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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James

Orlando, FL

#1 Oct 19, 2007
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.
Starflyer59

Gainesville, FL

#2 Oct 19, 2007
Florida Virtual School is great for our kids. My daughter takes three classes and really likes it.
Interested Observer

Farmington, CT

#3 Oct 19, 2007
This approach should be a lot cheaper for a lot of people - so where is the comparitive costs part of the newspaper reporter's article???

This is very important in a period of property tax problems.
Redogg

Orlando, FL

#4 Oct 19, 2007
This program should be expanded. A huge part of our traffic problem is related to getting students and school employees to school. If more were taking classes from home, we cuold eliminate the need for so many school buses and so many cars on the road.
Carole Hayes

Tallahassee, FL

#5 Oct 19, 2007
The motto is "Anytime, anyplace, any path, any pace"
Mary Cee

Palm Bay, FL

#6 Oct 19, 2007
This might be one answer for Gifted Children's (the real ones) lateral learning. 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. Virtual learning could provide that extra brain stimulation that such children need (demand, actually). The money saved by not sending them to a private school could be better used with cultural travel, etc.
Alex W-B

Bangkok, Thailand

#7 Oct 19, 2007
I took a number of AP courses through FLVS because my high school didn't offer them. I was able to save thousands by getting out of taking these courses at my university and instead getting them exempt through my AP scores and FLVS.
GatorGal23

Deland, FL

#8 Oct 19, 2007
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.
gateway

Orlando, FL

#9 Oct 19, 2007
Still not sure about how I feel about this. I am a strong believer in social interaction and exposure to certain situations (making friends, school social events, leadership skills, different cultures,etc.) for the human development. I guess, as long as these virtual courses have a mandated monthly group class or something like it, I would not have a problem.
S Ford

Altamonte Springs, FL

#10 Oct 19, 2007
Vitual School is a wonderful option for students in high school. My daughter loved it, took a heavy AP FLVS load along with a full AP and Hnors schedule in her own high school, and was able to graduate high school one year early with a 3.6 GPA. She is now in college at 17, and the FLVS experience helped her prepare. Her FLVS teachers were absolutely top notch, always available, and had better attitudes than most stressed public school teachers. FLVS also requires student/parent phone conferences so it is very enlightening for all concerned.
gateway

Orlando, FL

#11 Oct 19, 2007
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...
Interested Observer

Farmington, CT

#12 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.
That's bogus!!!

Virtual school should be a lot cheaper. As for the "positions", local greedy teachers are now in competition with teachers from Indian, China, Eastern Europe, and other areas who are just as good if not better, and work for a lot less money!!!

Open your eyes to the future!!
From an Educator

Titusville, FL

#13 Oct 19, 2007
I'd like to point out that a typical salary in the Central Florida area (Orange County), with Masters, is about 45K. That's to teach 10 months of the year. FLVS pays approximately 44K for the same, and requires teaching 12 months of the year, 24/7 availability to students, and a loss of weekend time.(You do the math.) Yes, there are teachers eager for the position so they can teach from "home," but not as many as you might think. Most see the loss of salary, spring break vacations, etc., as a disadvantage.
Julie

Macclenny, FL

#14 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.
Ahh - a myth. All FLVS teachers start at the same beginning salary regardless of whether they join as a 30 year veteran or a 3rd year teacher; one reason why FLVS is cheaper than the traditional system. In addition, 95% of staff would tell you that they have never worked harder than they work at FLVS. They must be on call 7 days a week from 8AM to 8PM and many work with kids much later in the evenings. They may be able to work in their shorts, but work they do. Due to comments such as this, the accountability for the teachers is much higher than in any brick and mortar school. There are always a few in every school that draw negative attention. It is the exception, not even close to the norm. Over 80 of our teachers are NBCT, 50% have higher level degrees and the average work week in 45 hours. I do believe our teachers enjoy their work more than they ever had because of how they connect with kids and families - when you enjoy what you do, it always seems easier.
Olivia

Olla, LA

#15 Oct 19, 2007
OMG thats me!!!
Interested Observer

Farmington, CT

#16 Oct 19, 2007
India has millions of higher degree people. Many have a basic degree in a science or engineering field; then another degree in something else - like computers, management, healthcare, etc.

There is plenty of potential out there for a virtual school full of PHD's from around the world. And don't delude yourself - they are smart!!! Competition is fierce;

GLOBALIZATION IS COMING TO A CLASSROOM NEAR YOU!!!

P.S. the same is starting in the medical profession - remote web based operations using the web and robotic tools (the doctor could be in China!!!).

Or, if you like, you can just fly to the far east and have both an elected operation as well as a vacation for less than you'd pay here in the U.S.

Since: Oct 07

Melbourne

#17 Oct 19, 2007
Gatorgal -- While the cost of paying teachers might be higher, there is going to be massive savings in overhead, legal fees, insurance, and administrative costs. Administrative costs account for a bulk of our educational spending and using a program like virtual school is an excellent option for reducing these costs.
Amy Heflin

Largo, FL

#18 Oct 19, 2007
As a traditional school student, I took several PE classes. In elementary school, they were great. The teachers kept us moving and they interacted and played with us while outside. However, at the middle and high school level, PE classes became "free time". The teachers didn't care and they sat on benches or in the bleachers with their newspaper while we circled the track unenthusiastically. FLVS students who take PE classes say they learn so much more than they ever did in a traditional PE class. Our PE classes are about creating healthy lifestyles. They teach students how to make healthy choices with what they eat, how to exercise properly and effectively, and most of all, the kids keep this practice up long after the class has ended. Please don't discount the many benefits to be gained from taking PE on-line.
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.
Amy Heflin

Largo, FL

#19 Oct 19, 2007
Yes, FLVS does pay more, but don't be fooled by that. I was a traditional school teacher for 9 years before joining FLVS, and I have never worked harder in my life. Traditional school teachers work on average 7-8 hour days and no weekends. My hours of availability for my students are 8am - 8pm Monday - Sunday! However, even with those long hours, it's a different kind of hard work. Instead of spending a large amount of time in unnecessary meetings, I am spending my time focusing on my students. Our student centered approach allows me to do what I love most...work with students! FLVS also has annual contracts; there is no "job security" as there is in a traditional school. In a traditional school, bad teachers are allowed to continue teaching our children becuase they have been with the system forever and it is virtually impossible to be fired. FLVS prides itself on hiring only the best. Please don't think that because I work from home, my job is easier and less time consuming. I have a standard of excellence to maintain because I expect that of myself and because FLVS and my students excpect it of me.
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.
Kate

Butler, PA

#20 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.
Every part of that comment is definitely false. Please read Julie's comment.

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