As I began to think about the 5 Things I Know, I realized one of the 5 is that simplicity actually helps us focus our efforts. Therefore, in the spirit of simplicity, my 5 Things became 4 Things I Know as the following 4 paragraphs really embody the work we do through Florida Virtual Schools.
Hire the best teachers.
As more and more of our students demand educational options and as more and more states require online courses to graduate, the demand on providers and school districts such as Florida Virtual School increase at an alarming rate. Use best practices to evaluate, interview and hire the very best teachers available for they are still—even though technology is the tool for which we deliver our educational experience—the key to the success of the student!
Establish open lines of communication.
Virtual education is an ever-changing and evolving industry, and for many teachers moving to an on line teaching platform is a new experience. Communication about that evolution and the impact it has on areas such as common core, impact on the students and the impact it has on teachers is critical—and that goes in both directions!
Engage to drive success.
All too often we, as educators, ask our kids to ‘power down’ when they enter a classroom and put aside all of the tools and resources they use in their daily lives. And we want them to engage—that’s a tough task. Virtual learning is all about the balance between the right teachers, the right content, and the right amount of engagement to keep the student focused, encouraged and willing to learn. We all have motivational factors at play and our students are no different. They don’t do the work because they are asked; they do it because they want to, or for whatever reason is driving their performance. So let’s engage them in ways to make them the most successful they can be.
Value everything and everyone.
The old adage that it takes a village to raise a child is as close as it gets to it takes a village to educate a child. Every single child is unique—value that student. Each teacher has his or her own special way to encourage a student—value that teacher. Your administrators and your staff have their own unique role in the organization and without them you could not succeed. Value them. Every day we compete for the privilege of educating your children—we value that, too.
The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.
Julie Young, President and CEO of Florida Virtual School (FLVS ®), the nation’s largest and most influential Kindergarten – 12th grade online program, began her love for teaching and learning at a young age. Her accomplishments as a school teacher, trainer and assistant principal coupled with an interest in combining technology and learning evolved into a joint effort to launch the first statewide high school in 1997. Julie graduated with a MEd from the University of South Florida following her undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky. Throughout her educational career, she has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Excellence Award, named Technology & Learning Top 30 Influencers in Ed Tech, was featured in the nation’s Top 50 Innovative Leaders in the Converge 2011 Yearbook and was selected as the cover story in Florida Trend Magazine. Her passion and desire to see students succeed is the motivating factor behind all she does and is also the driving force behind why other online programs are modeled after Florida Virtual School.