Ashley Collier's picture

Utah Virtual Academy Exceeds 3rd Grade Reading Goal


This week Utah Virtual Academy (UTVA) announced that it exceeded its third-grade reading goal for the 2014-15 school year. 

The Utah State Office of Education conducted an analysis of third grade reading competency data and concluded that UTVA achieved an 82.8 percent target -- outperforming its school-level target by over 18 percent.

In a letter to school the Utah State Office of Education stated, "Utah Virtual Academy has achieved their uniform growth goal target for the 2014-15 school year. Congratulations on making progress towards increasing the percentage of third grade students achieving competency in reading."

The goal is notable given the state had set a uniform growth target for UTVA at 64 percent for 2014-15. Additionally, research indicates that students who are unable to read by third grade are more likely to fall behind, rarely able to catch up, and are at higher risk of dropping out of school. In recent years many states have put emphasis on improving reading outcomes for young learners.

Stacey Hutchings, UTVA Head of School, said, "We are very proud of this accomplishment. Educators know that reading is the foundation of learning. Ensuring that third grade students are proficient in reading is critically important, and I'm so proud of our teachers, staff and committed parents who are working so hard towards this goal."

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