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How Flexibility Helps This NVVA Gymnast Chase Her Olympic Dreams

Isabelle Richardson competing in Ribbon event.

"Flexibility” is what it’s all about for Nevada Virtual Academy (NVVA) 6th grader Isabelle Richardson. It’s what has allowed her to become an elite rhythmic gymnast and also how she’s been able to achieve academically through virtual schooling. “You can go faster or slower with the personalized lessons – they keep up with you,” shares the three-time national champion, who divides her time between the USA Elite Squad and her studies.

Spotted when she was very young at her older sister’s ballet lesson, Isabelle’s remarkable physical agility caught the eye of another student’s parent, who suggested she try contortionism. After learning about rhythmic gymnastics, a form of the sport that combines traditional gymnastics with dance, Isabelle joined a local gym and hasn’t stopped since.

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.

Elizabeth Nelson's picture

Why I Left a Traditional Public School to Teach at a Virtual School

Two years ago I began a new adventure in my education career, teaching middle school math for a virtual school.  I had experience teaching in a variety of school settings.  I taught at an inner-city high school, a secured residential facility for students aged 12-19, a small charter high school for at-risk students, and a rural high school.  I’m one of those crazy people that is always looking for a new challenge because I am bored easily.  A good teacher friend of mine told me about the virtual charter school that she was teaching for and encouraged me to check it out.  Here is what I have discovered.

Professional Growth Opportunities
I had recently finished my third college degree, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership & Administration with a goal to eventually become a school leader.  At the time, I was working for a rural high school on the far edge of the Phoenix area.  There were not a lot of schools in the district, which limited the availability of administrative positions.  As a mom with four young children, it was important to me to work near my home.

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Why this Future Cadet Says a K12-Powered School was the Right Choice

 

TOPS student Jacob Branum goes through intense physical training with other NASS candidates

Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS) rising senior, Jacob Branum, has always enjoyed a good challenge, both inside and outside of the classroom. This summer, Jacob had the opportunity to put himself to the test at the Naval Academy Summer Seminar (NASS), a highly prestigious and selective program for potential cadets. 

“This was truly a once in a lifetime experience,” Jacob, a student from Houston, said. “The Academy challenges you mentally and physically, and if you are not strong enough, you won't make it. But I like that, because I think it shows me what I'm made of and how much I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.”

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

Sophia and her teammates compete in Acrobatic Gymnastics

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.

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