Ashley Collier's picture

K12 Celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week

This week, K12 celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Week with families across the nation, thanking the thousands of teachers that are educating students in K12 online and blended schools.

We shared with you some amazing profiles from just a few of the more than 5,000 online teachers in K12’s network of educators, including:

Through partnerships with schools and districts, K12 has created thousands of new jobs and opportunities for teachers across the U.S.  Today, more than 5,000 teachers are working in K12-partner schools – the largest network of K-12 online school teachers in the U.S. K12 teachers are a diverse group of certified, skilled and trained professionals, including general education teachers, special education teachers, lead teachers, subject-matter experts, world-language teachers, advisors, and counselors. 

Additionally this week, numerous K12 online school teachers received honors and awards for their service to students. Christian Kraus, a literature teacher at Georgia Cyber Academy , won the 2014 American Pioneer of Teaching Award from PublicSchoolOptions.org, a parent-led education advocacy organization. Several other teachers from K12-managed schools were honored as national runners-up, including Texas Virtual Academy's Priscilla Metting, Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy's Heather McFarland, and Hoosier Academies' Alissa Smith.  Other finalists from K12-managed schools included Mary Bellison with Utah Virtual Academy, Elizabeth Clark with Virginia Virtual Academy, and Tiffany Simmons with Colorado Preparatory Academy.

We also heard from K12 Chairman and CEO, Nate Davis, on how each and every day teachers at K12 and partner schools are making a difference for thousands of children across the country by giving them a chance at a quality education. Read his full blog on Teacher Appreciation Week, here.

"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," said Nate Davis , Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of K12 Inc. "K12 is a company of educators and our teachers are the cornerstone of all that we do.  We honor our teachers for their service and commitment, and we thank them for making a difference for thousands of children across this country."

heather mcfarland's picture

K12 Teacher Profile: Heather McFarland

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 Heather McFarland of Louisiana Virtual Charter School. Heather was nominated with hundreds of teachers for the American Pioneer Teaching Award and was named one of four finalists in the national competition during Teacher Appreciation Week.

My name is Heather McFarland and I’m an online teacher at Louisiana Virtual Charter School. I teach World History and chose online teaching for the versatility with my family, but also because I was bitten by the online learning bug! Let me explain.

When I first became an online teacher I worried I would feel disconnected with my students, but as I began working with my student and  providing instruction in the online class room it became apparent that I was able to connect with them in significant and innovative ways.  I began to witness that the online model brought out another level of learning. For example, in my class we have student moderators -- students that participate in peer teaching and breakout rooms, allowing them to connect and interact with each other while teachers facilitate and provide instruction. This brought learning to a whole new level. With online learning I have seen a huge difference with my struggling students. If they are not mastering a subject matter, we can review those areas and work at their own pace so that they understand the material they missed. This is why I chose online learning. Students are not missing the gaps because and as an online teacher I am able to see those gaps and correct them.

At Louisiana Virtual Charter School it is our goal to make sure that we help each student fill in missing gaps. Every child is unique and deserves the best learning solution that works for them. Why limit them? This is why it is important in the online setting that we continue with the rigorous curriculum and teacher support for students and parents. Innovation is the key to continue the success of every student.

Cady Looper's picture

K12 Teacher Profile: Cady Looper

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 Cady Looper of Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy…

When I was in the 1st grade, I completed an assignment that said, “When I grow up I want to be”, and I answered Teacher. I fulfilled that dream in 2004 when I graduated from Oklahoma State University. I have been teaching various elementary grades for 10 years. Next year will be my 5th year with Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy (OVCA)!  My husband of 2 years, my dog and I live in Yukon, Oklahoma which is just outside of Oklahoma City. I love cook, read a good book, spend time outdoors, and watch my favorite TV shows! Also, my family loves to travel to Colorado in the summers every chance we get! Lastly, I love to teach. I especially love to teach reading.

Curiosity lead me to the position at OVCA. I was curious to see how teaching students in their own environments impacted their education.  Gaining valuable experience in many of my positions within the brick and mortar schools, I still wanted something more. OVCA has given me many opportunities to expand my knowledge of teaching. OVCA opened 5 years ago and has blossomed into a fully-functional school right before my eyes. I have been able to take part in developing and perfecting many of the policies and procedures that makes our school run efficiently. I do not feel I would have had those types of opportunities anywhere else. I believe that online teaching is the future of teaching. I am happy that I am a part of the beginning years in Oklahoma!

The most rewarding part of my day is building a lesson, teaching that lesson, and then the lesson helps a student grow with knowledge. Receiving kmails about how a struggling student mastered an objective because of a class connect I taught brightens my day and is a reminder of why I teach. Additionally, our school holds outings once a month and this is my chance to put a face to the little voice I hear on the phone or in class connects. It is still amazing to me the connections I am making or have made with students in the virtual world. 

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!

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