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Elizabeth Nelson is a Teacher Ambassador and a middle school Math teacher at AZVA.

There are a variety of reasons that parents decide to withdraw their student from one school and enroll them in a virtual school in the middle of an academic year – bullying, dissatisfaction with the previous school, and relocation, just to name a few.  These parents and students are probably feeling a mixture of excitement, hope, curiosity, and anxiety as they prepare to begin their online school journey.

What will online school be like? 

Will I get to make new friends? 

Why are there so many boxes being shipped to me?

Where do I start?

As a teacher at a virtual school, I am used to walking families through a mid-year beginning to my class and have a few tips for a successful start:

1. Keep in good communication with your child’s new teacher(s).  You are not our first mid-year enrollment, and we have a plan in place for transitioning you into our class mid-year.  We will share our plan with you and reach out to welcome you and provide helpful information.  Print the welcome emails and syllabi that we send you.  If you aren’t able to talk to us when we call, please call us back!  We don’t bite and we have important information to tell you – and we can answer your questions, too!

2. Be diligent about staying organized. There are many different ways to get organized, so choose what works best for you and your family. If you need tips, please reach out to your child’s teachers – we have lots of tricks to share! (See, there’s that communication part again!)  I can’t stress enough how important it is to be organized!  Create or print up a daily or weekly calendar to keep track of assignments.  Follow the course pacing guides, if your school provides them.  The key to being successful in a virtual school is organization!

3. Try to attend some of the school outings and events that are near you. Our virtual schools plan fun and educational activities in different parts of the state.  Pick some that are near where you live and join the group!  We love to meet you in-person as much as your students like to meet us!

4. Go to the class sessions!  Successful students are students that attend the daily virtual class sessions.  Teachers prepare great lessons to help students understand and learn new concepts.  We work hard to have fun and engaging lessons that are chock-full of learning!  And don’t just attend the classes – get involved in them.  Volunteer to read on the microphone or show your work in the whiteboard when the teacher asks.  Work together with your classmates in breakout room activities.  You will get to know your classmates and have fun, all while you are learning!

We are excited you have chosen to join our school and we welcome you, whatever your reason for entering our class mid-year.  Good luck on your new school journey!

About The Author

Elizabeth Nelson

Elizabeth Nelson is the Head of School at Lonestar Online Academy. Prior to taking this leadership role, Elizabeth was the middle school and high school principal at Texas Online Preparatory School (TOPS). Elizabeth taught 8th grade math and was a Lead Master Teacher at Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA). Previously, Elizabeth taught math in Arizona and Indiana for 4.5 years.  She became a business owner and mother before ultimately realizing that teaching was her passion.  Elizabeth graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in economics.  In 2009, she earned a second bachelor’s degree, this one in secondary math education. In 2014, she received a master of science in educational leadership from Ball State University. Elizabeth lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband and enjoys family time spent with their combined eight children. Elizabeth loves taking photos, math, adventures, learning, and spending time outdoors with her family.

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