FLVS students consistently earned higher
grades, received better state assessment
scores, and achieved higher marks on AP
exams than students in traditional schools.
in a range of
from online literacy fairs to awareness
forums on topics such as hunger and
AIDS. They can join clubs that focus
on history, science, international af-
fairs, and other topics.
Virtual learning environments
give students opportunities to work
together in small groups to develop
problem-solving, communication, and
creative collaboration skills.
competencies in core subjects (English,
mathematics, science, social studies, and foreign language) while also
building an understanding of issues
critical to community and workplace
success—global awareness; business,
financial, and civic literacy; and health
Online learning can give students
opportunities to demonstrate mastery
of academic concepts while using today’s tools and resources. In addition,
teachers incorporate life skills into
© ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/YURI_ARCURS © ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/KATIV
Last year, the staff of the school’s
online newspaper, News in a Click,
worked as editors for PEARL World
Youth News, an international Web-based student news service sponsored
by iEARN and the Daniel Pearl Foundation. The students collaborated with
other students around the world as
they created and edited the news service using Web conference rooms.
New Skills to Learn
Some critics worry that focusing
on 21st-century skills is impractical
when so many of
or do math at
these skills means
Traditional Schools Get Low Marks
In a national poll by the Partnership
for 21st Century Skills, 80% of the U.S.
registered voters who were polled said
the public education system is not preparing young people to compete in
the global market.
Another survey conducted by Project Tomorrow, a California-based
education advocacy group, reached
a similar finding. The group’s 2006
Speak Up Survey found that just 23%
of students polled said they believed
their school was doing a good job preparing them for future jobs.
These results indicate that something needs to change. We must commit ourselves to make education as
engaging, interactive, and participatory as the immersive video games
students spend hours mastering.
In education, whether virtual or face to face,
the authenticity of the interaction between
a student and a teacher matters more than
FLVS Students Outperform Peers
In some communities, change is
starting to take hold. The advent of the
Internet and the fast-growing pace of
virtual schooling have presented students with educational options. Today,
44 states have either significant supplemental or full-time online learning
programs, according to a 2007 study
Keeping Pace with Online Learning, A
Review of State-Level Policy and Practices by Evergreen Consulting.
A 2007 report by Florida Tax Watch
found that students who were enrolled
in online courses outperformed their
peers in traditional schools. The report noted that FLVS students consistently earned higher grades, received
better state assessment scores, and
achieved higher marks on Advanced
Placement exams than students in
Why do our students fare better
than kids in traditional schools? Because we have spent the past decade
getting to know and understand our
customers, and we have deliberately
structured their learning environment
to take advantage of things they value
the most. Being virtual means that we
can allow students to work when it
suits their schedules.
But most important is the one-on-one student–teacher engagement that
we provide. According to FLVS external survey data of our parents and
students, 95% of all students say that
their teacher shows a special interest
in them. In education, whether virtual
or face to face, the authenticity of the
interaction between a student and a
teacher matters more than anything.
It is commendable that FLVS has managed to garner such high marks for
caring, even in a virtual environment.
When asked to comment on the
interaction she has with her students,
FLVS language arts teacher Cindy