career ready, Education, technology, Teen Mental Disorders, teen moms, Uncategorized, virtual school

What is Personalized Learning?

Everyone is a genius.

Danielle Yanssens

Personalized Learning “refers to a diverse variety of educational programs, learning experiences, instructional approaches, and academic support strategies that are intended to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of individual students”, according to The Glossary of Education Reform by Great Schools Partnership. How does Back on Track, offer personalized learning?

When a student submits an inquiry online or calls the Back on Track office, we are able to offer them several different options to acquire their high school diploma. For students who have previously dropped out of high school and are 21 or older, we enroll them into Clintondale Virtual School, a credit recovery program which, for a small fee, allows adults to achieve their high school diploma. This appeals to adults who had considered getting their GED in the past, which limits their options for post-secondary education.

For those students who have previously dropped out of high school and are between the ages of 18 and 20, we suggest our tuition-free Step Up program where students work on one class at a time and are required to complete a minimum of one class per month, with the ability to work year round. This gives students the opportunity to work on completing their high school education at a faster rate than if they attending a full time high school. We have also found that for this population, students are able to find more success when focusing on just one course at a time, rather than the full six class course load.

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Many students who are between the ages of 16 and 20 choose to attend one of our brick and mortar alternative education schools. This student population includes students that are teenage parents, potential dropouts, have been expelled from their traditional school, or have been court-ordered by the juvenile detention systems. Our alternative education locations offer various skilled trade courses where students can graduate with a certificate of completion to help them obtain employment right out of high school. While there is increased security at these locations, they are also staffed with caring employees who encourage students to complete their education and get on a better path for their future.

Parents with students in grades 6 through 12 will often contact us requesting information about our virtual school, My Virtual Academy. MVA partners with school districts throughout the state of Michigan, offering a fully online option for students. This appeals to a wide variety of students, including those looking to graduate early, students who struggle with mental or physical illness, teenage parents, students who do not feel safe in their traditional school due to bullying or students who have to work full time in order to help support their family.  We have students who are pursuing their passion, such as the theater or gymnastics, and choose online schooling to work around their schedules. Some parents even prefer their children attend a virtual school based on their cultural and religious beliefs.

In addition to the several different educational programs Back on Track offers to help meet the different learning needs of our students, we also offer a variety of learning experiences and instructional approaches. Our highly qualified, certified teachers ensure that the curriculum meets all Common Core Standards. Teachers have the ability to offer students different types of assessments based on their instructional needs, and offer in-person tutoring in addition to daily on-line tutoring. Students receive one-to-one instruction, with teachers contacting them a minimum of once per week, as well as participating in whole group activities in our weekly live sessions.

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While there are some obvious limitations to virtual and alternative learning, the many benefits often make Back on Track the best option for many students.

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Education, technology, Uncategorized

Have a Fresh Perspective in the New Year and Keep it All Year Long!

Danielle Yanssens

My Virtual Academy is starting off the New Year at a new location. Everything is clean and new and open. There is fresh paint and many windows and enough space for everyone plus room to grow. We are encouraging everyone to be healthier in 2016, a bag of fruit was on their desks when they arrived back to work after the holidays and there is a workout room available to use on breaks. It is a new beginning for our virtual school, our staff and, most importantly our middle and high school students.

New space 3

Just like our staff, our students need a fresh start in the New Year. Our staff has set goals for themselves, and we want our students to do the same. Starting with small attainable goals, like “I will complete my classes by the end of the semester”, or “I will raise my scores by at least 10%”. If you are close to graduating – definitely make getting your high school diploma your ultimate goal for this year!

goals
The most important thing to remember when setting goals is to put a plan into place to help you get there. For example, if your goal is to complete all of your classes by the end of the semester, print up a calendar and write down how much time you will spend each day and on which subjects. Put in place mini milestones, like “I will complete my English paper by this Friday”. If something happens and you don’t reach one of your goals, forgive yourself and then get back on track. Life can get in the way for all of us, but never give up on that final goal. And when you do reach that final goal – celebrate and then set a new goal! Life is about constantly changing, learning and growing. You may have setbacks, but you will get there!

fresh perspective

Danielle Yanssens is in charge of Continuous Improvement for My Virtual Academy. Her organization also offers On-site Alternative Education programs, several free online learning options and credit recovery for students throughout the state of Michigan.

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coding, Education, technology

What is Coding?

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December 7th through the 13th was Computer Science Education Week, and all week My Virtual Academy encouraged both students and teachers to participate in an Hour of Code – https://hourofcode.com/us. Most people think to themselves “what is coding” and why is it so important?

CODE

Coding is being pushed by companies and educators because businesses know that there will be a huge shortage of computer science college graduates to fill the need we have, based on the amount of technology we are currently dependent on. Trends show that this need is only going to increase. Many educators and professionals believe that because technology is such an integral part of life, every student graduating from high school should at least have a basic knowledge of coding.

coding

Just like anything new, students can be intimidated by coding. While coding can be difficult to learn, there are many programs available that have broken down “how to code” into manageable segments. Here are a few of the more popular tutorials from Code.org.
https://studio.code.org/s/artist/stage/1/puzzle/1
https://studio.code.org/s/infinity/stage/1/puzzle/1
https://studio.code.org/flappy/1
https://studio.code.org/s/mc/stage/1/puzzle/1
https://studio.code.org/s/starwarsblocks/stage/1/puzzle/1

Several of our students and even some teachers participated in the Coding challenge we gave them and here are just a few of their comments:

“These are great!”
“This is pretty cool! :-)”
“This is addictive!”

Our goal is for all of our students to graduate college and/or career ready. Most of our students are getting their education Back on Track, and we want that to continue beyond high school. There are so many Computer Science jobs available at so many levels, that we encourage all students to check out coding to see if it is something that may interest them.

Danielle Yanssens is in charge of Continuous Improvement for My Virtual Academy. Her organization also offers On-site Alternative Education programs, several free online learning options and credit recovery for students throughout the state of Michigan. Their goal is to help all students who have dropped out of school get Back on Track.

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