Virtual School Meanderings

September 23, 2014

Court Clears Way For Virtual School Legal Fight

I saw this just before and as I was traveling to the NEPC Fellows meeting, and a couple of colleagues sent it to me directly.

Court Clears Way For Virtual School Legal Fight

TALLAHASSEE — Refereeing a fight in the online-education world, the state Supreme Court on Thursday said Florida Virtual School can pursue a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement by a private competitor.

Justices, in a unanimous opinion, rejected arguments that only the Florida Department of State can sue to protect trademarks of the state virtual school. The ruling went against the private K12 Inc., which provides online-education services in Florida and has used the names Florida Virtual Academy and Florida Virtual Program.

In a 19-page opinion written by Justice R. Fred Lewis, the Supreme Court said it interpreted state law as giving a “broad grant of rights and powers to the Florida Virtual School.” A law designating Florida Virtual School as a state agency was approved in 2000.

“It is reasonable to conclude that the Legislature in 2000 intended to give this new concept agency as much autonomy as possible to succeed in what was a cutting-edge educational endeavor,” the opinion said. “Requiring the Florida Virtual School to seek assistance from a different state agency to protect its legal rights, as well as school intellectual property from third-party misappropriation and misuse, would be inconsistent with overall statutory language that grants the trustees (of the virtual school) the authority to ensure the ‘proper operation and improvement’ of the school.”

Florida Virtual School filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 alleging trademark infringement. But a U.S. district judge threw out the case, saying Florida Virtual School did not have legal standing to file the case because that power is held by the Department of State.

The dispute went to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which then asked the Florida Supreme Court to rule on whether state law gives Florida Virtual School the authority to pursue the case.

In a brief filed in December, K12 Inc., said it entered into a contract with the state Department of Education in 2003 to provide online-teaching services and that the department approved the use of “Florida Virtual Academy” and “Florida Virtual Program.”

The brief said the Department of State is required under law to manage intellectual-property assets for Florida Virtual School and other state agencies.

“FLVS (Florida Virtual School) thus does not own the intellectual property it uses; the state does,” the brief said. “And the Department of State, not FLVS, may sue to protect and enforce those marks.”

But the Supreme Court outlined parts of state laws that it said give Florida Virtual School the authority to protect trademarks.

“If third parties could wrongfully appropriate the Florida Virtual School trademarks without repercussions, the school would lose customers, contracts, and revenue, and its operation would be significantly compromised,” the ruling said. “Instead, the broad and unqualified language in (a section of state law) supports our conclusion that the Legislature intended to give the Florida Virtual School the authority to file legal actions to protect school trademarks against infringement.”

June 21, 2014

Florida Establishes Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts

And what would any day in K-12 online learning be without something from the neo-liberals…

June 20, 2014
Contact: Press Office

Florida Establishes Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts
Governor Scott Signs Bill Giving Families More Choices for Students with Special Needs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a school choice policy ensuring that students with unique abilities benefit from educational choices beyond those already offered through the McKay Scholarship Program. The signing of Florida Senate Bill 850 establishes Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts (PLSAs), modeled after Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Advocated by the Foundation for Excellence in Education (@ExcelinEd), the program allows parents of students with certain disabilities to create a customized education plan by choosing the school, services and therapies that best fit the needs of their child.

“Every child has unique learning needs, and we should strive to customize education opportunities that meet those needs,” said Governor Jeb Bush, chairman of ExcelinEd. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature, Florida is giving families the ability to achieve more successful outcomes for their children. Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts are just one more example of what can be accomplished when leaders embrace bold policy and challenge the status quo to give more students the chance to succeed in school and life, regardless of the challenges they face.”

Through flexibility provided by these scholarship accounts, parents can choose the educational setting most appropriate for their child while balancing the optimal level of support required for educational success.

“Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts will provide important resources students and their parents can utilize to make certain our students receive an education tailored to their unique abilities,” said Florida Senate President-Designate Andy Gardiner, who championed PLSAs through the Legislature.

Longwood, Fla., mother Julie Kleffel, sole caregiver for her seven-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, pays out-of-pocket for the added therapies that help her daughter thrive. She says PLSAs will make important services more manageable for her family and many others.

“For my daughter, this means she can maintain the speech therapies that are working so well for her, and we can increase or add to them as needed with things like physical or occupational therapy,” said Kleffel. “I want her to be as successful as possible. As a parent, it can be overwhelming, but this will allow Faith to benefit from services that otherwise would not have been accessible to us.”

Jacksonville, Fla., mother Melissa Ward’s eight-year-old son Ethan has cerebral palsy and benefits from speech, physical and occupational therapies, along with tutoring. But the family has had to limit those helpful services due to the financial burden.

“This new program is a huge blessing,” Ward said about PLSAs. “It means we will be able to provide more of the therapies that work for Ethan. We’ll be able to give him the tools he needs to be successful academically and in everyday life.”

The program begins with the 2014-15 school year. Later this summer, the Department of Education will identify organizations to administer the program, and eligible students can then apply through those organizations.

Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts build on the State’s record of serving all Florida students. In 1999, Governor Bush and the Florida Legislature established the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program to expand parental choice. To date, thousands of students have been served through this successful program.

In Florida’s state budget passed this year, $18.4 million was allocated to fund PLSAs. Another student-centered policy passed through Senate Bill 850, families in the Sunshine State will be given increased access to private school scholarships through the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

Parents who want to learn more about Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts in Florida are encouraged to contact the Florida Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice at 1-800-447-1636.

# # #

View or print this Personal Learning Scholarship Account handout for parents!

Sample tweets to share this news:

  • PRESS RELEASE from @ExcelinEd: Florida establishes Personal Learning Scholarship Accounts!
  • Gov. @JebBush: “FL is giving families the ability to achieve more successful outcomes for their children.”
  • Just in! @FLGovScott signs bill giving families more choices for students w/ special needs. More from @ExcelinEd

Help spread the word using this social media graphic!

View this release online.

The Foundation for Excellence in Education  is igniting a movement of reform, state by state, to transform education for the 21st century economy by working with lawmakers, policymakers, educators and parents to advance education reform across America. Learn more a t
Contact Us
P.O. Box 10691
Tallahassee, Florida 32302-2691


Follow Us

Foundation For
Excellence in Education
Copyright © 2014

Foundation for Excellence in Education · 215 S. Monroe Street · Suite 420 · Tallahassee, FL 32301 · USA

February 12, 2013

FLVS Featured Courses for Spring

Yet another item from Monday’s inbox…

Florida Virtual School Stay ConnectedFacebookTwitterYouTube
Featured Courses!
With more than 120 FLVS courses to choose from, we know that deciding which one to take can be a tough choice! We are hoping that we can make it just a little bit easier.
Featured Courses for Spring  

Check out our list of Featured Courses today! We offer everything from photography to science courses, so there is something for everyone.

This email was sent to by | Privacy Policy.
Florida Virtual School | 2145 MetroCenter Blvd, Ste 200 | Orlando | FL | 32835

January 12, 2013

FLVS Enters The Blogosphere!

Always nice to see another K-12 online learning voice enter the blogosphere.

Florida Virtual School Stay ConnectedFacebookTwitterYouTube
Big News!
We are excited to announce the official entrance of Florida Virtual School into the blogosphere!
The Virtual Voice - FLVS BlogFrom the latest trends in education to the future of online learning, now you can hear it straight from FLVS thought leaders.Read and subscribe today!
Florida Virtual School | 2145 MetroCenter Blvd, Ste 200 | Orlando | FL | 32835

December 8, 2012

FLVS Global- Virtual Leadership Training

This was posted to the iNACOL forums in the past few days…

Need help starting your online or blended learning program? Hear from the experts! Don’t miss Florida Virtual School’s (FLVS) next Virtual Leadership Training February 6 & 7 in Orlando, FL.

Virtual Leadership Training (VLT) is FLVS’s acclaimed professional development workshop for virtual leaders. For anyone tasked with creating or managing a virtual school or blended learning program, the two-day workshop hosted by FLVS Global is an amazing resource to help ask the right questions, do the right planning and create a blueprint for action. Participants spend two days with Florida Virtual School leaders who provide expert feedback for program development.

When: February 6 & 7, 2013
Where: Florida Virtual School Headquarters – Orlando, FL
Time: 9am-4pm ET
Topics: Hiring and staffing, funding and budget, policies, data and performance management, student recruiting and retention, accountability, curriculum, learning and performance management systems, evaluating and marketing your program

VLT Dates:
April 17 & 18, 2013
June 26 & 27, 2013
October 24 & 25, 2013

For more information, and registration visit

Next Page »

Blog at