Ashley Collier's picture

Announcing the Winners of the 2014 K12 International Spelling Bee

Students enrolled in K12 online school programs belong to a community of connected learners with a wide range of extracurricular clubs, programs, and school events. One such event is the K12 International Spelling Bee.

Over the past couple of months, K12 partner schools have hosted multiple local and regional spelling bees for students in grades 4 through 8, all leading up to the K12 International Spelling Bee. However, unlike traditional spelling bees, the K12 International Bee and most regional spelling bees were conducted entirely online.

Today we are proud to announce the K12 Regional and International Spelling Bee winners! 

2014 Spelling Bee Winners

From California to Dubai, students from roughly 23 online school programs participated in the virtual spelling bee. Using collaborative online platforms, students and judges logged on simultaneously to participate in the spelling bee. To ensure authenticity in the online setting, all student participants had a school-assigned individual onsite to proctor the contest. A panel of five judges determined whether words were spelled correctly and rules were upheld, while a Spell Master delivered and pronounced words for participants.

This year’s winning word was pandemonium.

“Each of these students genuinely deserves congratulations for their hard work.  We had some tough rounds, with some challenging words, and we are truly proud of all of the competitors,” said Sonja Howerton, K12 National Student Program Coordinator.   

Congratulations to all who participated in the K12 International Spelling Bee! 

Jeff Kwitowski's picture

Fierce School Choice Critic, Diane Ravitch Playing Loose with Facts Again

In her May 21st blog, she makes a series of erroneous claims about K12 Inc. and one of its partner schools, Texas Virtual Academy (TXVA).  Citing another educator’s piece, Ravitch inaccurately states that TXVA students were “getting credit for two years of Spanish in only eight weeks, and credit for one year of Environmental Science in only two days.”  She’s wrong, and a simple call to the Texas Education Agency would have cleared it up for her.

Ashley Collier's picture

Announcing Insight School of Oklahoma

On Wednesday, The Board of Directors for the Insight School of Oklahoma announced the Fall 2014 opening of an innovative online public charter school – Insight School of Oklahoma. The school is authorized by the Statewide Virtual Charter Board and uses the nationally recognized curriculum and academic services provided by K12 Inc.

“The opening of Insight School of Oklahoma is a tremendous step forward in being able to provide quality education to countless Oklahoma students who may have struggled in traditional environments,” said DeAnna Gwatney, the Board President.

Insight School of Oklahoma is an online public school and open to all students, but will be focused on serving those who are academically at-risk and who may have struggled in traditional settings.

Students enrolled in the Insight School of Oklahoma will also engage in academic programs that they find relevant to their futures. The school will offer Career Pathways, a program that allows students to pursue a distinct academic pathway based on the national Career Cluster Model, which is designed to accommodate a student’s specific career interest and capabilities.

For more information, including a full listing of online and in-person events, please visit the school’s website:

The nationally recognized academic curriculum, technology and support services provided by K12 will offer students a unique experience and environment. Through innovative technologies and web-based classrooms, certified Oklahoma teachers will work with the students and provide customized instruction, guidance and academic support.

Source: Insight School of Oklahoma, (2014). Insight School of Oklahoma Approved to Open Fall 2014.

Ashley Collier's picture

K12 Helps Launch New Online School in Michigan

Last week, The Board of Directors for the Insight School of Michigan in partnership with K12 Inc. announced the creation of a new online public charter school, Insight School of Michigan. The school will offer students in grades 6-12 an innovative education using engaging digital learning and individualized instruction.

To find out more information about Insight School of Michigan or to enroll, click here.

As a public school, Insight School of Michigan is open to all students in the state with an emphasis on serving academically at-risk students who have struggled in traditional school settings. The school’s instructional model and academic strategies will focus on putting every student on a path to earning their high school diploma.

“Insight School of Michigan is another example of how K12 is developing partnerships in communities to serve students, particularly those that are struggling in their education,” said Jennifer Sims, Vice President of School Services at K12. “Whether it be previously failing certain courses, missing school days, or feeling left behind, we are committed to providing individualized online learning options for those students seeking new school alternatives to help get them back on track.”

Certified Michigan teachers will provide instruction, guidance and support, and will interact regularly with students using innovative technology and web-based instruction. Teachers also provide small group instruction, remediation, and organize school activities, clubs, and events for students and families.

Insight School of Michigan is authorized by the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees, the state’s largest and most respected charter school authorizers.

"Every student in Michigan deserves access to a high quality education," said Cindy Schumacher, executive director of The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University. "CMU is excited to partner with Insight School of Michigan and to support their mission of helping students meet their individual potential."

Read the full release on Insight School of Michigan, here.

Source: Insight School of Michigan, (2014). Insight School of Michigan Approved to Open Fall 2014.

Mary Gifford's picture

Lessons from Texas: Parent Choice and Digital Learning

Last week, Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott announced the third plank of his education plan.  Abbott's plan calls for increasing access to online courses through the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN). The Texas Tribune calls the enrollment in this program "dismal" and Abbot acknowledges that after six years, only 2,400 part-time students are enrolled in the program. Students are currently limited to three online courses through the TxVSN, which equates to a maximum of 7,200 courses.

Let's compare the results of this meager program to the robust full-time online public schools in Texas which, during the same time period, have grown to serve approximately 12,000 full-time students, or 96,000 courses.

Mr. Abbot is quick to point out why TxVSN enrollments are so low: districts can deny students the opportunity to take courses and districts don't want to dedicate existing funds to providing online options for students. While districts' efforts to thwart parent choice are noted by Abbot, it’s worth pointing out how the state legislature has thrown three major roadblocks in front of parents wanting to choose full-time online public schools:

1)    The legislature imposed a moratorium on new full-time online public schools in 2013, in spite of enormous parent demand for these options.

2)    In 2009, the legislature added a prior-public school attendance requirement to any student who wants to attend a full-time online public school. This isn't just a little requirement - this is the most restrictive residency requirement in the country. Students must attend a Texas brick-and-mortar public school in the previous school year before they are eligible to attend an online public school. Given the economic development going on in Texas, thousands of new families who move to Texas for employment are restricted from enrolling their children in online public schools. 

3)    In 2009 the legislature added an attendance restriction for students whose parents are active duty members of the military. While other states, like Nevada, changed their laws to permit students from military families to seamlessly transfer from one online school to another when their parent's assignment changes, Texas instead created restrictions for military families.

Despite this, parents of Texas students found a way to overcome these challenges and enroll in a full-time online public school at a rate of 13 times more than enrollment in TxVSN courses.

Why do parents flock to full-time online public school options? Abbot hit on the most prevalent reason in his proposal: online education provides an opportunity to shift to a truly personalized education, rather than a system of courses based on seat time. Students in the Texas Online Preparatory School and Texas Virtual Academy benefit from individualized learning plans that give students and parents the exact type of personalization described in the proposal.