Books, Education, technology, Uncategorized

Reach Endless Academic Dreams

book butterflies

The importance of reading has always been a great necessity since the beginning of time. Mankind originally created a means by which to communicate with one another in the form of print, most commonly known as Egyptian hieroglyphics.

In today’s society, children must be exposed to print in the earliest stages of life. Mothers reading to their unborn children set the precedence for the fundamental successes of educational development. Just think about the service we could provide to our children if everyone adapted to the idea of reading to their children even before they are born. It would be like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly!


We are very fond of Carl Sagan’s quote: “One of the greatest gifts adults can give – to their offspring and to their society – is to read to children.”

As educators, we understand the importance of reading to children of all ages. We believe that the more exposure a child has to reading at a young age, the more likely they are to enjoy it and become avid readers as adults. It’s become a new tradition for expecting parents to request that guests attending their baby shower bring a book instead of the traditional card to add to their baby’s bookshelf. We start to accumulate books even before our children are born. It’s never too early to start reading to our children and influence them to become readers themselves!ChildrenAt My Virtual Academy, reading is integrated cross-curricular throughout our students’ online education. Both our online high school and middle school students are actively engaged in various reading activities within our clubs, weekly live lessons, monthly thematic units, and our daily virtual lessons. It is our goal to instill the value of reading to our students on a daily basis.

book club

We encourage and challenge you to spread your wings and immerse yourself in the exciting world of literature!!

book butterflies

communication, Education, Uncategorized

The Role of District Advocates in My Virtual Academy

My Virtual Academy provides tuition free online schooling for middle school and high school students throughout Michigan.  At My Virtual Academy we strive to support students and families throughout their educational experience. One way we provide support is through our District Coaches/Advocates. They are a support team committed to student wellbeing and continued success.

Below gives you a brief snapshot of each District Coach/Advocate and how they view their role at My Virtual Academy.

Mrs. Benacquisto

  1. I approach my students with the intent to make a meaningful connection, my first question is “Why did you choose My Virtual Academy?” I have students who have an illness, children, mental issues, legal issues, social issues, issues with authority figures, anger issues, and one who is starting a singing career.
  2. My approach to each student is different, although I say one positive thing in every conversation.
  3. I have found shelter for students, and food pantries; I have tried to teach students how to talk to probation officers and case workers. I listen when they cry about the pressure they feel from the world around them, some students have so little and no adult to lean on. I have had students cry when I tell them “I am proud of you”.
  4. I teach students to take responsibility for their actions, not everything is someone else’s fault. I help make schedules so the student can stay on pace, or to catch up and get on pace in their classes.
  5. I make sure my students contact their mentor weekly, and know about state testing.


Mrs. Clark

  1. Being a consistent person in the student/parent’s life is huge.  A  lot of our families do not know what consistency is, and to have someone they know they can count on to ‘check in’ on them is invaluable.
  2. It is important that we are here to talk about school related issues, but also other accomplishments/issues.  School is just a fraction of their life, and as a coach we can focus on other aspects of their life too!

Mrs. Gibson

  1.  Providing consistent weekly communication to cultivate a relationship that is both caring and stable is crucial.  Being here when they need to vent frustrations, as well as positive aspects of their lives in and out of school. Being able to support students by providing assistance in the form of tech support, internet installation and reminding them of responsibilities such as: contacting their mentor, attending state testing, and answering any questions they may have with regard to, but not limited to their education.
  2. We encourage not only academic achievement, but continued success in various ways. We can help students form realistic attainable personal, and educational goals.
  3. We are able to recognize students for their hard work, dedication, and positive contributions for themselves and society. We are one of their biggest cheerleaders.
  4. We help students learn to balance their academic and personal life.

Mrs. Madigan

  1. Weekly Communication-It’s important to be able to talk to my students on a regular basis so I know what is going on with them. If I know what’s going on, I can make better suggestions on how I can help them. For the students I don’t get to talk to, I keep reminding them that I am here for them if they need me.
  2. Sense of Humor-I think it’s important to joke with the students sometimes. Most students usually hear negative things (usually because they aren’t working like they should be). If I can remind them about the importance of school, but sometimes depending on the situation, still be able to lighten things up, it leaves the students feeling a little better or more positive about where they are at in regards to school.

MVA Student

Mrs. Pauls

  1. We serve as a support system for the students.  We help to get them back on track and check in on them to see how everything is going.  If they haven’t been working in their courses, we find out why and then we try to help them get back on track.
  2. We try to learn more about our students: Why did you choose to switch over to MVA?  What kind of sports or hobbies are you into?  Do you have a job outside of school?
  3. We want our students to trust us and to feel that they could talk to us if they need anything.

Mrs. Peck

1)  I feel that our relationships with the students make them feel more confident in themselves, and thus they are able to complete more classes/courses.

2) We go above and beyond by providing families with resources that lead to housing, food, help with bills, etc, thus enabling them to focus on school once again.

3) Our weekly calls and contacts show the students that there are people out there that care and believe in them when many other adults have failed.

Mrs. Powell

1.Weekly contact with students is key. Providing a consistent, stable connection reaching out to students to check on their status (education, mental health, well being).

2.Scheduling-I like doing this when students are looking for alternatives and it allows the students to approach completing courses in a more manageable way with less stress and a structured plan.

3.Schoology Posts for Fun-I like to post “National (blank) Day” and have students respond. It’s another connection from me to them, it encourages students to share more about themselves, and it promotes interaction among their peers.


Ms. Vahovick

  1. We reach out to our students with a smile on our face and in our voice when we call them.  They need our sincere interest and caring.
  2.  We are an advocate for our students.  We help them see what it will take to complete this semester, this year and graduate.  How many classes?  How many hours, how many assignments per week, per day….
  3.  Sometimes we support the parents, too.  If we can help the parents understand, then we may be able to get through to the students

The District Coach/Advocate role provides support staff to work with students in various capacities, and supplies community resources to online students and their families.  This is only one way we, at My Virtual Academy, support our students and encourage continued success.


What is your English Teacher’s Favorite Book?

Hello from the My Virtual Academy English Department. Since March is reading month, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite books.


Charlottes WebMrs. Trost (English IA/B, English IVA/B)
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

This book stars a young pig, Wilbur, whose purpose on the farm is to become a meal on the table. With the help of his barnyard friend, Charlotte- a barn spider, Wilbur is portrayed to be an extraordinary pig. I loved reading this book when I was younger and enjoy reading it with my boys. This is a book that even entertains me as an adult. We all have to remember that we aren’t as simple as we sometimes seem.


Mrs. Schultz (English IIIA & IIIB)
Digital Fortress by Dan BrownDigital Fortress

This novel is a fast-paced suspenseful thriller dealing with the struggle between human intelligence and machine. The United States National Security Agency’s code-breaking supercomputer discovers a code so complex that not even it can crack it. The main character, Susan Fletcher, is called in to help break the code. What she discovers shocks her and could crush U.S. intelligence as we know it.

“Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer.” ― Dan Brown, Digital Fortress


The Last LectureMrs. Fisher (English IIA/B, Psychology)-
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch was a Professor at Carnage Melon University. He was diagnosed with cancer and did not have much time to live. This short book tells of his incredible final lecture given to students. His words of inspiration talk of following your dreams and not giving up! I have read this book a number of times. It always motivates me to aim high and have a positive outlook on life.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” —Randy Pausch


Mr. Ellis (English):
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby

If you like action-packed love stories set in the Roaring Twenties, you’ll LOVE The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

This story has everything! Race-cars, gangsters, lavish parties at giant mansions, hopes, dreams, love, unrequited love, intrigue, dysfunctional relationships, symbolism, fights, old money, new money, people who are not who they say they are, people who aren’t sure who they want to be, liars, cheaters, twists, turns, and a bittersweet ending! WOW!!

This book is often read in high school (including here at My Virtual Academy) and is one I have both read and taught many times. I find something great about the book each time I read it!

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning —
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

DaemonMs. MacKinnon (English, Health):
Daemon by Daniel Suarez

The book I would recommend is “Daemon” by Daniel Suarez. A genius computer software company owner creates a computer program that takes over and runs the world after he dies. The program anticipates every possible move made by any person, company or government that tries to destroy it. It uses men’s fear, greed and desire for power against them. Something like this could never really happen…..could it?


Ms. Scarzo (English, Health, Music Appreciation)
Oh The Places You’ll Go By Dr. SeussOh the Places You'll Go

This children’s book is a guide to the journey of life. It is a very inspirational book that is a reminder that you can be what you want to be with a little bit of hard work. Of course, things don’t always go as planned but the book encourages readers to go out and make things happen. I received this book from one of my teachers when I was a Senior in High School and I still have it and read it to my boys today.