Byron Ernest's picture

Hoosier Academies Climbs Mount Everest

Last week I had the opportunity and honor of introducing myself as the new Head of School for Hoosier Academies in Indiana. This introduction was to the entire staff at our two day professional development and family expo. After sharing some personal information about my love for the Purdue Boilermakers and my son’s recent successes showing dairy cows I took them on a case study journey of Mount Everest – 1996.

The case study of Mount Everest – 1996 lets us study the incredible achievement and great tragedy on Mount Everest in the spring of 1996. Ninety-eight men and women made it safely to the summit, but 15 did not return. Even some of the world’s most renowned high-altitude climbers, including Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, reached the summit, but died during the descent because of a storm.

The first question I asked during the case study facilitation was: “Why do people climb mountains?”

Here are some of the responses from Hoosier staff:

  • Excitement
  • Ego
  • Push oneself to the limit
  • Recognition
  • Competition
  • Help others make it
  • Do things that have not been done
  • The love of climbing
  • The view from the top
  • Set a goal to summit

As a leader, I get why some individuals want to make the climb. It is the idea of being a Trailblazer. Trailblazers go before others go. They do not send others where they are unwilling to go themselves. During our session we compared this to being a Sherpa. This analogy came after I had shared with the group my philosophy of “leading from where you are.” Sherpas are the inhabitants of the Khumba-valley, the national park surrounding Mount Everest. Living at the high altitude for generations, they have developed a genetic natural allowance for it. Once you go to 10,000 feet they will easily outrun you.

Our Sherpa analogy carried through the entire two days. The analogy of us as educational leaders to that of a Sherpa is great because they are successful by helping those around them reach their full potential. As educators we must be Sherpa’s of student achievement. Great Sherpa’s do not just look up the mountain and say, “Let’s go!” They, as great leaders, carefully plot out each step to ensure a safe and successful trip. Sherpa’s routinely deal with unexpected weather, animals, obscured paths, and many other obstacles.  Rather than becoming derailed, they build contingency plans and adapt in real-time.

We all made a strong connection between Sherpa’s and educational leadership.

Nate Davis's picture

The Bond Between Charter Schools and Digital Learning

In 1992, the first charter school was introduced and the concept of public school choice in American education was born. Today, over 2.5 million students attend more than 6,400 charter schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia. 

In the late 90’s, just as charter schools were about to experience a period of tremendous growth, a new educational innovation began to take root: digital learning.  

Over the last decade, a strong nexus emerged between digital learning and charter schools. In charter schools, digital learning found environments that nurtured creativity and innovation.  Through digital learning, charter schools were able to provide families from every demographic more options, access, and choice in public education.

Charter schools became the primary vehicle for the advancement of digital learning, and naturally so. One of the cornerstones of charter schools was to invite education advancements by giving educators greater flexibility and autonomy to pioneer new educational programs. The goal was to allow charter schools to test and develop new models that could be replicated by other public schools and districts – a kind of education “skunkworks.” 

The first online charter schools – totally digital learning environments – emerged in the early 2000’s when Pennsylvania became the first state to allow online charter schools. Soon after, many other states began to follow. Charters offering blended learning (combining digital and face-to-face instruction) quickly followed, providing a wide range of exciting and differentiated instructional models. These online and blended charter schools scaled quickly to meet demand from parents, and ran head on into the status quo. Conventional educational norms were challenged. Debate shifted from simply trying to find ways to tinker with the traditional model to wholly re-thinking how technology could disrupt the way education is delivered and consumed for the better.

Ashley Collier's picture

Blended Charter School Graduation Ceremony Honors Inspiring Students Who Overcame Challenges

Celebrating its fifth graduating class, YCCS Virtual High School honored more than 85 high school graduates at a ceremony that took place at Malcom X College on Monday, June 16.

YCCS Virtual High School uses an innovative blended school model, combining online learning and classroom instruction to primarily serve students ages 18-21 who, for a variety of reason, haven’t been able to finish their high school education.

"With the right support, our students absolutely thrive," says Elizabeth Roth, Head of School for the YCCS Virtual High School. "This program gives an opportunity for students to reach their goals and receive their high school diploma, while receiving the support they need into their post-secondary venture. There's not another program like this in Chicago that targets this age range"

YCCS Virtual High School is designed for students who have dropped out of traditional school or have fallen behind in credits, but still have the desire to graduate with a high school diploma.

In the past four years, YCCS has enable 92 percent of its students to graduates, a stellar rate of success that outpaces the national average.

K12 Inc.'s picture

VIDEO: K12 Congratulates the Graduates of 2014

A special message from the more than 5,000 teachers and educators, and the hundreds of professional staff members at K12 who work so hard behind the scenes to put our students first!

Dear Graduates:

On behalf of all of us at K12, Congratulations!

 

Ashley Collier's picture

K12 Graduation Round-up: IDVA, SCVCS, and UTVA

Idaho Virtual Academy Congratulates 2014 Graduating Class

This spring 130 students walked across the stage, graduating from Idaho Virtual Academy (IDVA) – a full-time, online public school serving students across the state.

Graduates from 26 counties and 52 cities celebrated academic achievements with teachers and peers in ceremonies in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls, and Nampa. IDVA graduates will be attending universities and colleges such as Boise State University, Montana State University, and Carrington College.

More from IDVA:

READ: Online students prepare for graduation (Idaho ED News)

READ: Virtual Academy Students Graduate Wednesday (Idaho Press Tribune)

WATCH: Seniors Graduate Without Stepping Foot Into the Classroom (KPVI News 6)
 

South Carolina Virtual Charter School Celebrates Largest Graduating Class To-Date

South Carolina Virtual Charter School (SCVCS) honored more than 160 students at a ceremony that took place on Thursday, June 5.

The ceremony featured remarks from Hayden Covington, Valedictorian of the graduating class, and Johnathan Edwards, Salutatorian.
Hayden is a member of the National Honor Society and has been nominated for student of the month several times. Outside of school, Hayden is a seasoned ballet dancer, training 20 hours a week and performing with the International Ballet Academy. Hayden attributes her academic success to her determination and says that “SCVCS has been the ideal bridge to college” and has helped her learn to trust herself in learning new concepts. Upon graduating, Hayden plans to attend Furman University this fall, followed by graduate school. She would eventually like to pursue a career in the science field.

Another standout graduating senior, Johnathan has served as both President and Vice President of SCVCS’s National Honor Society and was a Junior Marshall for last year’s graduation. In his free time, Johnathan enjoys playing competitive tennis and has been recognized as one of the top 10 junior tennis players in South Carolina.  In addition to holding two jobs – as a tennis instructor and maintaining courts at the nearby tennis club – Johnathan is active in the community and has participated in food drives, book drives and tutoring. This fall, Johnathan will be playing NCAA Division 1 tennis at University of Connecticut, where plans to major in marketing.

Source: South Carolina Virtual Charter School, (2014). South Carolina Virtual Charter School Congratulates Class of 2014

 

Utah Virtual Academy Hosts in-person graduation with Noted American Economist, Best-Selling Author

Last week, more than 80 high school seniors turned the tassel and graduated from Utah Virtual Academy (UTVA).  

Paul Zane Pilzer, a noted American economist, best-selling author, and social entrepreneur, spoke to this year’s graduating class. Mr. Pilzer has written nine books, served in two U.S. Presidential administrations, is the founder of six companies, and has been profiled on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

Students from this year’s graduating class will attend Westminster College, University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, Brigham Young University, Snow College, and Salt Lake Community College.

Source: Utah Virtual Academy, (2014). Utah Virtual Academy to host in-person graduation on June 5

Pages