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Weekly Roundup - 7.2.15

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

K12 Inc. Report Shows Achievement Gains at Wisconsin Virtual Academy
Press Release

K12 Inc. released a new report highlighting how a community of educators, students, and families working together to build strong relationships can drive strong academic performance at Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA). WIVA is a statewide online public charter school authorized by McFarland School District, serving students in kindergarten through high school.

George Washington University Online High School Honors 2015 Graduates at In-person Ceremony
Press Release

The George Washington University Online High School (GWUOHS), an online college preparatory school for students in grades 6-12, will recognize the Class of 2015 on Saturday, June 27, in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom at the GWU Foggy Bottom Campus. This year, twenty-nine students will receive their high school diploma from GWUOHS. The GWUOHS Class of 2015 earned a combined total of more than one million dollars in college scholarships. Graduates are expected to pursue higher education at institutions including Bryn Mawr, The George Washington University, Rutgers, University of California-Berkeley and New York University, among others. The commencement speaker for the ceremony on Saturday will be Dr. David Pelizzari, Vice President of Content and Curriculum at K12 Inc. and a founding board member at GWUOHS.

Tennessee Virtual Academy not enrolling new students this year

The Tennessee Virtual Academy says it will not enroll new students this school year, but will instead work with the approximately 800 students already enrolled with a focus on changing assessments and concentrating on current curriculum. If the school feels the changes are successful, they say they will work on enrolling new students next school year.

Area American Legion Units Send Delegates to State
Weekly Mailer

The Burley American Legion Post #17 and Auxiliary Unit #17 are sponsoring a total of nine local students to attend a state-wide event designed to give them hands on experience in the legislative process. Post #17 is sponsoring two Burley High School boys, Hector Magana and Jaime Mojarra to attend Boys State and the auxiliary unit is sponsoring six Burley High School girls, Andrea Cardona, Melissa McMurray, Sarah Millar, Alejandra Mojica, Marisa Shaw and Shailey Woodward and one girl from Idaho Virtual Academy, Abigail Patterson. All participants are outstanding examples of today’s youth and are commended for their efforts.

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New Report Highlights Achievement Gains at Wisconsin Virtual Academy

Today a new report was released by K12 Inc., titled Wisconsin Virtual Academy: Building Strong Relationships for Academic Success. The report highlights how a community of educators, students, and families working together to build strong relationships can drive strong academic performance at Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIVA).

I have been the head of school at WIVA for 6 years and am proud of our school’s achievements that are outlined in this white paper. Over the past four years, our enrollment has increased by 189 percent and we’ve be able to report a graduation rate increase of 18.1 percentage points. While rapid growth can sometimes present challenges for educators, WIVA was able to increase our accountability rating by 5.6 points, earning us a rating of “Meets Expectations” for the 2013-2014 school year.

WIVA demonstrates that economically disadvantaged students grow stronger over time. In the 2013-2014 school year, 57% of the more than 1,900 students enrolled were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (FRL), a higher percentage than the national average.

In Reading, compared to students enrolled less than 1 year, WIVA's FRL-eligible students enrolled 3 years or more achieved higher proficiency percentages in all FRL groups. The gap between Reduced-Price Lunch Eligible students and Not Eligible students narrowed from 35 percentage points for students enrolled less than 1 year to 18 percentage points for students enrolled 3 years or more. In Mathematics, compared to students enrolled less than 1 year, WIVA students enrolled 3 years or more achieved higher proficiency percentages in all FRL groups.

We attribute much of these academic achievements to the importance of building strong relationships.

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Weekly Roundup - 6.19.15

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

Chancellor’s ruling gives new life to TN Virtual Academy

An upset in the courtroom has given 1,300 Tennessee families new hope for education. The State of Tennessee shut down Tennessee's Virtual Academy last month, but a Nashville judge overturned it because of a mistake by the state. It was Austin Posan and the Taylor twins against Goliath, the last hope for 1,300 students, many who said they had nowhere else to go.

Student with Asperger’s tops class
Indiana Gazette

For Chance Mair, sometimes emotions are hard to express. And it was certainly an emotional night at Marysville Arts and Technology High School’s graduation recently, where the students filed into the auditorium in black gowns and royal-blue stoles. Not only was Mair graduating with the 50 seniors in his class, he was the class valedictorian. And he would be giving the valedictorian address, a momentous occasion for a student who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at an early age.

Over time, Mair’s family carved a path that would challenge him, but was also comfortable. He moved from the special-education class and therapy to regular elementary-school classes. He took half his courses in a public middle school and the rest at Washington Virtual Academy online. Once in high school, he was so advanced in math he ended up taking courses at Everett Community College.

Virtual classroom: Online high school has its advantages
Las Vegas Sun

Foster is a junior at Nevada Virtual Academy, founded in 2008. With about 3,000 students enrolled in K-12, it’s one of the largest state-sponsored charters in Nevada. Foster is one of more than 700 students in the school’s online high school. The big draw for William is being able to work at his own pace. He tracks his progress online, so he knows what’s due and what he needs to read that week. When it’s time to take a test, proctors check in on students via webcam. When the test is over, Foster gets the results immediately rather than waiting for a teacher to grade it.

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K12 Welcomes Joel Medley, North Carolina Virtual Academy’s Head of School

North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA), a new K-12 online public charter school, named Joel Medley as Head of School. Joel, a life-long educator and award-winning teacher, school administrator, and state education official sat down for a Q&A about his background and the new role


Tell us about your experience prior to accepting the role as NCVA’s Head of School, and any notables you want to share.

Joel Medley: I’m the son of a high school dropout.  I came home from basketball practice and sat at the kitchen table working on my homework while also helping my dad study for his G.E.D.  When he walked across the stage and received that G.E.D., I knew education was where I wanted to go.  I was only the third person in my immediate family to graduate from high school and the first to graduate from a four year university (and complete graduate degrees).  I taught social studies at a charter school, served as an administrator in both charter and traditional schools, and served in both the North Carolina and South Carolina departments of education working with charter schools.  As far as awards, here are a few:

  • 2001 NC Character Educator of the Year for High School
  • 2010 SC Charter Friend of the Year
  • 2010 Inez M. Tennenbaum Award from the School Leadership Executive Institute at the SC Department of Education
  • October 30, 2011 “Tarheel of the Week” by the Raleigh News and Observer 

What made you decide to move from your pervious role as Director of Charter Schools back into school administration?

JM: While serving as the Director of the NC Office of Charter Schools, I had the ability to see the different instructional methodologies based upon their adopted missions.  Those nuances were making a positive difference for the students and families that chose to attend the charter schools.  Such observation allowed me to broaden my educational perspective and fostered a desire to return to the school level.  Previous opportunities presented themselves, but I wanted to find the right fit.  I inquired as to whether the position was still available and then went through the process to explore the possibility.  When the offer was made, our family decided to jump at the opportunity for something so unique for North Carolina. 

Why are educational options like NCVA good for North Carolina?

JM: Simple – because they make a difference for children.  One of the guiding principles of K12 is to “teach the individual not the group.”  If children are our focus, then we need to develop and implement options that meet them where they are and take them to where they want to be.  For instance, when we go to a clothing store, we select the style, color, and size that we want and that fit our need.  NCVA is offering parents a different style, color, or size that meets their needs. 

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New Report Shows K12 Partner Schools are Closing the Achievement Gap Among Low-Income Students

This week K12 released a new report in a white paper series, titled Closing the Achievement Gap at Three Virtual Academies. The report highlights three of K12’s largest online charter schools – Texas Virtual Academy (TXVA), Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA), and Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) – that are making progress on closing the achievement gap among low-income students.

The report emphasizes that while K12’s network of schools are enrolling higher percentages of economically disadvantaged students than national averages, many schools are successfully closing the achievement gap.

Key findings include:

Texas Virtual Academy: In Reading, comparing TXVA students enrolled 3 years or more to those enrolled less than 1 year, proficiency percentages increased with longer enrollment for Free Lunch Eligible students by 20 percentage points, for Reduce-Price Lunch by 18 percentage points, and for Not Eligible by 15 percentage points.

Notable at TXVA is the impressive improvement in Mathematics for each category of students enrolled 3 years or more, with 74% of students eligible for Free Lunch reaching proficiency, 81% of students eligible for Reduced-Price Lunch reaching proficiency, and 94% of students Not Eligible for subsidized meals reaching proficiency.