Soaring enrollment marks Florida Virtual School's first decade

Full story: Orlando Sentinel

The Latin teacher at Lyman High School never sets foot on the school's Longwood campus.

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Long time Educator

Mesa, AZ

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#21
Oct 19, 2007
 

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GatorGal23 wrote:
Actually, Virtual School isn't cheaper, because Virtual School teachers make far higher salaries than traditional teachers. I know many teachers who are waiting for positions to open up in Virtual School because the work is easier and the pay is higher.
This is not true at all. I was close to the top of the pay scale in my county and took a $9000 pay cut to work at FLVS. I work longer hours and have a year-round work shedule. Would I go back to the traditional classroom? Never! The connections that I make with my students now are priceless. The flexibility that I enjoy with my schedule is a real benefit to me - and to my students - who can call me late in the evening and on weekends to discuss their work and get help. If teachers are lining up to get a position at FLVS it's because they want to work for a quality organization alongside the best teachers in the State.
Teacher for 10 years

Hernando, FL

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#22
Oct 19, 2007
 
GatorGal23 wrote:
Actually, Virtual School isn't cheaper, because Virtual School teachers make far higher salaries than traditional teachers. I know many teachers who are waiting for positions to open up in Virtual School because the work is easier and the pay is higher.
As a teacher in Orange County for many years, I can say that the work isn't easier. I have never worked more hours or longer hours. I am available to my students 8am - 8pm - 7 days a week. I typically work 60 hour weeks and do not have the summers off or have the traditional school breaks, such as winter and spring breaks. I did not take a pay increase when I came to work at FLVS, but in fact took a pay cut. Teacher salaries vary from county to county, so the statement that FLVS teachers make more money isn't entirely true. I know for certain a teacher who has worked for 5 or more years in Orange, Broward or Dade Counties would take a pay cut to work for FLVS. So why would I take a new job to work more hours for less pay? The answer is simple, I believe that all kids can success and all kids can be successful if they are provided the right environment. I have seen many students in my virtual classroom blossom that were not successful in a traditional classroom. FLVS has saved many Florida students who were slipping through the cracks. I have the honor and privilege of helping students learn - I can't think of a better way to spend 60 hours a week.
BrowardTeacher

United States

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#23
Oct 19, 2007
 
GatorGal23 wrote:
Actually, Virtual School isn't cheaper, because Virtual School teachers make far higher salaries than traditional teachers. I know many teachers who are waiting for positions to open up in Virtual School because the work is easier and the pay is higher.
GatorGal23, unfortunately this is not the case with everyone. Yes, while some teachers working for FLVS earn more money than they previously did teaching in their county. Teachers from such counties as Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade(just to name the few I am familiar with) actually take a pay cut. In this day, when would you ever hear of someone taking a paycut...Only those willing to push the boundaries, and be a part of something truly GREAT!!!
Amy Heflin

Largo, FL

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#24
Oct 19, 2007
 
Since I am a teacher with FLVS, I can asure you that I am NOT a computer.:-) I am a human being who has human contact with my students. Do you know why FLVS works? It works because instead of having 4 classes of 35+ students each, I have 150+ classes of 1 student. My students get individualized attention from me. Kids who might be afraid to raise their hand in a classroom setting, can ask me questions without the fear of being ridiculed by classmates.
As for verifying that they are the ones doing the work, we have procedures in place for that. First, we have several oral quizzes throughout the class. We also use a on-line plagiarism site called turnitin.com in which we are able to submit work to check if it has been plagiarized from a website or even another FLVS student (current or former). We also talk to our students. We discuss their assignments with them, we ask them questions, and most of all, we KNOW them. I hope that clears up the confusion!
gateway wrote:
and to that end..how do they prove the work was done by the student and not someone else...like their parents? I mean, people do that even assisting a regular school in class, I can't imagine in an online class!...
I just do not agree with the idea of a computer replacing human contact...specially when it comes to learning...
Please someone instruct me... I want to know more...
facts about PE online

Bradenton, FL

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#25
Oct 19, 2007
 
James wrote:
This is an interesting program. Like all things, it has its good and bad. For motivated students, it allows access to classes that they might not have been able to take otherwise. However, it can be misused. I know that a number of students in my area take Physical Education through virtual school so that they don't have to do it in P.E. class. That's right - P.E. while sitting on a chair in front of a computer. I think that this is a disservice to the young people who do it. Virtual School should limit itself to classes that can be effectively taught online.
It sounds like you have some more research to do from these friends of yours who took the PE class. Having known people myself taking this class, I have seen the workouts for the class and know they they complete all types of workouts from lifting weights to running/jogging and even stretching routines. They even complete the physical fitness tests that everyone else does. They also learn ways to lose weight and eat healthy, which most of us never experienced in our regular school PE classes where teacher let students run around "playing" games. You might need to get your facts straight. This program looks great!
BrowardTeacher

United States

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#26
Oct 19, 2007
 
gateway wrote:
and to that end..how do they prove the work was done by the student and not someone else...like their parents? I mean, people do that even assisting a regular school in class, I can't imagine in an online class!...
I just do not agree with the idea of a computer replacing human contact...specially when it comes to learning...
Please someone instruct me... I want to know more...
Students are required to complete oral assessments, or quizzes, over the phone with the teacher. A parent must be present, but not helping the student. Quizzes and Tests are timed, and when submitted, the teacher is able to see the amount of time used to complete the test. A red flag would be a student who is able to receive perfect scores on assignments, but unable to duplicate or come close to duplicating those results on a quiz or a test. As far as interaction with other students, one tool is a program called Elluminate, which is an online whiteboard. This is an interactive program used by teachers to demonstrate lessons, where with a microphone, the teacher can talk to the students. These are just a few of the tools, but I hope it quells your concerns
Tch2cheer

Jacksonville, FL

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#27
Oct 19, 2007
 
Actually, this information would be incorrect. All teacher start at pay scale 1- no matter how many years of experience. The pay difference is also because the teachers work a 241 day contract, not a 186. Thirdly, teachers at FLVS are on an annual contract. They must continue to show their effort to remain actively learning as a teacher, actively engaging students in the classroom, and meeting the needs of all students.
GatorGal23 wrote:
Actually, Virtual School isn't cheaper, because Virtual School teachers make far higher salaries than traditional teachers. I know many teachers who are waiting for positions to open up in Virtual School because the work is easier and the pay is higher.
Teresa King

Orlando, FL

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#28
Oct 19, 2007
 

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Hi GatorGal, While traditional school teachers work 9 months a year, FLVS instructors work 12 months. When you factor in three more months of work each year, the pay is actually quite equitable. Contrary to your assumption, the work is not easier--it is simply different.
GatorGal23 wrote:
Actually, Virtual School isn't cheaper, because Virtual School teachers make far higher salaries than traditional teachers. I know many teachers who are waiting for positions to open up in Virtual School because the work is easier and the pay is higher.
FLVS SUPPORTER

Louisville, KY

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#29
Oct 19, 2007
 

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FLVS provides opportunities for students. Something many brick and mortar schools do not. Throughout the state of Florida we have many school board members that are making decisions based on the best interest of themselves. This is wrong! Decisions should be based on the student! Florida Virtual School prides itself on making decisions that are in the BEST interest of our students. This begins by hiring the best teachers possible. Again, over 80 teachers are Nationally Board Certified and all teachers are certified in the respective areas which they teach. Also, Someone commented on the fact that we do not know if a child is completing their own work. First of all, we have constant communication with our students and parent. Thats right, parents! We even call our parents when their child is doing well! We believe if the parent is involved in their childs education that the child will be more successful. Holding the parents accountable to ensure integrity is one of the many ways we address this problem. Secondly, Through chatting with students we will know whether or not the child has completed their own work. For example, In the PE class one of the oral components asks the students to discuss what they have learned in previous lessons as well as more specific questions related directly to specific topics. If a student struggles with this we know that they have not done the work. FLVS has a strong Academic Integrity Policy as we have to in order to be held accountable to all of the doubters. I encourage you to stop by the website www.flvs.net for a peek into the amazing opportunity that FLVS provides our students. It really is amazing!

Since: Aug 07

Orlando, FL

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#30
Oct 19, 2007
 
My daughter is taking Spanish II through FLVS. Initially, I assumed this would be an easy A. How challenging could a class be if you're taking it at home, right? Well, she is working just as hard as she would have in her regular high school -- probably harder. She has to turn in oral assignments and do oral parts of her exams. Her teacher talks with me every month and e-mails me updates regularly. And the teacher is available to answer questions whenever we need her. The best part is that I can go online and see exactly where my child stands. The biggest challenge is keeping her on pace. There have been times when she has put off her online assignments to do other things and then discovered she was quite a few assignments behind. But the teacher notifid us once she saw that and we were able to get right back on track. I absolutely love FLVS!
WTH

Ormond Beach, FL

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#31
Oct 19, 2007
 
My friend's son was being bullied in middle school. She pulled him out last year & started FLVS. So, she gets to "home school" him with a set curriculum.

My daughter started this year, taking Spanish on-line as she had no room in her schedule (block scheduling) for it and it is required for a 4 year college. She does it a few nights a week, for about an hour. She likes it. I think we'll look into more classes for her for next year.
Tamara Schmitt

United States

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#32
Oct 19, 2007
 
Leslie,

That was a great article. Thanks so much for including my children.
Tamara Schmitt

United States

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#33
Oct 19, 2007
 
That question regarding socialization has been raised since before I started home schooling my children 9 years ago. I can only tell you what my children's "social life" consists of. My daughter is the returning president of her 4-H group which involves projects in the local fair, talent shows, and demonstrations in fron of judges as well as peers just to name a few. She has shown horses and is presently working on showing dogs. She has more friends than I can keep count of which can sometimes hinder her getting schoolwork done (similar to students who attend public school). My son has been playing baseball for several seasons. He has been a regular 1st baseman and I've been told he is one of the best in his league. He is also in 4-H. He too has numerous friends. Both of my children are very social, not only with children their same age, but also with children younger as well as adults. Schooling my children at home has, to me, allowed them to be who they really are, not who their peers label them.
Proud FLVS Parent

Tampa, FL

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#34
Oct 19, 2007
 

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This was a great article, Leslie. Keep up the great work reporting on FLVS. Taxpayers want to know how their dollars are being spent. If I had my choice, every student in FL would be required to take at least 2 courses with FLVS. I have seen first-hand how FLVS courses help prepare a student for the real world, as I have one child in college at UF and another who went to vocational school and is now working with an electric company. Both use skills learned at FLVS to communicate with their supervisors/professors, classmates/co-workers, etc. I agree with the previous post... Global education is coming to a classroom near you!
An FLVS Mom

Orlando, FL

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#35
Oct 19, 2007
 
Mary Cee wrote:
Gifted children need to be with their peers in order to mature normally; sending them to a private school is not only expensive but elitist. Truly gifted children have a greater need to exercise their intelligence than normal or high achievers are inclined towards.
As a Mom of an overachiever all I can say is "oh please" - you can't be serious here. The "gifted" child needs to be with peers of all levels because, guess what....that is the real world! You actually don't think your child will mature "normally" if they don't socialize with fellow gifted students? ALL students need to exercise their intelligence to excel and learn just what they are capable of achieving. The beauty of FLVS is that every student gets one on one help and the motivation they need to succeed and, more importantly, build confidence. Yes, some students can handle Honors or AP while others cannot - but that doesn't mean that those kids shouldn't work and learn from each other. OK - off my soapbox now.
runner

United States

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#36
Oct 19, 2007
 
I am a student taking personal fitness online. You have not been given all the facts by your peers. I work out 4 days a week for this class. I do have some work to do on the computer too. But, I have to keep a work out log, monitor my heart rate, food I eat and more. Taking it on line is all about me and my fitness not about the rest of the class and their fitness. I am pushing myself harder because of the requirements of the course.
FLVS Educator

Castle Rock, CO

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#37
Oct 19, 2007
 
As a school teacher who has worked in traditional Public, in Private and as an online teacher for FLVS- I can honestly say I have never worked harder and been more professionally rewarded than I have with FLVS. The remark about FLVS being a cushy, easy, high paying job are totally bogus (please see Julie's Comments). The relationships I have with my students and parents and the creative outlets and professional development opportunities I have with FLVS far exceed any experiences I had at a private school or brick and mortar setting.
Curious

United States

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#38
Oct 19, 2007
 
Ive read through the comments, and noticed that no one brought up the idea of the FCAT. Do these students have to take it? If not is their diploma just as good as a 'regular' school diploma?

If the FCAT isnt required, seems to me, that this would just be a good way for many students to get out of taking the FCAT.
WTH

Ormond Beach, FL

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#39
Oct 19, 2007
 
Curious wrote:
Ive read through the comments, and noticed that no one brought up the idea of the FCAT. Do these students have to take it? If not is their diploma just as good as a 'regular' school diploma?
If the FCAT isnt required, seems to me, that this would just be a good way for many students to get out of taking the FCAT.
My friends son doesn't take the FCAT. He's fully enrolled at FLVS.
An FLVS Mom

Orlando, FL

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#40
Oct 19, 2007
 
Curious wrote:
Ive read through the comments, and noticed that no one brought up the idea of the FCAT. Do these students have to take it? If not is their diploma just as good as a 'regular' school diploma?
If the FCAT isnt required, seems to me, that this would just be a good way for many students to get out of taking the FCAT.
Remember that FLVS is not a school that "graduates" students. The students need to either be in a homeschool program or be taking classes at their public high school. Students DO need to pass the FCAT in a public school, even if they take courses through FLVS. If the student is homeschooled, then (like private schools) the FCAT is not required, but they have other avenues they must take to prove that learning has indeed occurred. Though many would like to say this is a way to get out of the FCAT - it is not. The same rules apply.

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