Virtual School Meanderings

August 30, 2014

Virtual Schooling In The News

InTheNewsBeginning with the ASCD SmartBrief

How one district navigated the path to blended learning

School children (8-9) with female teacher working with computers
(Tetra Images – Jamie Grill)

This article profiles a North Carolina district’s transition to blended learning. The district — comprised of 36 schools — began the transition in 2012 with a Race to the Top grant and the help of blended-learning coaches. So far, the district has implemented the model in four middle schools, where all students have been given laptops. (8/28)

Also, the SmartBrief for EdTech.

Mass. schools go digital with new online courses, teacher websites
Milford Daily News (Mass.) (8/24)

Pa. district invests in online course delivery, mobile learning app
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (8/27)

Back to the regular Google News alert for virtual school.

New Rock Hill charter school calls first week a success

Often, virtual school works well for students with medical issues, or military families, or families whose religious calendar does not align with a …

Online learning options expanding

While some districts are enhancing offerings of individual online classes, the state’s second virtual school, based in Walpole, is preparing to offer …

Online school programs growing, despite challenges

“He’s learning much more in the virtual school,” she said during a start-of-year “school social” at Cleveland Park late late week. “Having older children …

Virtual Schools A Flexible Option For Students

GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – Most students spend the first day of school finding their locker or their home room. But Tristin Thomas spent his first …

Virtual schools plan raises troubling questions

The idea of virtual charter schools may be worth exploring. But the way North Carolina appears to be going about it holds little promise toward better …

South Carolina’s Virtual School Program renamed

State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais announced on Aug. 19 that the South Carolina Virtual School Program (SCVSP) will now be known as …

Going Back to School at a Virtual School

Going Back to School at a Virtual School … Today is the first day of school for Utah Connections Academy, a tuition-free K-12 online public school.

Florida Virtual School Launches Skating Game To Reinforce Geometry Concepts

Solar Skate asks students in grades 4-8 to use geometry concepts to rebuild a Florida Virtual School (FLVS) has partnered with Grom Social to create …

Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School Welcomes Students …

GREENFIELD, Mass., Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School, the …

Portland sets sights on virtual homeschoolers

Should Maine high schools offer virtual academic programs? … When asked why the district didn’t just create its own virtual charter school, he said the …

Some Upstate students boot up to go back to school

As thousands of Upstate children hopped in big yellow school buses and headed off to big brick schoolhouses last week, the state’s virtual schools hit …

Online school programs growing, despite challenges

This year, there are twice as many virtual schools and more than four times as … “He’s learning much more in the virtual school,” she said during a …

Going Back to School at a Virtual School

Students across the state are starting school today by logging on instead of lining up. Learn more about Utah’s online public school option for K-12 …

Virtual Schools A Flexible Option For Students

And, perhaps surprisingly, most parents don’t see their students distracted by the temptations of technology like wandering away from virtual school to …

Three groups apply for remaining charter school spots in Maine

Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is visiting Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three hardest hit …

Mobile, Baldwin online schools have room for more students

The Mobile County school system’s new Envision Virtual School for grades 6-12, just launched in July, has 187 students enrolled. School officials had …

Virtual schools offer an alternative public education

They attend a virtual school. Makaela Morisato is an aspiring young dancer who is now getting a high school education online through iUniversity …

Importance of online learning for children highlighted

It is competing for students with Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School and this type of e-learning education …

Ebel: Some tips to help virtual school students succeed

As the executive director at South Carolina Connections Academy, a K–12 virtual school that serves more than 3,000 students statewide, I’ve …

Lee Virtual School student: Prayers don’t belong in lesson

The principal of the virtual school responded saying, “At our orientation, we explained there may be rare instances in our curriculum that a parent or …

Back to School Anything but Routine for Oregon Virtual School Students

NORTH BEND, Ore., Aug. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — New school supplies and meeting new teachers are still part of the first day of …

Virtual school’s enrollment on rise

The Smoky Valley School district created its virtual school to provide students with educational opportunities outside of the traditional classroom.

Local teacher pioneers virtual classrooms

Currently the Chief Learning Officer for Florida’s Virtual School, Ryerson has been there from the beginning, first helping to promote the school and …

ack-to-school: New program offerings at Zeeland Public Schools

With a revamped non-traditional education program in place and an all new virtual school option, Zeeland Public Schools staff are hoping to engage …

Finally, the Google News alert for cyber school.

Online school programs growing, despite challenges

“He’s learning much more in the virtual school,” she said during a … Cyber Academy of South Carolina, based in Greenville, is using a blended …

Feds dispute ex-PA Cyber chief’s claims of illegal attorney-client recordings

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Pittsburgh asked a federal judge not to throw out charges against Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School founder Nicholas …

Donation Saves Southern Indiana School

They’ve worked for months to keep a school in their town, first by establishing a partnership with Indiana Cyber Charter School (ICCS). The next step …

School board to vote Wednesday on contract for Cathy Dusman

… they say she has been handling these same duties since last August when she became coordinator for the cyber school, a non-administrative role.

Danville e-Learning Cyber Academy enrollment jumps in Year 2

Danville e-Learning Cyber Academy students Cassandra Lindenfeld, left, and Samantha Shoop, right, work on an assignment together at the …

Back to school: Deer Lakes, Fox Chapel, Highlands, North Allegheny

New at the middle school is a full-time cyber school pilot program. The Fox Chapel Area Online initiative builds on last year’s high school cyber …

Former Manor Elementary School going up for bid

The building be a good space from which to operate a cyber school, said Levino, who moved to Irwin in 2005 after 40 years in Manor. “It was a shame …

State judge denies CASD’s request to revoke Dusman reinstatement during appeal

… she has the same responsibilities she has had for the past year in her non-administrative role as CASD’s coordinator for the county cyber school.


August 29, 2014

Plugged In | 08.29.14 | (powered by iNACOL)

This entry is being posted backdated.

A final word today from the neo-liberals…

To view this email as a web page, go here.
International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)
Last week, I heard the following exchange between an education entrepreneur and a philanthropist for 9,358th time – Education entrepreneur: “I want to start a [insert new idea].” Philanthropist: “Great. How is it going to scale?” I work for an education…
The Prescott News
The motto for the Prescott Unified School District is “The Smart Choice,” and at Prescott High School the word ‘choice’ has been truly embraced. With high academic standards, college dual enrollment opportunities, athletics and numerous extracurricular activities…
Impatient Optimists
Here at the Gates Foundation, our priority is to dismantle some of the biggest barriers to effective teaching and learning: teacher isolation, lack of time for professional learning, one-size-fits-all instruction. The Common Core State Standards allow for unprecedented…
The Hechinger Report
As a hazy morning sun rises over the rural farm community surrounding North Iredell Middle School, the students take their seats and lift their MacBooks to start the school day. Soon, the glow of hundreds of screens illuminates each face in every classroom. Inside Skye…
Keeping Pace
As we are nearing completion of writing Keeping Pace 2014, we’ve been thinking quite a bit about the different lenses through which to consider the digital learning landscape. Among the words that best describes the landscape is uneven. Three of the key…
Getting Smart
Reflecting on east coast meetings this week with teachers and education providers it’s clear that they’re both trying to figure out the emerging blended learning landscape. Here are 5 trends we discussed in both settings and next steps for EdLeaders and…
The Boston Globe
As more school systems embrace digital technology, disputes like the one that recently erupted at the Mendon-Upton School District will become more common: A middle-class parent complained about the fairness of a policy that allowed only low-income students…
The Catholic Sun
A $4.75 million grant to benefit Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Phoenix will not only enhance digital learning, but help propel them through the 21st century. For the first time, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has awarded monies to support and expand…
Christensen Institute
In the education sector, we love standards. We have academic standards like the Common Core that define what students need to know as they progress from one grade level to the next. We have standards such as the National Board for Professional…
CBC News
Three more Yukon schools are changing the way they deliver courses, following a pilot project in Watson Lake. Yukon Education is investing in a program called blended learning. It allows students to pursue online courses offered through Moodle: an open…
Kaitlin Morgan says, this year, her school district is going “full Google.” Morgan teaches U.S. and world history and advises the yearbook at Woodlake Union High School in California’s Central Valley. At Woodlake, “full Google” means a plan to have one Google…
The McPherson Sentinel
A growing number of Kansas students no longer have to attend school to be enrolled in school. The Smoky Valley School district created its virtual school to provide students with educational opportunities outside of the traditional classroom. Since the school opened…
Digital Learning Now
As someone who is lucky to have friends all over the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast – every week from early August through early September involves a new round of pictures on my Facebook feed with captions to the effect of, “I can’t believe (…) is already in (…)…
The Wall Street Journal
In South Korea, the yearly college entrance exam is a make-or-break moment for young people’s lives. So when the new education minister hinted at a significant reform, local news outlets and social media jumped. At issue is the $18 billion South Korean parents…
2014 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium


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[L_OSBC_Announce] FW: Career and Skills Training Toolkit

For my west coast readers in British Columbia…

Another exciting announcement from one of our Project Managers…

Subject: Career and Skills Training Toolkit

Another OSBC project has gone ’live’!

I have been working with Larry Espe (Superintendent of Trades and Student Transitions), Tim Winkelmans (Director of E-Learning), and a dedicated working group of career educators from across the province to develop the Careers and Skills Training “Toolkit”. Housed in the Ministry of Education’s website, this web resource has been created to help school district personnel and career educators evaluate their careers programs, develop strategies, and provide “tools” to enhance career, skills and trades programs in their districts.

Big thanks go to:

*   Monique, for all her guidance with this project;
*   Bev, for creating the PDFs for the website; and
*   Janet for accompanying me to meetings even though her part of the project was sliced back.

Check out the Toolkit here:

Phase two of this project is already underway!


Approved: For_Publication

I invite you to share this with your colleagues either by forwarding the email or by printing it and posting it in your common area.

Thank you,

Michael Cochrane
Educational Services Support Manager
Open School BC
Education resources and services

250 356-9456 FAX:250 356-6036
Visit us online at:
You can also follow us on Twitter: @_osbc
Like us on Facebook:

L_OSBC_Announce mailing list

NCVPS E-lert for August 28, 2014

Also from yesterday’s inbox…

Districts and Charter Schools,
Please forward this E-lert to your school-level stakeholders. If you are having difficulty viewing this email, you may view the E-lert online here:
August 28, 2014 – In This Issue:

Calendar Check
August 26 – Traditional calendar classes begin.
August 29 – Traditional Calendar Day 3 Status Report posted in the registration system. See which students have not logged in!
September 5 – Traditional Calendar Day 7 Status Report posted in the registration system. See which students have not logged in!
September 9 – Last day to add or drop students from traditional calendar classes.

We heard . . . .
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ~Carl Sagan.

“To admit that you begin the day planning to change the world certainly sounds grandiose, maybe even delusional.  Yet, I believe that you do change the world every day, whether you intend to or not.  Often it only takes a small act to make a difference.” ~Mark Sanborn

“A teacher can either cement mediocrity or inspire excellence in a student, regardless of what subject is being taught.”  ~ Stephen R. Covey

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” ~Leonard Bernstein
“No rule you make during the 1st weeks of school will cause good behavior in May. Strong relationships will though.” ~Dr. Joe Clark
“The trouble is learning requires rethinking and rethinking hurts.”


“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” ~ B. B. King

‘”The best teachers are the ones that show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.”

NCVPS Celebrations
Districts and Schools, tell us about your success stories. Let us hear about individual student successes, increased virtual enrollment, outstanding lab facilitators, or virtual support processes that your school or district has in place. We would love to promote these stories.

Click here to tell us about your successes.

E-lert Subscription
If you are not on the E-lert subscription list, but would like to be, please add your name to our list here.

Current E-lert News

Registration Updates
A Busy Week
It’s been a busy week at NCVPS. Schools have enrolled over 5,000 students in the last week. This has caused some of our systems to be sluggish. We apologize for that!
Here are the numbers for the past week:
Thank you for your patience during this time! We look forward to serving you all.
Direct Links
Due to the large amount of traffic going through the NCVPS website, we are asking advisors to use direct links to our registration system and students to use direct links to their courses. This will ensure a better quality NCVPS experience for everyone. We greatly appreciate it! Here are the direct links to bookmark:


Student Status No-Show Reports (Action Required)
NCVPS will post a Day 3 and Day 7 Status Report for traditional calendar courses in the registration system on the following dates:
Day 3: August 29
Day 7: September 5
The status reports will indicate if students have or have not logged in to their courses.

This link shows how to run the no-show report if you’re an e-learning coordinator or e-learning advisor.


The reports are labeled as “No Show Reports.”


District coordinators, you may run this report for your entire district and see where there might be problem areas.

If students have not logged in, please make contact with those students. Make sure they are aware that they are registered for the course, that the course has started, and that they have their usernames and passwords.
Please make sure that you have made your final drops by NCVPS’s tenth day of class. Our Day 10 is September 9.
Any students on the roster after Day 10 will be counted in the district’s allotment totals, and those students will receive a grade.
Student Rosters
If you are missing any students on your rosters who you need to register, please open a ticket with our Virtual Support Center here:
Include the following minimum information in your ticket:
  • Student’s name
  • Student’s PowerSchool number
  • School name
If available, we also request the following information to expedite the enrollment process:
  • Student’s Email
  • Does the student have an IEP?
  • Does the student have a 504 Plan?
Waitlisted Students
We will continue to open new sections based on what we see on the waitlists. Please go ahead and add students to the waitlist for a course if you would like to enroll them.
We do have a number of courses that are at capacity. Courses that are at capacity will not have any new sections opened. The only way that students will move off the waitlist is if a student who is already enrolled in the course drops. We will continue to move students off the waitlist in courses that are at capacity through Day 10 of the course as enrolled students drop.
Student Contact Information
It is essential that schools use a student’s correct email address and phone number when they enroll.
PLEASE DO NOT use a staff member’s email address and school phone when you enroll students. If you do, it will create two major issues:
1. NCVPS teachers will not have the correct email address to contact students. It is imperative that our teachers have this. It helps ensure the success of your students.
2. It enrolls the staff member’s email address into the class forums. Students will not get their forum updates, and the staff member’s inbox will be flooded with updates.

Tech Updates

We have some important tips from our tech team. These tips help ensure smooth operations.

Help Desk Ticketing Tips
When opening a Help Desk ticket please always include the following:
  • Student’s first and last name
  • Students ID number
  • Course enrolled

Chromebooks do not allow any 3rd party apps to be download. Chromebook users do not have access to basic essentials like Firefox and Java.

We do not recommend Chromebooks for NCVPS courses.
For additional information please see out Tech Requirements:


Password Resets

If you have had your password reset, the new password will not expire unless you have reset it. If you have forgotten what your password was reset to, you can look up the help desk ticket to access the new password.


Student Email Confirmations in Moodle and Blackboard

Please have students confirm or update their e-mail address in our learning management systems. Here’s how to do that. (This is also on our Getting Started Checklist for NCVPS Students.)
In Moodle:
* Navigate to Administration
* My Profile settings
* Edit Profile
* Verify or update e-mail
* Scroll to bottom and “Update Profile”
In Blackboard:
* Click on students name in the upper right side of your BB course
* Click on setting
* Click on Personal Information
* Click on Edit Personal Information to update e-mail
* Scroll to bottom and Submit

Peer Tutoring Center
Did you know NCVPS has a Peer Tutoring Center? We do. And it’s fantastic.
If you have students who need some extra help in our classes or maybe just need some help in navigating our learning management system or managing their workload, have them seek help from our Peer Tutoring Center.
The Peer Tutoring Center offers the following services to NCVPS students:
Peer Tutoring – Peer Tutors provides tutoring in specific content areas

Virtual Buddy – Virtual Buddies are select student volunteers who have agreed to work with NCVPS students who need more than content help in their online classes.


Quick Questions – Services are available to all students via Blackboard IM at the start of the semester. For the first four weeks, this is the primary work we provide to ALL NCVPS students.


Please refer students needing services to thier NCVPS instructors or to the Peer Tutoring Center button within their NCVPS course.
The Peer Tutoring Center also publishes the Peer Tutoring Blog. This blog is run by the NCVPS Peer Tutor staff. Articles are posted bi-weekly and are about a variety of topics, from the best way to manage school work to embracing the opportunities which life throws at you. You can see some of the previous articles in the Tutor Talk Blog. .

District and School Semester Prep
Traditional Calendar Classes begin on August 26.
Please follow this link to see how to prepare for the upcoming semester.

Science Olympiad
Did you know that NCVPS has a Science Olympiad team? That’s right! We sent four students to the state competition last year, are we are already recruiting for the team this year.
Students saw this promo video in their courses this week:
(click image to view video)
If you have any NCVPS students who are interested in being part of our Science Olympiad team, please have them contact Dr. Jones at .

Middle School Success 101

NCVPS is offering Middle School Success 101 this fall. Originally we had planned to enroll students by hand, but with the volume of interest we received, we decided to allow each middle school to enroll on its own.  Look for the course title “Middle School Success 101″ in our registration system.


We will be reviewing the waitlists daily and open new sections.  However, we are limited to 10 sections for Fall 2014 as we roll out this new course, so please do not delay in enrolling your students.


Please keep in mind that this course is not for high school credit. This is a middle school course.

ACT Prep Course

NCVPS C&I is happy to share an ACT Prep course is in development and will be ready to pilot in Fall 2014. We will only offer 8 sections of 25 students for the fall. We will make the course available to everyone in the Spring 2015.


If you are interested in enrolling students in our ACT Prep course for Fall 2014, please sign up now. There are limited seats available.


If you have questions, please contact Karen Creech at

Catalogs for Virtual Learning 
in North Carolina
NCVPS Courses
NCVPS offers over 150 different courses, including advanced placement, electives, traditional, honors, core, STEM, occupational course of study, and credit recovery courses.

Vendor Approved Courses

In addition to NCVPS courses, North Carolina public schools also have a list of approved third-party vendor courses that they may choose from for virtual classes. Please follow this link to see the list of approved vendor courses. More on the vendor approval process can be found here.

Here are the newest approved vendor courses: (Course Title – Vendor)

  • AP German – Oklahoma State University
  • Physics – Edmentum

Speaking Virtually
Have you noticed that the digital world and online learning have their own jargon?  We would like to help everyone speak virtually. Here are two terms for this week:

Gamification: Gamification is the current practice of adding games and game thinking to non-game contexts like in the classroom or in online courses. This makes learning more engaging and exciting!
Mobile Learning: Mobile learning is specifically designed to be used on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets. Mobile-learning is convenient because it allows anywhere, anytime learning.

Twitter School
Follow us on Twitter! Throughout the week, our team posts valuable links that help followers better understand today’s learners and find the right tools to teach with, ideas that are important to all educators. Dive a little deeper into virtual education with the following links curated by the NCVPS Professional Learning team.
“How our ancestors emailed each other.” ~Student (Unsplash photo credit -
the internet’s free image source)
 Learn with us on Twitter here:
North Carolina Virtual Public School
1017 Main Campus Drive, Partners I Bldg.,
SUITE 3900, Raleigh, NC 27606
Phone:  919-513-8550   |  Fax:  919-513-2557  |


Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter

North Carolina Virtual Public School | 1017 Main Campus Drive, Partners I Bldg., SUITE 3900 | Raleigh | NC | 27606


Adam Renfro
Outreach and Support Coordinator
North Carolina Virtual Public School
NCVPS Virtual Support Center:

Note: All email correspondence to and from this address is subject to public review under the NC Public Records Law. As a result, messages may be monitored by and disclosed to third parties.

MVLRI Initiatives Webinar – Recording Link And Slides Available

From yesterday’s inbox…

Hi everyone,

We hope this email finds you well.

Thank you to those of you who joined us at yesterday’s inaugural edition of the MVLRI Webinar Series!

If you missed it or would like to re-review/share what you learned yesterday with others, the recording link and slides are below:

Recording link:


Note: Downloading the PowerPoint slides from SlideShare will provide you with the speakers’ notes, which include more information.

If you have any questions, contact us at Enjoy your day!


Twitter @MVLRI_MVU
Facebook /mvlrinstitute

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