Jennifer Roberts's picture

Chicago’s Finest

Being born and raised in Chicago, I have met some wonderful people and been a part of many a neighborhood meal. The relationships I have built as a parent and a teacher make me proud to be a Chicagoan.

Being a parent, you have to make a lot of important decisions. When I had to decide on the best kindergarten choice for my son, I took into consideration all of my experiences in education, as well as the advice others had given me. I knew my son had special needs but was capable of being in a regular classroom.  When my hopes of finding the perfect school to fit his needs were not realized, I decided the best choice would be to homeschool him and figure out how to keep a roof over my head later. 

Two days after I decided to homeschool my son, I received a call from a K12 representative. He told me that there was a new school opening up a hybrid blended program in Chicago and asked if I would be interested in learning more. 

K12 Inc.'s picture

How Online School Helps Simplify This Busy Mom’s Life

AZVA student Mona Schwickert beams in her synchronized swimming suit.

As a mother of five active and curious children, Birgit Schwickert leads an extremely exciting – and hectic - life. With the help of Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA), Birgit is able to juggle all the unique needs and interests of Max, Mona, Mikolas, Maya and Marvin, including synchronized swimming.

The Switch to AZVA

Three of the five Schwickert children attend Arizona Virtual Academy. Birgit decided to switch her youngest three children - Max, a rising 4th grader, and twins Mona and Mikolas, rising 2nd graders - to AZVA last year. Max needed more advanced mathematical instruction, and Birgit needed to relieve some of the chaos of getting five kids to a brick-and-mortar school in the morning.

Wendy Oleksinski's picture

How Georgia Cyber Academy Makes a Strong Start to the School Year Top Priority

The FAST department at GCA; Photo Courtesy of Georgia Cyber Academy

Wendy Oleksinski is a high school advisor at Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA)

As families become familiar with the virtual education model, the benefits are immediately apparent. Flexibility in the learning environment, individualized instruction, curriculum resources, and highly-qualified, certified teachers are just a few of these aids. But what supports are in place for students and learning coaches who may need additional assistance with organization, workload, time management, and modifications? At Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA), a high-quality public school program that offers the innovative use of technology and a rigorous curriculum from K12, the administration offers an additional layer of support for their families. The Family Academic Support Team (FAST) serves all grade levels (K-12), in a variety of support structures.

Ashley Cline, who serves as a high school advisor lead within the FAST department, explains, “Our team prepares for the school year by planning and implementing our Strong Start program, which is how we ensure that our new families are welcomed, have the tools they need to succeed, attend orientations to familiarize themselves with our platforms, answer any questions they have, and ensure that they feel comfortable logging into our systems before moving on to their homeroom teacher for the year. We pride ourselves in being that “smiling face” behind every call we make to welcome our new families.”

K12 Inc.'s picture

Baby James’ Success in Online School is Par for the Course

For as long as Nicole Grimes can remember, her son, “Baby James,” as his family and friends call him, has had a love for golf.

“When James was two years old he would stand in front of the television watching pro golf and imitate the swings with his plastic clubs,” she said. Now six years old, Baby James is ranked #1 in Louisiana for his age group.

In addition to finding success on the golf course, Baby James is excelling in his schoolwork at Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy (LAVCA), as he finished K12’s kindergarten and first grade curriculum in just one year. Baby James’ parents chose LAVCA for flexibility, but also to be sure that he reaches his full potential. “I did not want him to be distracted in school, so we had to be sure we made the right choice,” his mother said.

Melissa Rathbone's picture

Ten Back to School Teacher Tips to Help Keep Stress Down

 

 

Many of us are currently looking at the calendar wishing it would just slow down. Summer flies by and soon we will all be back in our classrooms ambushed with lesson plans, grading papers, and tracking students' progressHere are 10 tips that I believe help keep the stress down throughout the school year: 

  1. Pre-Plan 

Most outside of the education field envision a teacher’s summer as relaxing poolsidesipping a cold beverageand smiling gleefully at everyone else slaving away at their 9-to-5 jobs. However, we all know this is less than true. While we do take time to relax and refresh, summer is a great time for us to pre-plan for the upcoming year. Those lessons that did not quite work last year can be tweaked; new books can be found at thrift stores; and let us not forget countless hours of personal and professional development. It all comes down to not overdoing it, but rather finding those natural times where you can fit it in and not feel like you are still working.  

 

  1. Schedules 

Once that school bell rings, life gets crazy. I use a calendar to schedule my day in my Outlook calendar. By doing this, reminders will pop up to keep me on task. One caution  allow yourself to be flexible. We all know that in this type of environment things do not always go as planned and we need to be willing to change things around at the last minute.  

 

  1. To Do Lists 

This is one of my main secrets to keeping my sanity during the school year. Every evening before I close the “door” to my office, I start writing down what I need to do the next day. I prefer to use paper and pencil for my to-do list, but for those that love technology, Outlook has a built-in Task List feature. Remember that not everything you put on your to-do list will get done in a day, so try to keep it as short as you can. What is leftover starts my next day’s list. In the end, my productivity goes up and I become laser-focused on what I need to accomplish throughout the day.  

 

  1. Quitting Time 

Anyone who is in the education field, especially teachers, knows how easy it is to just keep working. This is especially true in the virtual world because we live where we work. It is so easy to forget that there is a life outside of our “office. On my schedule, I mark out two days a week that I allow myself to work past my normal school hours. If you are sitting in your office thinking about working longer, ask yourself if this task MUST be done before the next day, or if you just WANT it to be done before the next day. You will save yourself a lot of stress if you finish your MUST list and close that office door for the day.  

 

  1. Just Say No! 

Throughout the day, we are bombarded with requests from all sides. Sometimes there is no way to say no because it has to be done. There are times, however, when you can and should say noOverextending yourself does not help anyone, especially you. 

  

  1. Get Your Heart Pumping 

I am not a fitness junkie, but I have found that over the years, when I work out, I feel so much better and ready to take on the world. Studies have shown that working out for 20-30 minutes boosts your endorphins and allows you to react to stress differently. I know for many of us, a quick exercise is welcomed after an hour-long class connect.  

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