Nate Davis's picture

Here’s to the Heroes, The Teachers Who Devote Themselves to Shaping Our Lives

This week, as America pauses to honor one of its most cherished group of professionals and celebrate their formidable accomplishments in the classroom and beyond; I am reminded of how important and instrumental our teachers truly are.  Just like so many successful leaders, entrepreneurs, humanitarians, world-class doctors and scientists, we are who we are because of the impact of many fantastic teachers during our childhood and young adult lives.
 

For me personally, as I navigated through elementary and high school and went on to pursue studies in engineering and eventually business, I was challenged, motivated and inspired every step of the way by remarkably dedicated educators who devoted their lives to mentoring and shaping mine.  Everyone remembers those teachers who will always stick in our hearts and minds. My best teachers were my role models - intelligent, compassionate, and engaging professionals who pushed me to do my very best and whom I admired and deeply respected (sometimes only later in life once I understood the relevance of their message). Like they did for countless students, year after year, the best teachers gave me their wisdom, their energy, their time -- but perhaps most importantly -- they taught me self-respect, gave me confidence and convinced me that through hard work, dedication, and passion I could accomplish any and every thing I ever wanted.
 

Each and every day, the teachers at K12 and our partner schools are becoming those same role models and making a difference for thousands of children across this country by giving them a chance at a quality education.  Thank you all for giving us goals to shoot for and for being an inspiration to so many. We owe you more than we could ever repay and we are incredibly thankful for your service and dedication.

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher
-Japanese Proverb

 

Nate Davis
K12 Chairman and CEO

 

Casey Swan's picture

K12 Teacher Profile: Casey Swan

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and this week on thinkTANK12 we’ll be sharing some amazing profiles from a few of the more than 5,000 online teachers in K12’s network of educators. K12 teachers work in a variety of school models including full time online public and private schools, innovative blended school programs, and classrooms. In all of these school models, K12 teachers are delivering individualized learning opportunities to students. These K12 teachers are committed to serving the needs of every student.

Today, we hear from Casey Swan of Michigan Virtual Charter Academy...

“Well hello 3rd graders!  Give me a smiley face if you can hear me and the volume sounds good…”

Yes, that is the way most of my classes begin here at Michigan Virtual Charter Academy (MVCA).  My name is Casey Swan and I am a K12 virtual teacher.  I have worked as a virtual teacher for the past 3 years and it has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding careers that I have had.  I started my teaching career when I was 23 years old, teaching 7th grade life science in Florida.  I continued to teach middle school science for the next 8 years in Virginia.  Once my husband and I had added two beautiful children to our family and moved back to our home state of Michigan, it made sense with the cost of daycare for me to stay at home.

I began doing some independent contracting work for a virtual university.  That is when I truly got “the bug” for working and teaching in a virtual setting.  I started working for MVCA in 2012 and 2 years later I am a lead teacher. Our school has under gone tremendous growth and I was happy to experience and be a part of that.          

I think the most rewarding part of my job is really giving my students and families the individual attention they need.  Working one to one with students allows me to enter their world and really get a handle on what it is they need from me.  Something that wasn’t able to do in a regular school setting.  I also LOVE telling people about what I do!  So often families and friends do not even know that this is an option for them, personally I could not be prouder of what I do and those that I connect with daily.

When I am not teaching, I enjoy “disconnecting” and spending time outdoors with my family.  We are avid boaters and love lake living.  You can find us tubing, swimming and paddle boarding during the summer months.  I love to read, so when I am not doing readings for graduate school you can find me curled up with my kindle.  I recently took up boxing and I am having fun learning new tactics, not to mention getting in shape!

Jeff Kwitowski's picture

Jeff Kwitowski, K12’s SVP of Corporate Communications, responds to NCAA’s notification of eligibility and lack of standards for digital courses

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), a private membership-based organization, recently notified a number of schools affiliated with K12 Inc. that coursework from these schools will not be used in the initial-eligibility certification process for Division I and II athletics following the 2013-2014 school year. Eleven of the schools are part of a single network of schools in one state and two of the schools are full-time blended schools. All are approved public schools that meet state content and instructional time standards and graduation requirements. 

The individual schools impacted by this decision are currently waiting for the NCAA to provide the specific coursework they reviewed in making its decision. All schools have the option to appeal.

According to the NCAA’s revised legislation for nontraditional courses, students and instructors must have “ongoing access to one another” and “regular interaction” throughout the duration of the course. However NCAA does not provide schools any measurable standard or rubric used to determine what they believe is a suitable level of student-teacher interaction. Despite repeated requests, the NCAA will not publish specific student-teacher interaction guidelines for nontraditional courses, including online and digital courses.

These vague standards and unclear review process leave schools to only guess what passes NCAA’s eligibility test. This is a significant concern for all schools and districts that use digital learning programs.

In one case, the NCAA rescinded the eligibility of an accredited and state-approved online public school with over 5,000 students based on a review of old coursework from only two students, one of whom is a competitive diver and on the Dean’s List at a Division I school. Furthermore, the NCAA did not account for updated technology systems and new instructional models with increased student-teacher interaction.

K12 believes its teachers and courses meet NCAA standards. Teachers in K12-managed schools are state-certified and highly qualified. They have ongoing access and regular interaction with their students. Teachers provide direct instruction, evaluation, guidance and support to students, including direct instruction through real-time, web-based classes. In K12-managed blended schools, students gather together in a learning center every day to receive direct, face-to-face instruction with teachers – as is done in traditional schools.

Hundreds of student athletes have graduated from K12-affiliated schools and have been accepted into Division I and II colleges and universities. Many of these student athletes graduated with academic honors and continue to excel academically.  

Ashley Collier's picture

K12-TV: 2014 Academic Report

In this episode of K12-TV,  Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Margaret Jorgensen and leaders from K12's school services and education policy teams talk about the findings from our 2014 Academic Report and what that means for students, teachers and partner schools. Also, K12 Inc. Chairman and CEO Nate Davis sits down with Jeff Kwitowski to reaffirm K12’s commitment to putting student’s first and being accountable and transparent to the families we serve.

Check it out...

Related Resources

2014 Academic Report

Summary of 2014 Academic Report

Nate Davis on K12's unwavering commitment to Academic Achievement 

Nate Davis's picture

Our Unwavering Commitment to Academic Achievement

K12 has always been a mission-driven company.  We are an organization filled with educators who share a passion to serve the needs of all children.  Our culture is centered on serving families, students, and teachers.  It’s what makes K12 such a special place. Over the past year, K12 has rededicated itself to our core mission: putting students first and making their academic success foremost in everything we do.

To help every child achieve their educational goals, we need to first know who they are and where they are academically. That means we need to continuously collect data to assess where our students stand, and to find out what is working and where we must improve. And always, we must always be open, honest and transparent.

This was the goal of publishing our 2014 Academic Report. In my view, this report is the most in-depth and open assessment of overall academic performance in the schools K12 serves.  It shows K12 is committed to accountability and transparency, and that we are serious about academic improvement. 

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