environments.

Elite Performers and Athletes in School Use Online Learning on Path to Success
Learning Liftoff

Elite performers and athletes in school discover that online learning is the solution for meeting both their academic and professional goals. K12 provides the ability to study while practicing, hundreds— even thousands—of miles from home. That flexibility of schedule presents opportunities that traditional schools simply can’t match.

“Doing all that traveling would be very difficult at a ‘regular’ school that was not over-the-top flexible,” says Tom Aney, whose daughter Jessie is a nationally ranked tennis player.

Teen dancer/author/scholar never misses a step
The Bakersfield Californian

With a 4.0-plus grade point average, a packed dance schedule and a fantasy book trilogy in the works, calling Kristyn Van Cleave “busy” might be an understatement.

The 16-year-old is about to start her senior year through the online California Virtual Academy, where she takes honors and advanced placement classes. Next spring she’ll graduate after just three years of high school. Last month, Van Cleave’s academic achievements caught the attention of the National Society of High School Scholars, which she was invited to join to have access to a number of scholarships.

Margaret Jorgensen's picture

Partnering with the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching to Support Online K-12 Teachers

We are proud to announce that K12 Inc. and the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) have partnered to develop a teaching evaluation rubric and handbook for online learning.

The rubric represents a single common teacher evaluation system for online K-12 teachers to ground online teacher effectiveness in a strong foundation of research and experience.

The partnership and rubric are examples of how K12 is leading the field of online teaching, and symbolic of our continued commitment to supporting educators in online and blended learning environments.

The research-based rubric will serve as the basis for evaluation, coaching, and teacher development in K12’s online learning environment. The K12-NIET rubric is currently being piloted for the 2015-2016 school year in many K12-partner schools across the country.

NIET’s Senior Vice President of Services and Partnerships, Kevin Guitterrez stated that “the partnership with K12 on this effort allowed us to work on creating an exemplary rubric for K-12 educators in the online setting.“

NIET researchers held focus groups, observed teachers at work, conducted detailed interviews, and paid special attention to teacher practices and behaviors. In partnership with K12, NIET worked to develop a rubric that was field-tested and underwent multiple iterations to ensure it was applicable to the teachers in the field.

K12 Inc.'s picture

Weekly Roundup: Student advocacy, Back to School, and a “SportsKid”

Weekly Roundup showcases stories and information about the students and schools we serve, K12 educators, and important education issues.

Union County school board approves K12 Inc. pact
Knoxville News Sentinel

The Tennessee Virtual Academy took another step toward being ready for the upcoming school year. On Thursday, the Union County school board voted to continue its contract with K12 Inc., which provides the curriculum for the virtual school.

Cottage Grove teen lobbies for those with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
South Washington County Bulletin

Recent high school graduate Gary Riege is a science and math whiz. He’s also a Star Wars fanatic, avid computer science techie and Advanced Placement student. He’s soft spoken, but he has big ideas, especially when it comes to bringing awareness to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and the need for more educational opportunities.

“I needed special education but (the district) always fought us on almost everything we asked for,” he said. “They wouldn’t follow my (individual education plan), and other times they wouldn’t add things. And when they would modify it they would remove all of my supports.”

Frustrated with the inability to partake in courses he knew he would excel in, Riege enrolled in the Minnesota Virtual Academy. He soon began taking Advanced Placement classes, delved deeper into the mechanics of computer science and got a confidence boost from supportive teachers that he said helped “big time.”

Class Acts: From the Cover of SI kids to a College Scholarship
Learning Liftoff

Few teen athletes have been more celebrated than Jessie Aney. In 2010, Aney was named Sports Illustrated’s “SportsKid” of the Year for her excellence in tennis and ice hockey. Now, after establishing herself as one of the nation’s leading young tennis players, Jessie will be attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full tennis scholarship.

A graduate of Minnesota Virtual Academy, this 2015 Class Act student completed her high school course requirements in just three years, enabling her to focus on her unique abilities.

K12 Inc.'s picture

Weekly Roundup - 7.10.15

Weekly Roundup showcases stories and information about the students and schools we serve, K12 educators, and important education issues.

K12 Inc. Reports Improved Outcomes at Minnesota Virtual Academy
Press Release

K12 Inc. released a new report showing that Minnesota Virtual Academy (MNVA) – a statewide online public school serving students in kindergarten through high school --  raised its academic outcomes in Reading and Mathematics, while launching new teacher initiatives and improving its academic and school community programs.   

More Ohio students learning via online schools

More children than ever in Ohio are learning via online schools, a trend that local parents say is more the result of wanting more for their child than it is about their local school district. Increased popularity for this option has seen enrollments totals blossom from 44 such schools serving approximately 17,000 students in 2004 to 27 e-schools serving 39,044 students in the 2013-14 school year. That simultaneous decrease in the amount of schools and increase in enrollment has bolstered class ranks, leading to numerous Ohio e-learning institutions graduating their largest classes ever, including Ohio Virtual Academy, an accredited, full-time, online public community school that in June graduated 750 students, the largest graduating class in school history.

Utah Virtual Academy host Bring a Friend Event
The Spectrum

The Utah Virtual Academy hosts Bring a Friend Event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the St. GeorgeChildren’s Museum, 86 S. Main Street. Come to discover, play, and learn about the unique virtual educational environment. K12 and UTVA staff will be available to answer questions informally and distribute information packets.

Class Acts: Online Student with College Credit to Get Philosophical
Learning Liftoff

Given his affinity for computers, online learning proved the right fit for Matthew Bachman, a 2015 Nevada Virtual Academy (NVVA) graduate who has earned $7,000 in scholarships to attend Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

“I liked that [NVVA] was self-paced, allowing me plan my school around my life as opposed to planning my life around school,” Matthew said. “Online learning has the advantage of giving a student independence as well as one-on-one [learning] experience that may help in the future.

Mary Gifford's picture

Improved Outcomes at Minnesota Virtual Academy


We are excited to roll out our sixth report in the academic white paper series featuring Minnesota Virtual Academy (MNVA) – a statewide online public school serving students in kindergarten through high school.

The report highlights how MNVA has raised academic outcomes in Reading and Mathematics, while launching new teacher initiatives and improving academic and school community programs.

A full copy of the report can be read here.

Founded in 2002, MNVA has grown from a small online elementary school to serve middle and high school grades. MNVA is one of four schools within Minnesota’s Houston Public School district and, of those four, is the only school that is fully online.

Krin Abraham, Superintendent of Houston Public School, explains that MNVA has responded to school growth by “strategically implementing key practices and programs to improve student academic performance. From building a strong community across our school, to developing a concise school-wide academic plan, our focus remains on how best to serve our students.”

The report highlights that MNVA leadership meets annually with teachers and staff to review prior-year state testing data to develop a school-wide academic plan. In response to the 2017 annual yearly progress (AYP) target set by the Minnesota Department of Education, MNVA set a school-wide goal on improving student performance in Reading. Through dedicated efforts during the 2013-2014 year, MNVA met its school-wide goal.

K12 Inc.'s picture

Weekly Roundup - 7.2.15

Weekly Roundup showcases stories and information about the students and schools we serve, K12 educators, and important education issues.

K12 Inc. Report Shows Achievement Gains at Wisconsin Virtual Academy
Press Release

K12 Inc. released a new report highlighting how a community of educators, students, and families working together to build strong relationships can drive strong academic performance at Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA). WIVA is a statewide online public charter school authorized by McFarland School District, serving students in kindergarten through high school.

George Washington University Online High School Honors 2015 Graduates at In-person Ceremony
Press Release

The George Washington University Online High School (GWUOHS), an online college preparatory school for students in grades 6-12, will recognize the Class of 2015 on Saturday, June 27, in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom at the GWU Foggy Bottom Campus. This year, twenty-nine students will receive their high school diploma from GWUOHS. The GWUOHS Class of 2015 earned a combined total of more than one million dollars in college scholarships. Graduates are expected to pursue higher education at institutions including Bryn Mawr, The George Washington University, Rutgers, University of California-Berkeley and New York University, among others. The commencement speaker for the ceremony on Saturday will be Dr. David Pelizzari, Vice President of Content and Curriculum at K12 Inc. and a founding board member at GWUOHS.

Tennessee Virtual Academy not enrolling new students this year

The Tennessee Virtual Academy says it will not enroll new students this school year, but will instead work with the approximately 800 students already enrolled with a focus on changing assessments and concentrating on current curriculum. If the school feels the changes are successful, they say they will work on enrolling new students next school year.

Area American Legion Units Send Delegates to State
Weekly Mailer

The Burley American Legion Post #17 and Auxiliary Unit #17 are sponsoring a total of nine local students to attend a state-wide event designed to give them hands on experience in the legislative process. Post #17 is sponsoring two Burley High School boys, Hector Magana and Jaime Mojarra to attend Boys State and the auxiliary unit is sponsoring six Burley High School girls, Andrea Cardona, Melissa McMurray, Sarah Millar, Alejandra Mojica, Marisa Shaw and Shailey Woodward and one girl from Idaho Virtual Academy, Abigail Patterson. All participants are outstanding examples of today’s youth and are commended for their efforts.