Jeff Kwitowski's picture

Jeff Kwitowski, K12’s SVP of Corporate Communications, responds to NCAA’s notification of eligibility and lack of standards for digital courses

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a private membership-based organization, recently notified a number of schools affiliated with K12 Inc. that coursework from these schools will not be used in the initial-eligibility certification process for Division I and II athletics following the 2013-2014 school year. Eleven of the schools are part of a single network of schools in one state and two of the schools are full-time blended schools. All are approved public schools that meet state content and instructional time standards and graduation requirements. 

The individual schools impacted by this decision are currently waiting for the NCAA to provide the specific coursework they reviewed in making its decision. All schools have the option to appeal.

According to the NCAA’s revised legislation for nontraditional courses, students and instructors must have “ongoing access to one another” and “regular interaction” throughout the duration of the course. However NCAA does not provide schools any measurable standard or rubric used to determine what they believe is a suitable level of student-teacher interaction. Despite repeated requests, the NCAA will not publish specific student-teacher interaction guidelines for nontraditional courses, including online and digital courses.

These vague standards and unclear review process leave schools to only guess what passes NCAA’s eligibility test. This is a significant concern for all schools and districts that use digital learning programs.

In one case, the NCAA rescinded the eligibility of an accredited and state-approved online public school with over 5,000 students based on a review of old coursework from only two students, one of whom is a competitive diver and on the Dean’s List at a Division I school. Furthermore, the NCAA did not account for updated technology systems and new instructional models with increased student-teacher interaction.

K12 believes its teachers and courses meet NCAA standards. Teachers in K12-managed schools are state-certified and highly qualified. They have ongoing access and regular interaction with their students. Teachers provide direct instruction, evaluation, guidance and support to students, including direct instruction through real-time, web-based classes. In K12-managed blended schools, students gather together in a learning center every day to receive direct, face-to-face instruction with teachers – as is done in traditional schools.

Hundreds of student athletes have graduated from K12-affiliated schools and have been accepted into Division I and II colleges and universities. Many of these student athletes graduated with academic honors and continue to excel academically.  

Ashley Collier's picture

K12-TV: 2014 Academic Report

In this episode of K12-TV,  Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Margaret Jorgensen and leaders from K12's school services and education policy teams talk about the findings from our 2014 Academic Report and what that means for students, teachers and partner schools. Also, K12 Inc. Chairman and CEO Nate Davis sits down with Jeff Kwitowski to reaffirm K12’s commitment to putting student’s first and being accountable and transparent to the families we serve.

Check it out...

Related Resources

2014 Academic Report

Summary of 2014 Academic Report

Nate Davis on K12's unwavering commitment to Academic Achievement 

Nate Davis's picture

Our Unwavering Commitment to Academic Achievement

K12 has always been a mission-driven company.  We are an organization filled with educators who share a passion to serve the needs of all children.  Our culture is centered on serving families, students, and teachers.  It’s what makes K12 such a special place. Over the past year, K12 has rededicated itself to our core mission: putting students first and making their academic success foremost in everything we do.

To help every child achieve their educational goals, we need to first know who they are and where they are academically. That means we need to continuously collect data to assess where our students stand, and to find out what is working and where we must improve. And always, we must always be open, honest and transparent.

This was the goal of publishing our 2014 Academic Report. In my view, this report is the most in-depth and open assessment of overall academic performance in the schools K12 serves.  It shows K12 is committed to accountability and transparency, and that we are serious about academic improvement. 

Jeff Kwitowski's picture

K12 sets up new campus on “Peaceful Side of the Smokies”

“When they started talking about their mission, and what their goals were, and what they wanted to do, and what they planned to do, and what they were all about — just their core values — I felt like we’re a great fit…Your way of thinking is our way of thinking. That idea that you’re here to serve and to make lives better, that’s the way we all feel.”

Those were the words of the mayor of Blount County, Tennessee, as reported by The Daily Times, when he welcomed K12 Inc. to eastern Tennessee at a jam-packed press conference on Thursday, March 13.  Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell and Mayor of Alcoa, TN, Don Mull, along with a dozens of other local, county, and state public officials and business leaders, announced the opening of K12’s new Family Support Campus which will be located steps away from the McGhee Tyson Airport (Knoxville, TN airport) – on the “peaceful side of the Smokies,” as the locals proudly say.

Through this new Family Support Campus, K12 will invest over $2.4 million dollars in Tennessee – the company’s largest capital investment outside of its headquarters in Virginia – and will create 300 new jobs.  This is in addition to the 140 teachers and educators K12 currently employs throughout the state.

K12’s President and COO, Tim Murray, along with a group of Tennessee-based K12 teachers, attended the event and expressed their gratitude for all the support.   Murray spoke about K12’s culture and mission, emphasizing that K12 and this Tennessee community shared the same “values and culture” making it a perfect fit for K12’s new Family Support Campus. 

Ashley Collier's picture

K12 School Leaders Meet and Prepare for Next School Year

K12 is a company of educators.  The schools served by K12 are led by a talented group of school leaders and thousands of certified, professional teachers.  They are committed to improving outcomes for at all schools and meeting the educational needs of every individual child.

Recently, more than 100 of K12’s school leaders and educators from across the country gathered together to share ideas, best practices, and plan new academic initiatives for the upcoming 2014-15 school year. 

Check out this report from K12-TV recapping the Summit.


Mary Gifford's picture

Responding to NEPC’s Virtual Schools Report – Part 2

By:  Mary Gifford and Jeff Kwitowski

In Part 1, we examined the NEPC’s data compared to data from K12-managed online public schools. Now, let’s look at NEPC’s recommendations.

It is clear that the NEPC remains unfamiliar with many of the reporting requirements, regulatory processes and operations of full-time online public schools.  Several of their recommendations are already addressed in state regulation or statute. In most cases, these recommendations are covered by charter school authorizing practices, annual external independent audits and reporting requirements to state departments of education.

Mary Gifford's picture

Responding to NEPC’s Virtual Schools Report – Part 1

By: Mary Gifford & Jeff Kwitowski

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), an organization largely funded by the nation’s most powerful teachers’ unions, recently released its annual "Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2014" paper. NEPC is well-known for its ideological opposition to charter schools and parent choice in education.

In this report, NEPC offers 16 recommendations. Five of the recommendations already exist within the regulatory/legal/authorizing guidelines in most states and two are not supported by data or research. Seven of the recommendations hold promise for improving the success of online schools and the individual success of the hundreds of thousands of students enrolled in these schools (More on these recommendations in Part 2 )

However, before these recommendations can be considered, it is important to examine the accuracy of data in the NEPC report. It is reasonable to assume that an advocacy organization like the NEPC would position data to advance their ideological views.

Mary Gifford's picture

What the AFT does not want you to know about K12

The US News and World Report writes that one of the country’s largest and most powerful lobby unions, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – along with a political group called, In The Public Interest --launched a new website taking aim at public charter schools.  In the first of what appears to be a series of attacks on parent choice in education, the AFT-financed project specifically targets educational services providers, including K12 Inc., that provide curriculum and academic services to public charter schools.  They are apparently agitated that “for-profit” companies are servicing public schools.

However, the real issue is not that “for profits” are involved in education, (after all, private companies have been providing essential products and services to public schools for decades:  e.g. textbooks, computers, IT, construction, furniture, you name it!) it is that public charter schools disrupt the status quo by expanding options for students and empowering parents with the freedom to choose. As K12’s Jeff Kwitowski told the US News and World Report, “It is unfortunate the AFT is pushing an ‘us vs. them’ narrative, rather than focusing on working together to improve public education to help meet the educational needs of every child.  Not every child is the same.  Children need options in education.  Powerful lobbying organizations that actively oppose educational choice are at odds with parents who want the freedom to choose public school programs for their children.”

Nate Davis's picture

K12 Chairman and CEO Nate Davis on National School Choice Week

K12 Chairman and CEO stands with Newark Prep students moments before ringing the opening bell at the NY Stock Exchange. Click to view full size.

K12 Chairman and CEO stands with Newark Prep students moments before ringing the opening bell at the NY Stock Exchange.

On Monday January 27th, I joined eight remarkable students and a dedicated group of teachers, parents and school leaders from the Newark (NJ) Prep Charter School to ring the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange and kick-off a nationwide bell-ringing celebration in support of school choice. We were also joined by representatives from National School Choice Week and parent leaders from

You can watch the bell ringing ceremony here.

National School Choice Week is America's largest-ever series of education-related events, focusing on expanding education options for all children. Events stretched from New York City to California and spotlighted the importance of having choices in education and empowering parents with the freedom to decide on the school best suited for their children.

Mary Futrell's picture

Digital Learning Models Should Be Open To All

Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed our nation’s struggle to ensure equal access and opportunity for children in public education.  I saw it firsthand when, in the early 1960’s, I taught at the segregated Parker Gray High School in Alexandria, Virginia, and later at the George Washington High School when I was working to integrate the teaching staff during the height of the civil rights era.