online learning

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In His Own Words: Hudson Ortize Travels the World Thanks to IDVA


Hudson Ortize is in his sixth year at Idaho Virtual Academy (IDVA). The 11th grader recently returned from his third trip to Israel with his father’s church tour. He checks in to talk about his travels and how online schooling has given him the ability to travel the world without falling behind in his classes. 


Over the last six years, I have traveled to London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Kenya and IsraelI have had the ability to take all of these trips during the school year thanks to the schedule flexibility provided by IDVA. I enjoy the fact that I can work ahead in my classes so I can travel, having already completed my schoolwork. I have also learned to take responsibility for my own work to stay on track. 

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Online Student and Songwriter Hits the Top Ten on iTunes



Written by Tatyana White-Jenkins


Ashton Edminster, a 17-year-old singer-songwriter and student at Texas Virtual Academy (TXVA), is using the opportunities online schooling gives her to focus on her budding music career.  


Inspired by Disney Channel singers like Hannah Montana and Selena Gomez, Ashton decided that she wanted to pursue a career in music at the age of 11Now Ashton’s music career is thriving, with over 15,000 followers on her Twitter page@MusicByAshton, and an EP on iTunes called For My Darling. Her first single, “Break the Distance,” debuted in the Top 10 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts and sold 1,000 downloads in the first 24 hours. 


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Nat'l Bullying Prevention Month: Why Online School Works So Well

Sheri McKeever teaches special education at Insight School of Minnesota (ISMN).

October is National Bullying Prevention month. Online education can assist students in making healthier choices when it comes to preventing bullying or by avoiding a potentially negative situation. We all know that certain youth have a tendency to point out the negative aspects of others, whether that is through someone’s looks, actions, abilities, or personality. Online education provides a safe environment for students to learn and develop without disclosing aspects of themselves that have made them a target in the past.

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Keystone Student Wins Same Student Essay Contest as Taylor Swift




Written by: Tatyana White-Jenkins


“When my mom and I came to live with my dad in the US, I knew I was here for a larger purpose.” That is what Keystone student Hayat Cherif wrote her sophomore year in an essay titled “What Keeps Me Going,” an essay inspired by her passion for helping others.


Her powerful essay made her one of ten winners of the Creative Communication's national essay contest-  the same writing contest pop superstar Taylor Swift won back in 2008! 


Now a junior at Keystone, Hayat is able to use the flexibility of online schooling to realize that larger purpose: helping others.  


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Happy Constitution Day!

Image result for constitution day

Written by Victoria Bannon

Happy Constitution Day! On September 17th, we celebrate the 42 Founding Fathers of the United States who gathered in Philadelphia to write and sign the Constitution over the steamy summer of 1787. Constitution Day celebrates the last day of the convention, where 39 of the delegates signed the Constitution and created the government that we have today.

The delegates traveled hundreds of miles to get to one another in May 1787, something that is unfamiliar to K12-powered virtual students, who can connect with their classmates and teachers with just a click of a button. The delegates chose to meet in Philadelphia, the largest city at the time, with just over 40,000 people.

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For This Well Traveled WYVA Student, the World is his Classroom

WYVA student Raphel Tucker at Cinque Terre, Italy

Written by Jenna Needham

Being in a military family means that there is a possibility that your family will have to frequently move. What people don’t realize is that the children of these families often have trouble maintaining a stable education. This was the case for Raphel Tucker before joining Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA).

After living in Japan for the first seven years of his life, Raphel's father, who is a master sergeant in the Air Force, was re-stationed to Wyoming. After starting 2nd grade at his new brick and mortar school, his teachers quickly noticed that Raphel was too advanced for 2nd grade and wanted to move him to the 4th grade at only 7 years old.

“We didn't want to do that to him. We recently moved from another Air Force base and he was just getting adjusted to his new classroom, but we also didn't want him to be bored in school and not challenged enough,” said Raphel’s mother, Tina.

This situation made Tina look into other schooling options that may better suit Raphel. Together, they thoroughly researched alternative schools and found that WYVA could be the perfect fit. They applied and enrolled as soon as they could and he has been there ever since.

“Raphel can work at an advanced pace and is constantly stimulated and learning. There are many classes for him to choose from including AP and honors courses. He pretty much can take as many classes and electives as he can handle,” Tina explained. “Even though he has Class Connect lectures he attends with multiple students, he benefits from the one-on-one attention from his teachers, as well as from teacher office hours for further guidance if need be.”

When Raphel’s father began getting stationed around the world again, WYVA was there to provide an educational option that was the best fit for the family. In 2011, his family moved to Aviano, Italy, where they are currently stationed, and Raphel was able to make the transcontinental move without interfering with his education.

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Praise & Appreciation

Earlier this month, the Nation marked Teacher Appreciation Week.  This special week every year couldn’t come at a more perfect time- the final month of the school year when we’re wrapping things up, starting to grow a little weary, and when the students’ excitement about summer break is starting to become noticeable!

In fact, during this week, I began inwardly questioning whether students were enjoying my classes anymore- - when all-of-a-sudden I received a “day-changing” email. Our amazing middle school advisor worked alongside students to produce a touching video for teachers. With her help, students posted some of the things they appreciated about a specific teacher on the whiteboard during homeroom to later be shared. Our advisor put together a video with each teacher’s slide.  After watching this heartfelt video, I was moved to tears. 

Throughout the week, there were other great emails, videos, and even prizes from various teams in our organization.  It all meant so much and I really appreciate not only the thoughts behind this touching tribute, but the time taken during busy schedules just to let me know students care and notice my hard work. Then it occurred to me… Am I doing that enough with my students? Receiving praise all week made me wonder if I was giving enough myself. The answer was probably not. I, like the students, was ready for a break.  I felt like I was saying “good job”, but nothing deeper. 

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Online Instruction Fosters Deep Connection for OHVA Teacher

Heather Petersen, 40, always wanted to be a teacher. When she was a little girl she’d have her siblings and cousins pretend to be her students as she instructed them on her own chalkboard.

Today, after 16 years of teaching, Heather’s love for teaching children continues, just in a less traditional method than using chalk on a board. A teacher with Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA), Heather has been with the school for 13 years.

“I really do enjoy a lot about it,” Heather said about her long-time career with online teaching. “I really liked being home when my children were little so I could run them to preschool and just be able to have that time and relationship with them working from home.”

Heather started her teaching career in a Christian school in Toledo until a charter school came in and took over. She then took a position with the public school system, where she taught for several years as a second grade teacher.

Heather, who has six children of her own, was a victim of budgetary cuts within the struggling public school system and left at home with a new baby and a lot of anxiety about how she was going to help provide for her burgeoning family. That’s when she saw job openings at the Ohio Virtual Academy.

“I am an anxious person so I was getting worried about how we were going to pay our bills,” Heather said. “Finding OHVA was really a blessing.”

Recognizing her gift for teaching, OHVA offered Heather a teacher position and she quickly accepted. The position has been a perfect fit for her both personally and professionally.

Heather now teaches iSupport for first graders who are struggling with their reading and writing. What Heather especially loves is the unique format the online schooling offers so she can tailor her lessons to each child’s individual needs.

“One little boy was very hesitant to work with us, but I knew Batman was really his thing. So after getting a lot of pushback, I went to Walmart and bought a Batman mask. In a breakout room, I put it on and told him, ‘Read to me!’ and I didn’t necessarily get the exact results I wanted to, but from then on he was much more relaxed and works with me more with not nearly as much pushback,” Heather said.