What a crock of shit.  The survey asked the parents.  Didn’t bother to check the test scores of the kids.  Of course the parents think their kids did great.  They got A’s when they used to get D’s and F’s.  People are such idiots.

ORVA (K12) Students:  Voted most likely to live off their parents for the rest of their lives.

94% of Oregon Virtual Academy Students Benefitted Academically From Curriculum in 2015-2016

August 31, 2016

(Graphic: Business Wire) Multimedia Gallery URL

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

Students at Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA), an accredited, full-time, online public charter school, will begin their 2016-2017 school year on September 6, as the program marks its ninth year of operation in the state. According to a spring 2016 survey conducted by Edge Research, 94% of the families with students enrolled in the school during the 2015-2016 school year felt that their child had benefitted academically from the curriculum.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160831006588/en/

ORVA is open to all students in grades K through 12 who reside in Oregon. The rigorous and engaging curriculum offered by the school includes courses in language arts/English, math, science, history, world languages, art and music, as well as elective and Advanced Placement® courses for high school students. State-certified teachers provide instruction, guidance and support, and interact with students and parents via email, web-based classrooms, online discussions, phone and face-to-face meetings. As a public school option, there is no tuition.

ORVA students receive a well-rounded education and one that prepares them for successes after high school,” said Brandy Osborn, Head of School of Oregon Virtual Academy. “We at ORVA are proud of our school, our teachers, staff, and students. ORVA is a great choice for families who are interested in being actively involved in their children’s education.”

Flexibility is a key benefit for ORVA students. The online school setting enables advanced learners to progress faster in subjects at which they excel, while students who need more time to grasp a concept can get that opportunity. Additionally, teachers develop a personalized learning plan for each student that is mapped to their individual educational goals.

ORVA is still accepting enrollments for this fall. For more information, visit the school’s website at www.k12.com/orva.

About Oregon Virtual Academy

Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA) is an online public charter school authorized by the North Bend School District and open to students in grades K through 12. As part of the Oregon public school system, ORVA is tuition-free, giving parents and families the choice to access the award-winning curriculum and tools provided by K12 Inc. (LRN), the nation’s largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs. For more information about ORVA, visit www.k12.com/orva.

View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160831006588/en/

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160831006588/en/

What a crock of shit.  The survey asked the parents.  Didn’t bother to check the test scores of the kids.  Of course the parents think their kids did great.  They got A’s when they used to get D’s and F’s.  People are such idiots.

94% of Oregon Virtual Academy Students Benefitted Academically From Curriculum in 2015-2016

<i–< Students return to online public school September 6 —

August 31, 2016 07:28 PM Eastern Daylight Time

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Students at Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA),an accredited, full-time, online public charter school, will begin their 2016-2017 school year on September 6, as the program marks its ninth year of operation in the state. According to a spring 2016 survey conducted by Edge Research, 94% of the families with students enrolled in the school during the 2015-2016 school year felt that their child had benefitted academically from the curriculum.

ORVA students head back to school on Sept. 6!

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ORVA is open to all students in grades K through 12 who reside in Oregon. The rigorous and engaging curriculum offered by the school includes courses in language arts/English, math, science, history, world languages, art and music, as well as elective and Advanced Placement® courses for high school students. State-certified teachers provide instruction, guidance and support, and interact with students and parents via email, web-based classrooms, online discussions, phone and face-to-face meetings. As a public school option, there is no tuition.

“ORVA students receive a well-rounded education and one that prepares them for successes after high school,” said Brandy Osborn, Head of School of Oregon Virtual Academy. “We at ORVA are proud of our school, our teachers, staff, and students. ORVA is a great choice for families who are interested in being actively involved in their children’s education.”

Flexibility is a key benefit for ORVA students. The online school setting enables advanced learners to progress faster in subjects at which they excel, while students who need more time to grasp a concept can get that opportunity. Additionally, teachers develop a personalized learning plan for each student that is mapped to their individual educational goals.

ORVA is still accepting enrollments for this fall. For more information, visit the school’s website at www.k12.com/orva.

About Oregon Virtual Academy

Oregon Virtual Academy (ORVA) is an online public charter school authorized by the North Bend School District and open to students in grades K through 12. As part of the Oregon public school system, ORVA is tuition-free, giving parents and families the choice to access the award-winning curriculum and tools provided by K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), the nation’s largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs. For more information about ORVA, visit www.k12.com/orva.

Contacts

Team Soapbox
Anne Heavey, 206-528-2550
anne@teamsoapbox.com

Online School Students’ First Day of School is at Home

<i–< Idaho Technical Career Academy students return to online public
school September 6 —

August 30, 2016 05:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time

MERIDIAN, Idaho–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Students across the state of Idaho in grades K-12 will be returning to
school this fall in the comfort of their own home, having chosen to
attend the full-time, tuition-free, online public school, Idaho
Technical Career Academy (ITCA). ITCA has been operating in Idaho since
2014.

First day of school for ITCA students is September 6!

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ITCA is the state’s only career-technical education online public
charter school serving students in grades 9 through 12. Students have
the opportunity to explore four program options in key industries of
growth in the state: Business Administration, Automated Manufacturing,
Web Design, and Healthcare. The goal of ITCA is to develop a sequence of
instruction that teaches students occupational skills while ultimately
providing a pathway to job opportunities or to a technical college
program upon graduation.

The online school setting enables students in any geographic area of the
state to utilize this unique curriculum. Furthermore, the flexible
learning environment enables students to partner with professionals and
companies to apply the skills they are learning in a specific industry.

ITCA uses the award-winning K12 online curriculum to offer students in
grades K–12 an exceptional learning experience. The innovative
curriculum and technology, combined with a strong partnership between
families and teachers, creates an opportunity for teachers to focus on
each student’s academic needs, and gives a growing number of students a
powerful educational option to reach their true potential.

“ITCA is a new and exciting school option for kids in Idaho,” said Monti
Pittman, Head of School for ITCA. “The focus on career and technical
skill sets – combined with the commitment and passion of our staff –
provides our students with an amazing learning experience.”

Teachers for ITCA are Idaho-credentialed and provide instruction,
guidance and support, and interact with students and parents via email,
web-based classrooms, online discussions, phone and face-to-face
meetings.

ITCA is accepting enrollments for this fall. To learn more about
enrollment requirements visit http://itca.k12.com/.

About Idaho Technical Career Academy

Idaho Technical Career Academy (ITCA) is a full-time online public
school program that serves students in grades 9 through 12 statewide. As
part of the Idaho public school system, ITCA is tuition-free, giving
parents and families the choice to access the award-winning curriculum
and tools provided by K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN),
the nation’s largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online
education programs. For more information about ITCA, visit http://itca.k12.com/.

Contacts

Team SoapboxAnne Heavey, 206-528-2550anne@teamsoapbox.com

Maine Virtual Academy Celebrates Start of 2016-2017 School Year

Statewide online school welcomes students back on August 29th

August 26, 2016 04:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time

AUGUSTA, Maine–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Maine Virtual Academy (MEVA),a statewide online public charter
school, will begin the 2016-2017 school year on August 29. As an online
public school program authorized by the Maine Charter School Commission,
MEVA is tuition-free for students in grades 7-12 who reside anywhere in
the state.

The first day of school for MEVA students is August 29!

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MEVA incorporates online lessons and instruction from highly qualified,
Maine-licensed teachers who monitor student progress, provide
professional insight, and work in partnership with parents. Teachers
communicate with students and parents via phone, email and the online
classroom technology in order to provide an individualized approach that
helps prepare students for post-graduation career or college success.

“At Maine Virtual Academy we ensure the success of our students through
a dedicated approach to individualized education,” said Dr. Melinda
Browne, Head of School of Maine Virtual Academy. “Our teachers work
closely with students and their families to develop an individual
learning plan, which allows each student to work at their own pace and
meet his or her academic goals. We have an exciting year ahead of us and
look forward to our students’ continued success both in class and in the
MEVA community.”

Students can chose from a diverse middle school and high school K12catalog
of courses, including many electives that are not offered in traditional
schools. Students have the freedom to progress through lessons at their
own pace, while receiving quality instruction, support, and individual
attention from teachers. The school also offers clubs, school outings,
dances and other activities to foster community.

MEVA students receive instruction from their teachers during live,
interactive online classes, as well as through recorded sessions.
Teachers are also available to students and their Learning Coachesvia
email, phone and one-on-one online instruction.

MEVA is authorized by the Maine Charter School Commission and is
governed by an independent, non-profit board of directors. The school’s
team of educators and school leaders are based at the school’s
administrative headquarters. Interested families are encouraged to visit meva.k12.com
for more information on the school and how to enroll.

About Maine Virtual Academy

Maine Virtual Academy (MEVA) is a full-time online public school program
that serves students in grades 7 through 12. Authorized by the Maine
Charter School Commission, MEVA is available tuition-free to students in
the state of Maine and utilizes the award-winning curriculum from K12
Inc. (NYSE: LRN), the nation’s largest provider of proprietary
curriculum and online education programs for grades K-12. For more
information about MEVA, visit meva.k12.com.

Contacts

Maine Virtual Academy (MEVA)Donna Savarese, 703-436-3273dsavarese@k12.com

Students Head Back to School by Staying Home

<i–< School begins August 29 for online public school students

August 25, 2016 04:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time

SIMI VALLEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Local students in the areas of Kern, Inyo, Santa Barbara and San
Bernardino will begin their first day of the 2016-17 school year on
August 29 from the comfort of their own homes, choosing to attend the
full-time, tuition-free, online public charter school California Virtual
Academy @ Maricopa (CAVA @ Maricopa).

CAVA @ Maricopa is one of 10 independent charter schools in California
that uses the K12
online curriculum
 to offer students in grades K–12 a unique learning
experience. The virtual school setting allows both advanced learners and
those students who need additional assistance the support to find the
individualized learning experience they seek. The K12 online
curriculum enables teachers, parents and the students to build an
individualized learning plan, and provides support and flexibility in
the structure of the school setting.

“The students that enroll in California Virtual Academy @ Maricopa seek
a personalized learning experience that enables them to excel and
explore their own learning style,” said Kimberly Odom, Director of
Special Education. “Each student receives quality instruction and
support in a one-on-one setting as they grow throughout the year.”

Additionally, the schools offer a unique program called Community Day
that combines the best of online learning with weekly face-to-face
interaction. During Community Days students receive instruction from
teachers in math and language arts and participate in various other
educational activities, such as PE and science fairs, while parents
receive support and network with other parents.

CAVA @ Maricopa is still accepting enrollment of students for the
2016-2017 school year. In-person and online information sessions are
being held throughout the month.

For a complete list of back to school events and information sessions or
to learn more about enrolling, visit http://cava.k12.com
or call (866) 339-6787.

California Virtual Academy @ Maricopa

California Virtual Academy @ Maricopa is a tuition-free, online public
schools serving students in K-12 who are residents of Kern, Inyo, Santa
Barbara and San Bernardino counties. California-credentialed teachers
deliver lessons in an online classroom platform provided by K12 Inc.
(NYSE: LRN) with a combination of engaging online and offline
coursework—including a wide variety of books, CDs, videos, and hands-on
materials that are delivered to the student and make learning come
alive. Common household items and office supplies such as printer ink
and paper are not provided. California Virtual Academy @ Maricopa
provides opportunities for advanced learners, and prepares students to
be college and career ready at graduation. Learn more at http://cava.k12.com.

Contacts

Team SoapboxAnne Heavey, 206-528-2550anne@teamsoapbox.com

Homeschooling more ‘affordable and flexible’ for many parents in UAE

Education starts at home

Education and the costs attached to it is a hot topic in the UAE.

With fees rising year on year, many parents question whether their children are getting the correct level of learning for the money they are shelling out. But what’s the option? Homeschooling appears to be one avenue that is growing in popularity.

According to Ekta Dhameja, digital marketer at K12 Middle East, the number of UAE families choosing home education is increasing as “parents are taking a more active role in their child’s education”. Other reasons, she says, are affordability, flexibility and tailored learning.

Diane Menzies is a mum of four. She says her two eldest kids adapted well into the UAE school system, but it wasn’t the same for her younger ones, so they gave homeschooling a try. That was seven years ago. Now, they are in high school and happy with the progress they have made.

“Their academic grades have risen, their confidence and self-esteem are far higher,” Diane says. “We have decided to homeschool them until both graduate as I think the brick and mortar schools here have become far too expensive and the teaching support is just not there.”

Diane’s kids are enrolled in K12 – an online American curriculum school fully accredited and licensed by the KHDA. It currently has 700 students enrolled across the GCC.

So what are the benefits of homeschooling? Diane says: “They don’t have to sit at a desk the whole day, my daughter can often be found lounging on a bean bag in her sleepwear doing her school work. We also get one-on-one teaching from subject teachers, which is a huge help for kids who need extra support. I also found that much of the brick and mortar school days were filled with non-academic activities, book week, practising for plays and dress up days. Although this is good for the children I do think that it takes up too much time. We still have fun days, but academics is the main focus.”

With costs rising, parents are crunching numbers and, while it isn’t free, they see homeschooling as an affordable option. In K12, the tuition fee from kindergarten to grade eight is Dhs18,332 per annum.

Diane says she is saving about Dhs80,000 in school and extra fees: “We don’t have to buy uniform or school shoes, we don’t pay for trips or extra activities.”

But about the social disadvantage of having the kids at home? This is a misconception, according to K12’s Ekta, who says: “We organise monthly trips/excursions and these are available to homeschooled students as well as students studying in the Learning Centre at Dubai Knowledge Village.”

Diane also feels a social classroom environment can be distracting. She adds: “I may sound harsh but the main reason a lot of children can’t concentrate is due to the noisy and busy environment of a classroom. “Both of my children are social, my daughter will happily go up to someone new and say hi.”

RELATED: A third of UAE parents looking to switch child’s school

But studying at home is not at easy, as some would think. They say hard work, commitment and dedication from both parent and child are needed. “The main challenge is getting them up in the morning and keeping them on schedule, I have to be very organised to ensure that work is handed in when it is due,” Diane says.

Mum Jenny also homeschooled her son for three years. “It can sometimes be hard to separate being a mom and being a teacher. He did not have the option of coming home from school and complaining about his teacher,” she quips. Her daughter, on the other hand, was never homeschooled.

But in the debate between homeschool vs traditional school, the important thing is providing quality education for the child. This year, Jenny is enrolling her son back to regular school. She feels this is the best for him as he now enters the fourth grade. “Each child is different, and each year is a new start to evaluate what is best for that child at that time. As with most things there are advantages and disadvantages to both. I loved homeschooling, but I am looking forward to hopefully being a really supportive parent to the teachers my children will have this year.”

Tell us your views at @7DAYSUAE and take our poll on homeschooling at 7days.ae

glaiza@7days.ae

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K12 Inc. Deploys D2L’s Brightspace Across High School, Middle School and Fuel Education

KITCHENER, ON–(Marketwired – August 11, 2016) – D2L, a global learning technology leader, today announced that K12 Inc., one of the largest virtual schools in the U.S., is continuing to expand the use of the Brightspace LMS. Following a successful rollout to thousands of students across the country enrolled in K12’s high school, K12 is now making Brightspace available to thousands more middle school students.

In addition, K12’s Fuel Education will use Brightspace for the distribution of its curriculum. Fuel Education will begin rolling out Brightspace in December with a full rollout scheduled for the first half of 2017.

D2L’s Brightspace platform was embraced by K12 due to a fundamental distinction: Brightspace delivers a personalized learning experience, not the one-size-fits-all model utilized by traditional LMS offerings. Brightspace was designed with modern students in mind and offers a clean, responsive user experience as well as integrated social media, game-based learning, chat and advanced video features. The new Brightspace Daylight experience lets students and teachers use smartphones, tablets or any browser-enabled device, eliminating barriers to learning. Teachers also favor Brightspace because engagement data — offered via real-time learning analytics </strong–< can help them improve student outcomes.

“D2L’s customers such as K12 Inc. care deeply about the educational experience and want a more personalized, engaging learning platform to help each learner learn their own way,” said John Baker, CEO of D2L. “Brightspace is an easy, flexible and smart LMS that was built from the ground up to do exactly that. We are very pleased that K12 and Fuel Education learners will benefit from this personalized approach and learn on their own terms to achieve their academic goals. We look forward to continuing to broaden the scope of our partnership.”

“Our goal in considering a new LMS was to improve student engagement, retention and outcomes while advancing our effort to deliver a more mobile-ready curriculum,” explained Lynda Cloud, Executive Vice President of Products at K12 Inc. “After thorough evaluation, K12 chose D2L to power K12’s next-generation online high school and middle school. The Brightspace platform has enabled us to provide students, learning coaches, and teachers with an innovative, engaging and collaborative learning experience that puts tools and resources right at their fingertips. Parents find that both they and their students have better visibility into what students need to do each day, allowing them to spend more time learning.”

D2L’s track record of innovation has been widely recognized. In March, Fast Company ranked D2L #6 on the Most Innovative Companies of 2016 list in the Data Science Category, amongst Google, IBM, Spotify, Costco, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. eLearning Magazine recently rated D2L as #1 in Adaptive Learning, and Brightspace was recently named the #1 LMS in Higher Ed by Ovum Research.

To learn more about Brightspace, visit http://www.d2l.com/products/learning-environment/.

ABOUT K12 INC.

K12 Inc. (LRN) is driving innovation and advancing the quality of education by delivering state-of-the-art, digital learning platforms and technology to students and school districts across the globe. K12’s award winning curriculum serves over 2,000 schools and school districts and has delivered more than four million courses over the past decade. K12 is a company of educators with the nation’s largest network of K-12 online school teachers, providing instruction, academic services, and learning solutions to public schools and districts, traditional classrooms, blended school programs, and directly to families. The K12 program is offered through K12 partner public schools in approximately two-thirds of the states and the District of Columbia, and through private schools serving students in all 50 states and more than 100 countries. More information can be found at K12.com.

ABOUT FUEL EDUCATION

Fuel Education™ partners with school districts to fuel personalized learning and transform the education experience inside and outside the classroom. The company provides innovative solutions for pre-K through 12th grade that empower districts to implement successful online and blended learning programs. Its open, easy-to-use Personalized Learning Platform, PEAK™, enables teachers to customize courses using their own content, FuelEd courses and titles, third-party content, and open educational resources. Fuel Education offers one of the industry’s largest catalogs of K–12 digital curriculum, certified instruction, professional development, and educational services. FuelEd has helped 2,000 school districts to improve student outcomes and better serve diverse student populations. To learn more, visit getfueled.com and Twitter.

ABOUT BRIGHTSPACE

D2L’s Brightspace is a digital learning platform that helps schools and institutions deliver personalized learning experiences in a classroom or online to people anywhere in the world. Created for the digital learner, Brightspace is cloud-based, runs on mobile devices, and offers rich multimedia to increase engagement, productivity and knowledge retention. The platform makes it easy to design courses, create content, and grade assignments, giving instructors more time to focus on what’s most important – greater teaching and learning. At the same time, analytics reports track and deliver insights into the performance levels of departments, courses, or individuals.

ABOUT D2L

D2L is the software leader that makes learning experiences better. The company’s cloud-based platform, Brightspace, is easy to use, flexible, and smart. With Brightspace, organizations can personalize the experience for every learner to deliver real results. The company is a world leader in learning analytics: its platform predicts learner performance so that organizations can take action in real-time to keep learners on track. Brightspace is used by learners in higher education, K-12, and the enterprise sector, including the Fortune 1000. D2L has operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and Singapore. www.d2l.com

© 2016 D2L Corporation.

The D2L family of companies includes D2L Corporation, D2L Ltd, D2L Australia Pty Ltd, D2L Europe Ltd, D2L Asia Pte Ltd, and D2L Brasil Soluções de Tecnologia para Educação Ltda.

All D2L marks are trademarks of D2L Corporation. Please visit D2L.com/trademarks for a list of D2L marks.

Pikes Peak Early College Teams with Fuel Education to Help Students Earn College Credit and Professional Certifications during High School

Students across Colorado can apply to enroll for the 2016-2017 school
year now to get a free community college education

August 08, 2016 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

HERNDON, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to a
report
from the Georgetown
Center on Education and the Workforce
, by 2020, 65 percent of all
jobs in the economy will require post-secondary education or training
beyond high school. Therefore, students who still experience barriers to
achieving this level of education will have limited workforce options.
To help students overcome these barriers, Pikes
Peak Early College
(PPEC) helps students start working toward
post-secondary degrees and certifications in high school.

“A college degree or a professional certification doesn’t have to be
this elusive thing students can’t grasp”

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PPEC provides students online core, elective and career technical
education courses from Fuel
Education
™ (FuelEd™). The program uses the personalized learning
platform PEAK™, in combination with personalized college and career
counseling, to create a customized degree plan based on each student’s
interests, strengths, and goals for the future. PPEC works with both
FuelEd online teachers, as well as district-employed teachers, to
facilitate a blended learning model.

“Many of our students are first-generation college students or are part
of populations that are under-represented in post-secondary
institutions,” said Dave Knoche, Executive Principal at PPEC. “PPEC
provides these students with the monetary, academic, and emotional
support they need to achieve their goals after high school. If we didn’t
help these students, it would be an enormous disservice to our youth and
our society.”

PPEC students focus on getting more than just a high school diploma.
They are working toward an associate’s degree, 60 credits to transfer to
a four-year college or a professional certification all while completing
their high school requirements. To determine what route is best for each
student, PPEC’s college and career counseling staff members conduct
individual meetings to determine each student’s interests and then
create an appropriate degree plan. This individualized degree plan takes
into account their current college and career readiness skills, their
passions, and their plans for the future. Throughout their four to six
years at PPEC, students receive personalized advisory services to make
sure they are on track with their degree plan, that their plan continues
to fit their skill level and future interests, and that their credits
will transfer to the post-secondary institution or certification program
of their choice.

Once their degree plans are made, students begin working on their high
school coursework using FuelEd
Online Courses
. Students take a combination of online core classes
to meet graduation requirements and online elective courses to help them
hone their interests for college study or their future career. The
school also plans on using FuelEd’s Career
Readiness Pathways™
for students interested in a career technical
education. Courses center around one of four Career Clusters: business
management and administration, manufacturing, health science, and
information technology.

Because they can complete their coursework online, students only attend
a physical school three days a week. When students are on campus,
teachers lead project-based learning activities to compliment the FuelEd
Online Courses. The remaining two days are open for students to study at
home, participate in internships or shadowing opportunities, or attend
classes on college campuses. In addition to being the only early college
with a blended model in Colorado, what makes PPEC so unique is that each
student can take up to 15 credits per semester at no cost to them, thus
greatly alleviating the financial burden of attending college for
students and their families.

However, not every student is ready to start taking college courses as a
freshman. For students who need remediation prior to taking
college-level courses, PPEC creates custom skill-enhancement classes.
Using PEAK, PPEC determines which skills each student is missing and
designs a custom course by piecing together units and lessons from
various FuelEd Online Courses to ensure each student learns the concepts
they need prior to taking college-level courses . Traditionally, any
college student who needs remediation must pay for and take remedial
courses, which do not count for credit. By completing remedial courses
during high school, PPEC is, once again, helping students save money and
streamline the college experience.

“A college degree or a professional certification doesn’t have to be
this elusive thing students can’t grasp,” said Knoche. “In addition to
our personalized counseling and flexible learning environment, we are
guiding students in the direction of a four-year college, but in a
fiscally responsible way so students aren’t riddled with debt. We’re not
just educating, we’re changing lives.”

To learn more about PPEC, visit d49.org/ppec.
Students from all over the state of Colorado are eligible to apply. To
learn more about the enrollment process for the 2016-17 school year,
click here.

About Fuel Education

Fuel Education™ partners with school districts to fuel personalized
learning and transform the education experience inside and outside the
classroom. The company provides innovative solutions for pre-K through
12th grade that empower districts to implement successful online and
blended learning programs. Its open, easy-to-use Personalized Learning
Platform, PEAK™, enables teachers to customize courses using their own
content, FuelEd courses and titles, third-party content, and open
educational resources. Fuel Education offers one of the industry’s
largest catalogs of K–12 digital curriculum, certified instruction,
professional development, and educational services. FuelEd has helped
2,000 school districts to improve student outcomes and better serve
diverse student populations. To learn more, visit getfueled.com and Twitter.

©2016 Fuel Education LLC. All rights reserved. Fuel Education, PEAK,
and FuelEd are trademarks of Fuel Education LLC or its affiliates. All
other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Contacts

Fuel EducationBeth Halloran, 703.436.3263bhalloran@getfueled.comorRachael
Ballard, 410.975.9638Rachael@kehcomm.com

K12 education company settles case with Calif.

5:08 p.m. Thursday, July 28, 2016

| Filed in: Education


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A company that is paid tens of millions of dollars to provide educational services in Georgia has settled a legal case in California after a state investigation into allegations of improper billing there.

There’ve been no public allegations of impropriety in Georgia, where the company, K12 helps operate Georgia Cyber Academy. The academy has come in for criticism over student results: in 2015, the school earned a D for its academic performance with more than 13,000 Georgia students, as reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Georgia academy is among the five biggest schools managed by K12, officials said. The company educates about as many students at a collection of 14 schools in California called the California Virtual Academies, or CAVA.

John Amis

Graduate of Georgia Cyber Academy Brycen Walker of Savannah throws up his hands in jubilation as he follows Tyriq Wade of Columbus to the stage during commencement, Saturday, May 21, 2016, held at Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. The statewide charter school educates more than 13,000 students a year, as young as 5 years old, all online and at about half the cost of traditional public schools. (Photo/John Amis)

K12 was the target of a civil investigation by California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, whose office alleged that K12 exploited weak charter school oversight in her state to excessively bill CAVA schools by pressuring teachers to sign “doctored” attendance records. Her office also accused the school of telling people it thought were prospective parents that classes were smaller than they really were.

On July 8, K12 agreed to settle for millions of dollars, without admitting to the alleged facts or to wrongdoing. Harris issued a statement saying the company had agreed to a settlement of $168.5 million, which K12 CEO Stuart Udell characterized as “shameless and categorically incorrect” in a conference call afterward with financial analysts.

The company did agree to pay $2.5 million to the state and $6 million to the attorney general’s office. But K12 objects to the way Harris described the other $160 million.

She called it “debt relief to the non-profit schools it manages.” Udell called it “the difference between K12’s contractual price and what the schools can afford to pay” based on their state funding.

“While K12 has a contractual right to recover these balanced budget credits, in all the years that K12 has worked with the CAVA boards we have never sought to recover those amounts,” Udell said on that conference call, according to a transcript provided by K12.

The final judgment in the case describes the $160 million agreement this way: an expungement of a decade’s worth of “credits against amounts otherwise due under managed school contracts.”

Neither the conference call nor the attorney general’s news release addressed another payment: $80,000 to a former CAVA teacher turned whistleblower. She alleged she was fired because she complained about the way K12 changed the attendance records she had submitted. The attorney general intervened in her case and K12 agreed to give her $50,000 to settle her employment-related claims and $30,000 for her legal fees.

Udell told the analysts that the company settled with the attorney general to avoid a “multiyear distraction” and litigation costs that would have been many times what it agreed to pay. He also said the company plans to fight legislation in California that would prohibit charter schools from using for-profit companies like his. And he said K12, which runs some 80 schools in 33 states, has plans to expand, going statewide in Alabama and Virginia and adding schools in other states, including Indiana, Michigan, Nevada and Maine.

Georgia’s largest online school paid millions, earns a D

Local Education

By Ty Tagami


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Updated: 3:04 p.m. Friday, July 22, 2016Posted: 12:00 a.m. Saturday, July 23, 2016

Georgians spend tens of millions of dollars a year on one of the biggest online schools in the nation, yet nearly every measure indicates the high-tech, online education model has not worked for many of its more than 13,000 students.

Georgia Cyber Academy students log onto online classes from home, where they talk to and message with teachers and classmates and do assignments in a way that will “individualize their education, maximizing their ability to succeed,” according to an advertisement. But results show that most of them lag state performance on everything from standardized test scores to graduation rates.

The charter school’s leaders say they face unique challenges, with large numbers of students already behind when they enroll. They have plans to improve results but also claim the state’s grading methods are unfair and inaccurate. However, the state disagrees, and if the academy cannot show improvement soon, the commission that chartered the school could shut it down.

Since it opened with a couple thousand students in 2007, the academy has grown to become the state’s largest public school, with students from all 159 counties. In the 2015 fiscal year alone, it reported receiving $82 million in state and federal funding.

Parents such as Dione Ansah praise the academy as an attractive alternative to regular schools. The DeKalb County resident chose it for her two daughters after she lost her job and could no longer afford private school. The neighborhood middle school had a reputation for violence, she said, adding, “there was no way I was going to send my kids there.”

Families choose the academy for a variety of other reasons, such as a desire to learn at an individual pace, a medical condition that keeps kids at home or a need for a flexible schedule for work, such as a student with a budding acting career.

Evelyn Bailey, who graduated in May and will attend an Ivy League university this fall, said she was exposed to a diverse group of students through the classes and occasional organized field trips. Bailey thrived while attending class and doing homework on a computer screen in a windowless corner of her Douglasville basement.

“You have to be the kind of student that enjoys having more responsibility,” said Bailey, 18. “You have to be good at managing your time.”

Too few students apparently share her drive and temperament. The academy earned a “D” for 2015 from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The academy scored near the bottom in the state that year for “growth,” a measure of how each student did on standardized state tests compared to others with similar past performance.

The graduation rate of 66 percent lagged behind the state average by 13 percentage points. Reading ability in third grade, a key marker of future academic success, also lagged, with 47 percent of its students able to digest books on their grade level versus a state average of 52 percent.

The State Charter Schools Commission, established in 2013 as an alternative to going through a school district to start a charter school, authorized the academy in 2014-15. The commission requires its schools to meet annual academic, financial and operational goals in three of the first four years of operation. The academy, which had operated for seven years under the Odyssey Charter School in Coweta County before obtaining its own charter, did not perform as required in its first year as an independent school. It scored one out of a possible 100 points on the academic portion of its evaluation, which assesses performance, mainly on standardized tests, compared to traditional schools. The results for 2015-16 are still being calculated.

This scoring system was not in place when the academy board signed the charter, and the school has not yet agreed to use it. But Bonnie Holliday, the commission’s executive director, said the school isn’t meeting goals under the original scoring system either.

“In the event standards are not met in future years,” she said, “the school is at risk for non-renewal in 2019.”

The academy is beset by many of the same problems that bedevil traditional public schools, including a high and rising number of students from families with meager incomes. Sixty nine percent of the academy’s students in 2015-16 were considered low-income under the federal school meal program; that’s 7 percentage points higher than the state average but below some metro Atlanta districts.

The school also grapples with high turnover. One in four academy students leaves each year; and about a third of the students are new in any given year, said Matt Arkin, the school’s founding head. It takes a year or more to adapt to a classroom on the computer, he said, adding that the performance looks better when counting only those who’ve been there for several years. For instance, for the 42 percent of students who start and finish high school there, the graduation rate is 85 percent. That is 19 percentage points higher than the school’s overall rate.

Some parents and teachers say large class sizes make it difficult for teachers to deliver on the school’s premise of harnessing technology to tailor teaching to each child.

“That’s all a lie; maybe in the younger years, as long as the teacher doesn’t have 70 kids,” said Sherry Horton. Her son did fine there, but her two daughters struggled in high school and couldn’t get their teachers’ attention, Horton said. She withdrew them. “If you put your kids in that school, know that you need to be on top of it every day with the teachers,” she said.

Arkin said class sizes are larger than he’d like, averaging 50 students. He said staffing is limited by tax money the school gets: more than $5,000 per student versus about $9,000 on average for Georgia schools.

As a state charter school, the academy gets no local property tax dollars. And the commission gives it less money per student than its other charter schools with school buildings to maintain, buses to fuel and lunches to cook.

Another problem mentioned by former teachers: attendance.

Jennifer Phillips, who taught seventhgrade English at the Academy several years ago, said a small proportion of her students showed up regularly for her online classes.

“Attendance was definitely a problem,” said Phillips, who left after one year, disillusioned.

Students can watch recordings of the classes later.

Some also said students whose parents weren’t monitoring them could misbehave and be disruptive, doodling on a PowerPoint slide projected to the whole class instead of demonstrating how to solve the math problem on it.

Others said disciplinary problems were minor compared to brick-and-mortar schools. Kelly Brooks, a current teacher at the academy, left a traditional middle school job after tiring of misbehavior. “Boys and girls at that age, they’re just so distracted by each other,” she said. Now, when kids misbehave, she can turn off their ability to speak to or send messages to their classmates.

She said there are other advantages with the technology. Students feel emboldened to approach her because they can send her what they might think are dumb questions without embarrassing themselves in front of their peers.

“So as long as a student is interested, they’re going to get way more out of this than in a traditional classroom,” she said.

While some students exploit that opportunity, the school’s overall performance suggests most are like Keontavious Hankerson, a Burke County student who liked his teachers but felt uninspired by the online experience.

His mother, Mary Webb, enrolled him in the academy two years ago after county teachers “gave him real bad grades because he couldn’t focus.” His performance improved the first year, when his father’s work schedule allowed him to stay home during the day and push him. The next year his father’s schedule changed, and Keontavious was left home with only a slightly older relative. He floundered, Webb said. She was impressed that the school provided a computer, books and even printer ink, but said she will re-enroll him in the county this fall.

Keontavious, 15, said he missed being around other kids. “I didn’t like being at home,” he said. “It was hard for me to stay on the computer.”

School officials acknowledge the problem: Self-driven students or those with parents who can push them tend to do best while those with less support often struggle.

“We’re a school that really seeks to challenge high performers, and push them to new heights. At the same time we’re a dropout prevention and dropout recovery school,” Arkin said.

About four in five at the high school level and about half of the younger kids came to the academy after falling behind at their prior school, he said.

The school pays K12, a for-profit company, to provide technology and curriculum services, including $36.9 million in 2014-15.

Mary Gifford, a senior vice president at K12, said Georgia’s growth measure is inaccurate at grading schools with extremes of high- and low-performers and high student turnover.

The state disagrees, saying their school grading model uses test scores in a way that is “reflective” of those characteristics.

Ryan Mahoney, chairman of the academy’s nonprofit board, dismissed the likelihood of being closed. The first year’s results were based mainly on the 2015 Georgia Milestones tests, which, he noted, were waived for low-performing traditional schools since the tests were new. If the commission sticks to its rules, he said, most of the agency’s 15 schools that were around in 2014-15 would have to close.

“I’m sure that’s not what the commission intended,” he said. He wants the commission to change the way it grades schools. He also wants more money for the school.

Holliday, the commission’s executive director, said schools might get a reprieve if they meet standards by the fourth year of their contract, but added any underperforming school is at risk of closure “regardless of whether it’s one school or 10 schools … any school operating under the assumption that commissioners will give them a pass for poor performance is mistaken.”

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, who spoke at the academy’s graduation ceremony, is optimistic about the school, but said it must make do with current funding.

“They have a very efficient model for the delivery of education, and they should be maximizing that,” he said. “K12 as an institution needs to be less concerned about money and more concerned about student achievement.”

He said charter schools like the academy prod traditional schools to improve and that it has the potential to be a “disruptive” force for education in the way Uber is changing transportation. While the academy “clearly is not at the highest standard that we would like,” he said, it is serving “many students at a very, very high level.”

Online charter schools have drawn critical attention nationwide, even from charter advocates. In mid-June, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools called for change, citing research that found online charter schools had turned in “large-scale underperformance.”

Karega Rausch, vice president of research for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, which helped with the report, said virtual schools in Georgia and across the country are doing poorly on a host of measures. “There’s a whole lot of corroborating evidence to suggest there’s a problem,” he said. “A lot more authorizers need to close a lot more virtual schools. Period.”

Arkin said his turnaround plan includes more advisers to help new students adapt and a new data system in middle school to help teachers analyze student performance and adjust their teaching. And he said the school is getting better, noting that some of its scores on the state’s report card climbed closer to the state average in 2014-15 from the year before, when the academy operated under Odyssey.

Even parents who are critical said it would be a shame if the academy closed, since it provides an alternative in some parts of the state where there is no other.

Susan Rachel’s daughter spent a year in the academy. Now, Rachel, from the Augusta area, is complaining about class sizes, harried teachers, students slipping profanity onto the electronic blackboard and, ultimately, a model of education that didn’t seem to be all that different from traditional public school. She described it as “the factory model in your living room, spitting out kids as fast as you can enroll them.”

But don’t close the academy, she said. Parents need an alternative: “I mean, it’s better than nothing.”

Data specialist Jennifer Peebles contributed to this article