online education

Shawna Stueck's picture

WIVA Teacher Writes the Book on Back to School – Literally!


The first day of school can conjure up images of nervous and excited children, equally anxious parents, frantic new schedules, school busses, backpacks, story times, “I survived” notes home, and the flood of First Day of School pictures on Facebook - a rite of passage for students and parents!  

For virtual school students and families, there is just as much change, excitement, nervousness, and anticipation that mark each new year and new milestone as our brick and mortar counterparts.  Yet, there often seems to be less awareness and supports available to help virtual learners capture, express, share and, yes, validate those same shared moments and feelings.     

This became all too real to me last month when I was trying to find a suitable First Day of School book to provide our K-2 students as a read aloud opportunity at Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA), where I teach all subjects, including early literacy.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a plethora of storybooks geared towards everything from making kids laugh on their first day of school to helping them understand what their day or even school year will be like.  There are even stories like The Kissing Hand, which is about a raccoon who is hesitant to leave his mother for school.  This book in particular is a fan favorite in early grades with plenty of opportunities for extension projects that also allow students to bring a little something special home to mom after their first day to set her fears at bay as well.   

Elizabeth Nelson's picture

The Five Questions I Get Asked about Virtual Education

1. So do you just monitor online work?
Yes, I DO monitor online work but so much more too!  I call families. I TEACH students in a virtual classroom. I create and constantly update beautifully, colored spreadsheets to keep track of my student’s progress, test scores, assignment scores, attendance, and intervention supports. I tutor students in a virtual math lab. I hold small group virtual class sessions to help my struggling learners. I collaborate with my colleagues. I brainstorm strategies to engage my reluctant learners.  I create dynamic math lessons. 

2. Do you wear your pajamas to work every day?
Nope!  Usually yoga pants and a comfortable shirt.

Jennifer Richardson's picture

Virtual Education – It Works for the Military!

As a virtual educator, I’m often questioned about the validity of such an approach with students in kindergarten through 12th grade. “Can kids really learn online? How can you possibly tell if they are doing anything? Aren’t they just at home playing games all day long?” The answers are simple:  Yes, Technology, and No.

On a recent flight home from Washington, D.C., I sat next to a gentleman who handles education and training for members of the United States Military… and guess how they do it? Virtually.  The U.S. Military is an excellent example of the power of virtual education and blended learning programs. We are all familiar with the concept of boot camp, and it conjures up images of men and women doing hundreds of pushups and trudging through the mud while being barked orders from a gruff, drill instructor. While this is certainly an aspect of military training, we civilians may be unaware of the high-tech 21st century addition of online training programs and the gamification of real-world scenarios. What is the value of this online training? Why not just buy these cadets an Xbox or take them out for a game of laser tag? The answer is information. Military leaders and trainers get a wealth of information from watching new enlistments interact with their more traditional training programs and with their game simulations. They know who excels in certain areas, and who needs extra support in others. They can even pinpoint appropriate career paths thanks to powerful algorithms and a wealth of essential data.

Let’s face it, if we have technology that is smart enough to show us advertisements on Facebook for a product we’ve just viewed on Amazon, we certainly have technology smart enough to help us to really know our learners.

K12 Inc.'s picture

GWUOHS Student to Perform at this Weekend’s U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic Trials

Sophia and her teammates compete in Acrobatic Gymnastics

Written by Victoria Bannon

Sophia Handel, a rising 12th grader at The George Washington University Online School (GWUOHS), will perform at the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic trials in San Jose this Saturday, July 9th, in Acrobatic Gymnastics. Though not yet an official Olympic sport, supporters hope the team discipline, a combination of dance and tumbling, one day will be recognized.

Sophia, an Annapolis resident, began Acro Gymnastics when she was nine-years-old and trains for three hours a day, five days a week. Her competition schedule keeps her traveling around the U.S. and internationally. Sophia didn’t want her sport to impede upon her education so she decided to enroll at GWUOHS last year.

K12 Inc.'s picture

Georgia Cyber Academy Student Damácia Howard Crowned Miss Georgia Pre-Teen Queen

GCA student and newly-crowned Miss Georgia Pre-Teen Queen Damácia Howard shows off her 1st place trophy.

Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) rising 8th grader Damácia Howard dazzled the judges this weekend and was crowned 2016 Miss Georgia Pre-Teen Queen. Damácia showed off her natural beauty and grace June 30th- July 2nd in this National American Miss competition. She will head to Anaheim, California this Thanksgiving to compete for the national pre-teen title. National American Miss awarded her the Volunteer Service Award for the pre-teen division, as well.

K12 Inc.'s picture

GCA Robotics Whiz to Get Hands-On Training at College

GCA student Mathew Spellman shows off his robotics collection

While some kids want nothing to do with intellectual pursuits during the summer months, Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) 9th grader Mathew Spellman will head to robotics camp for a week at Lake Superior State University.

“Mathew is very excited to get hands-on experience with real-life robotics in research and development,” Rose Mary Spellman, Mathew’s mother, said. He will work on small group projects in the robotics lab at Lake Superior State University with professors and graduate students there.

Gina Warren's picture

Standardized Testing for Virtual Students

Standardized testing is simply a part of educating students in the world of data-driven instruction.  For a student that typically schools from the comfort and security of their own home, as the majority of our students do, that task can be a bit overwhelming.  Having been a test site coordinator at LAVCA, I have seen this on our students’ faces often as they entered our testing sites.   While we have always strived to make our students feel safe and secure, this year our team truly refined our strategies. 

Our children come to us for so many reasons.  Traditional school settings have not worked for them and often the reasons relate closely to the testing environment that we have to create during state testing.  Students are required to arrive on a schedule, work in large groups and complete tasks with, in some cases, strict time limits.   Additionally, our children sometimes face challenges that include not knowing the person that is administering the assessment for their group, not knowing any of the other students in their respective groups and they may have previous experiences that cause additional fear or anxiety that brought them to us initially. 

K12 Inc.'s picture

Michigan Virtual Charter Academy's Eighth Grade Novelist


Ganna and her second book, Scribblers

Written by Victoria Bannon

Right now, most eighth grade students are gearing up for high school. Not publishing their second novel.  

But Michigan Virtual Charter Academy’s Ganna Omar isn’t your typical eighth grade student.  


“I started getting serious about writing when I was eleven years old, but I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was nine.”  Now thirteen, her second book, entitled ‘Scribbles’, was released in April 2016 via CreateSpace publishing, and is available through Amazon.  


K12 Inc.'s picture

GCA Rising Star to Sing National Anthem at Major League Baseball Game

Chloe performs in “Crazy for You”, a Gershwin musical. Photo courtesy of  the Orbit Arts Academy

An entire stadium of energized baseball fans will be abuzz as Georgia Cyber Academy 11th grader Chloe McSwain performs the National Anthem at an Atlanta Braves game on July 15th! Chloe is well-prepared, as she sang a gorgeous rendition of the song at last month’s graduation.

“GCA’s graduation was the first time Chloe actually sang the National Anthem for a large crowd and it was extremely well-received,” said her mother, Tiffany McSwain. “Chloe also got to meet GCA’s Head of School, Matt Arkin, and the Lt. Governor of Georgia, Casey Cagle, who delivered commencement remarks.”

Chloe knew back in the third grade that a traditional brick and mortar school wasn’t the right fit. She and Tiffany agreed Chloe needed an alternative option so she could focus on academics while still being able to pursue her performing arts passion.  Chloe began school with GCA in the 4th grade.

In order to reach her goal of being admitted into a performing arts academy following high school, Chloe must be accepted both academically and musically. For this reason, Chloe must be accomplished in both academics and art. She needs to strike a careful balance between both. This makes online schooling an outstanding option.

K12 Inc.'s picture

Catching Up with IDVA Valedictorian and White House Science Fair Honoree Olivia Thomas

IDVA Valedictorian Olivia Thomas is all smiles as she delivers her graduation speech

Between graduating as Valedictorian and presenting her self-designed videogame in the White House Red Room, Idaho Virtual Academy’s (IDVA’s) Olivia Thomas has had quite a momentous year!

Olivia started on her road to the top of her IDVA class in the 1st grade, and has loved her schooling every day since. After just a few weeks into 1st grade at her former brick and mortar school, Olivia was bored and needed a more involved and stimulating education. “I knew she had a lot of potential and I wanted her to be challenged,” Trish Thomas, Olivia’s mother, said. “The K12 curriculum was extremely rich and it just worked.”

Fast forward twelve years later and Olivia delivered her Valedictorian address in three separate locations surrounded by the peers she’s grown close with, while attending school virtually.