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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What sets us apart from other Virtual Middle and High Schools?

Teacher connecting with her student via Skype

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Danielle Yanssens

I often hear commercials on the radio and have advertisements pop up on my laptop for virtual middle and high schools. I work for an educational company, and a virtual school is one of many ways we assist students in getting their high school diploma. So what sets us apart from other virtual schools? That’s an easy one – our staff.

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At My Virtual Academy our staff focuses on making connections with students. Teachers and Advocates work hard to know their students, communicating with them once a week at a minimum. Employees of most virtual schools are exactly that – virtual. They work from their homes the majority of the time. Our staff works out of our Clinton Township, MI location at least 75% of the time, allowing for collaboration among teachers, quick access to information about students and lots of ongoing professional development.

“My boys are getting the education they deserve. The staff is amazing and it’s nice knowing they really do care about the students.” Kimberly P.

We always start with the question “why did you decide to attend a virtual school”? We find out if the student is struggling in life, or just wants to work independently and maybe graduate early. We ask students to set goals for themselves and consistently encourage them to achieve their goals. We hold live sessions every week so the students are able to interact with each other and their teachers in real time.

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Our staff is always addressing the basic needs of our students so that they are able to focus on their educational needs. Advocates have a list of resources for all of the areas throughout Michigan that our students live. If someone tells us that they can’t provide food or diapers for their baby, or they have been evicted from their home, we are able to direct them to services that address those needs, knowing that if those basic needs aren’t met, they won’t be able to sit down and focus on their school work.

“I’ve been to a lot of schools, and this school is by far the best I’ve been to. I love all the staff/teachers, etc. Everyone is so nice and they’re always encouraging. They try to help you any way that they can. I can’t wait to finish in the fall.” Bernadette R

At My Virtual Academy every staff member believes that each student is one caring adult away from succeeding, and they each work hard at being that caring adult in order to get the student back on track.

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. If you or your child are looking for a different middle or high school experience visit

My Virtual Academy.

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