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K12 Inc.'s picture

Weekly Roundup - 3.30.15

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

Former Tech students shepherd video game app to market
(Recorder)

Matt Boudah, 19, Avery Rovatti, 18, both of South Deerfield and Aaron Milewski 19, of Gill, show code and their finished product in The Recorder office. The trio, as Temple Studios,  have developed a video game app for iOS devices called Shear Resistance. The three know each other from the Franklin County Technical School’s programming and web development program, from which Boudah and Milewski graduated in 2013. Rovatti is finishing high school online with the Massachusetts Virtual Academy.

Letter: TN Virtual Academy should stay open
(Knoxville News Sentinel)

In a recent article about my school ("Though future in doubt, TN Virtual Academy fights on"), Union County's director of schools said that the staff, students and families of TNVA will continue to fight to remain open. I am one of those fighting.

Prodigies amaze, delight in Springtime Concert
(The Spectrum)

Guest conductor William Rhoden leads the Southwest Symphony Orchestra in a stunning event to showcase some of southern Utah's best and brightest young music artists April 3, at the Cox Performing Arts Center.

Rylee Dalton has been playing the violin since age six. In addition to the violin, Rylee loves to sing and act. She especially enjoys performing with her family at multiple venues and is a 10th grader at Utah Virtual Academy. Rylee performs the "Presto," also from Barber's "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra."

K12 Inc.'s picture

Weekly Roundup - 3.20.15

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

UA Student Headed for Career in Special Education
(Inside Tucson Business)

University of Arizona student Kateri Hitchcock will be the one in cap and gown this May, but it’s others who will benefit most from her degree. Hitchcock, a 21-year-old Tucson native, was inspired to study special education because of her brother, Maximilian, 6, who was born with Down syndrome. Kateri, one of seven children, was homeschooled via the Arizona Virtual Academy, a state-certified online public schooling system. Being at home allowed her to help out with her brother, which while challenging at times, has been every bit as rewarding. 

POLL: Tennessee Voters Overwhelmingly Agree Public Schools Should Not Be Closed Based Solely on State Tests
(Press Release)

A recent poll by the Tarrance Group found an overwhelming majority of Tennessee registered voters oppose the closing of a public school based solely on results from the state's standardized test. The same poll found voters were even more strongly against state legislators who supported such closings. 

Though future in doubt, TN Virtual Academy fights on
(Knoxnews)

While Tennessee’s Education Commissioner Candice McQueen has upheld a decision to close the Tennessee Virtual Academy at the end of the year unless its scores continue to improve, school officials are still fighting for it.

Announcing Open Enrollment

K12 Inc.'s picture

Weekly Roundup - 3.16.15

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

School Choice Parents Sue Tennessee Education Commissioner
(TN Watchdog)

Two sets of parents of children attending a Tennessee virtual charter school have filed a lawsuit to keep the school open. State officials want to shut it down after the school year. As reported, parents at Tennessee’s Virtual Academy said test scores are gradually improving, and closing the school now is premature.

11-year old just wants to skate
(Bluff Country News)

Laci Skifter, an 11-year-old, is always in motion…twirling, jumping, running, sliding into a room like she’s meant to arrive that way with an audience awaiting her.  But at the same time, she could care less if an audience was there – the Minnesota Virtual Academy student’s got her confidence spinning and ready for her next figure skating competition on Sunday, March 15, in Wisconsin.

Fuel Education Introduces 70 New High School Courses in its Expanded 2015-2016 Catalog
(Press Release)

As school districts across the country seek to expand high school course options, improve academic outcomes, and help students prepare for state exams and high stakes tests—personalized learning solutions provider Fuel Education (FuelEd™) has added 70 new high school courses to its online catalog for the 2015-2016 school year. These new courses—many available in multiple versions suitable for students working at a wide variety of levels—give FuelEd customers the offering they need to satisfy the needs of specific student segments.

Young authors and young fans and Festival of Books
(KGUN 9)

The University of Arizona mall and surrounding area was filled with thousands today for the first day of the Tucson Festival of Books. The event draws authors from all over for book signings like Amy Tan, Valerie Plame, Dave Barry and more. Among the list of renowned authors is a newcomer of sorts, 14-year-old China Dennington. Dennington says writing takes a long time, so she goes to Arizona Virtual Academy. It is an online public school.

Ashley Collier's picture

K12’s Noodleverse Wins 2015 NAPPA Bronze Award

The National Parenting Publication Awards (NAPPA) has named K12’s Noodleverse a 2015 Bronze Winner.

Noodleverse TM Language Arts is an engaging online reading and writing skills practice and enrichment program that allows young learners to work independently to become more confident, competent readers and writers.  

NAPPA is one of the longest running and most respected awards programs in the country, and has been hailed the “go-to” source for parents and professionals seeking the best products for children and families.

“We are proud that Noodleverse continues to be recognized as a high-quality educational product for young learners,” said Dr. Melissa King, Director of Early Learning and Product Advancement. “The award is a testament to the expertise of our dedicated curriculum team. This recognition also verifies our successful commitment to providing effective and innovative education solutions for families with children of all ages.”  

Sara Baker's picture

Removing Barriers: How Online Education Provides Families Options and Students a Unique Experience

As unique and different as online public schools may seem, the only true differences lie in the logistical execution of the school programs. The heart and success of online schools depend upon the engagement level of students, parents, teachers and school leaders. And this, of course, is no different than what drives student success in brick and mortar schools.

Although we may not see each other at local football games, our online schools do create and nurture a virtual community where we are all working toward the shared goal of helping provide choices for our students for their futures. The ultimate goal of education, irrespective of the mode of delivery, is to provide students with a quality education that enables them to choose to pursue any future they would like. We know that reaching this goal requires more than just teachers assigning homework, more than students doing the homework, and more than parents making sure their students “attend” school. It requires that the school experience transcend the textbook and curriculum to engage teachers, students, families and leaders in a vivid learning community where students feel safe to be themselves and motivated to achieve even more than they had thought possible.

The foundational aspects of a school are a quality curriculum, a logical sequence of courses with an achievable scope of content, solid delivery mechanisms for curriculum content and consistent communication avenues for creating and maintaining the partnership that must exist between home and school.

But these are only the beginning of creating an exceptional school experience.

Ashley Collier's picture

Weekly Roundup -- March 6, 2015

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

Tennessee Virtual Academy Educators Tout Academic Gains at Nashville Virtual Schools Conference
(Press Release)

Educators from Tennessee Virtual Academy (TNVA), a nonprofit online public school program ofUnion County Public Schools, joined together with other virtual school leaders at a two-day virtual learning conference sponsored by Metro Nashville Virtual School in a show of support for all the state's online public schools. 

Examining Costs and Funding of Online Schools
(thinkTANK)

Reports that the consensus from industry experts is that the average cost to operate a full-time, full-service online public school is approximately $6,400 per student (compared to over $10,000 for a traditional school).  And, in general, online public schools receive about 30-40% less in total funding (state, local, and federal funds) than traditional schools. 

Tennessee legislator wants to close online charter school
(Tennessee Watchdog)

Lily is a student at the Tennessee Virtual Academy, a charter school that her mother Christy says is far more accommodating to her needs than any traditional brick-and-mortar public school. Lily excels at math and extracurricular activities and is already ahead of many students her age.

Why Online Education?
(Learning Liftoff)

When your family decides to use online education as opposed to the traditional brick-and-mortar setting, it’s for a reason. Unfortunately, that reason may be unknown to the majority, and oftentimes a stigma is attached to those who choose online education as “weird” or “unsociable.” We want to help erase those stigmas, and rewrite the labels by publicizing the many different reasons families choose to use K12 and online education.

Jeff Kwitowski's picture

Examining Costs and Funding of Online Schools

We are in the middle of the legislative season, which every year means policymakers in a few states ask about the costs and funding of full-time online public schools.  This is an issue that has come up since multi-district online schools first emerged nearly 15 years ago. 

The consensus from industry experts is that the average cost to operate a full-time, full-service online public school is approximately $6,400 per student (compared to over $10,000 for a traditional school).  And, in general, online public schools receive about 30-40% less in total funding (state, local, and federal funds) than traditional schools. 

Every online school is different.  Just like with traditional schools, operating costs for online schools will vary based on many factors, including grades served, student population, number of students, academic program offerings, and other reasons.  With traditional brick and mortar schools, for example, the cost to operate a high school is much higher than an elementary school, and schools that offer more academic programs and services will generally cost more.  Therefore, when looking at cost comparisons, it’s important to match apples to apples.  

Below is compilation of reports and studies from industry experts that have examined the costs of online schools.

Ashley Collier's picture

Weekly Roundup -- February 27, 2015

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

BERG: Pitts is wrong about Virtual Academy
(The Leaf Chronicle)

As the mother of a child who attends the Tennessee Virtual Academy, I take strong offense to Rep. Joe Pitts’ recent column (“Virtual Academy gets failing grades,” Page A5, Feb. 18). Pitts says TNVA is underperforming and needs to be closed. Yet, he fails to mention that TNVA is now one of the fastest-improving schools in the state. He also fails to mention there are more than 100 other schools in the state that are not improving as rapidly, with test scores very similar to TNVA – including Montgomery Central Middle School in his home county – that are not subject to closure.

Measuring Individual Student Progress Toward Graduation – Not a Four Year Cohort Rate
(thinkTANK)

In 2010 federal regulations went into effect that requires each state to implement a four-year cohort model as the means for calculating graduation rates. This regulation gives every student four years to graduate from the time a student enters ninth grade. Students may transfer from school to school during the four years, but the student must graduate in the fourth year. States are permitted to track a five-year graduation rate, but it can only be done alongside the four-year rate.

Fuel Education Releases Guide to Scaling Personalized Learning
(Press Release)

Personalized learning solutions provider, Fuel Education™, in association with education advocacy firm, Getting Smart®, today released a white paper exploring how schools and districts are not only implementing online and blended learning programs to address students’ individual needs, but also successfully scaling the personalized learning experience delivered through those programs.

Mary Gifford's picture

Measuring Individual Student Progress Toward Graduation - Not a Four Year Cohort Rate

The Impact of Under-Credited Students and Mobility in Fulltime Online Schools

In 2010 federal regulations went into effect that require each state to implement a four-year cohort model as the means for calculating graduation rates. This regulation gives every student four years to graduate from the time a student enters ninth grade. Students may transfer from school to school during the four years, but the student must graduate in the fourth year. States are permitted to track a five-year graduation rate, but it can only be done alongside the four-year rate.

This regulation had the goal of creating an expectation that every student can earn a high school diploma, and that graduation rates need to be tracked to show which schools are successfully graduating students in four years. The regulation assumed that students, generally, stay in the same school for four years and that states have systems to efficiently track students as they progress toward graduation.

While perhaps true in some economically advantaged communities, both of these assumptions are fundamentally flawed for far too many of our public schools. Instead, the regulation has created a “hot potato” effect that creates a perverse disincentive for enrolling under-credited students for fear of a negative impact on graduation rate.

States do have some flexibility. States may choose how to weigh graduation rates within their accountability structures.  States may elect to include additional calculations, such as six- or seven-year rates.  They may also reward methods of getting under-credited students back on track, or accelerating the pace at which a student moves toward graduation. These measurements may more accurately reflect what a school does with high school students more than a four-year cohort model. Data shows that many students who are mobile within high schools are often economically disadvantaged, under-credited, over-aged, and academically at-risk. A related report by the Evergreen Foundation (Accountability in the Digital Age, February 2015) looked at enrollment data for 24 fulltime online schools. In these schools, the report that found on average 35 percent of students who entered the schools in grade 10, 11 and 12 are not on track for graduation based on the four-year cohort rate.

Ashley Collier's picture

Weekly Roundup – February 20, 2015

Weekly Roundup is an effort to share more stories and information about the students and schools we serve, K12 educators, and important education issues. 

A Chattanooga Mom’s Plea to Keep Online Schools Open
(The Chattanoogan)

As a busy mom, it’s not often I make my way to our state Capitol to visit with my elected officials. But, last week, I had the chance to do just that as I took part in the Tennessee chapter of Public School Option’s 4th Annual Capitol Day. Joined by hundreds of families from all across the state, including many from here in the Chattanooga area, we traveled to Nashville to make our voices heard. As parents, we believe that we know the best when it comes to deciding the best possible type of education for our children. 

New Report Examines Improved Accountability Frameworks for Online Schools
(thinkTANK)

An important new report on online learning and accountability was released last week by Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning.  Titled, School Accountability in the Digital Age, the report was written and researched by John Watson and Larry Pape with Evergreen Education Group – nationally recognized experts in the field of online learning.

New Partnership Extends the Power of Online Learning to Special Education Students
(Press Release)

Across the country, schools and districts are leveraging digital learning to overcome staffing and resource challenges to improve outcomes and to address the many needs of their K-12 students—whether to expand course options, to provide assistance to those who need additional help, or to provide an alternative learning environment. Now, through a partnership between PresenceLearning and Fuel Education (FuelEd™), schools can use digital learning to address the needs of their special education students, too.   

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