Austin, a TNVA student
Many of our students with learning differences find the virtual setting to be their best and least restrictive environment. Austin lives in a small rural town in middle Tennessee. He entered TNVA his 6th grade year. The main reason for leaving his brick and mortar school was that he had been set aside. Austin is a great kid and very well-mannered. It was easy for him to comply with the request to sit and be quiet, but his grandparents wanted more for Austin. Although Austin has been identified with learning differences his grandparents knew he could learn, he could become self-sufficient and one day be a contributing member of society. Austin is learning to cook. He just started to volunteer at a local animal rescue center. As we are in his 7th grade year, Austin is planning his future. He is deciding which classes he would be interested in taking at the high school level. Austin is deciding which option will be best for him after high school. Whatever he decides, I am for sure Austin will not choose to sit quietly in the corner ever again.
Brandon and Jordan, TNVA students
Children are a blessing and sometimes a blessing is doubled. So it is with Brandon and Jordan, twin brothers, who are TNVA 5th grade students. Trials came early in life for Jordan. An accident left him with a severe brain trauma injury, but he meets every trial with triumph. Jordan has weekly therapy and doctor appointments. He has undergone three surgeries since the beginning of this school year. Were it not for the flexibility of live classes or recordings Jordan would have missed much of the first semester of school. Additionally, because of this unique online setting, Jordan can sit beside his twin brother and join in; history class is Jordan’s favorite. Also, Brandon is able to sit in on some of Jordan’s classes. Jordan uses an eye gaze communication device and Brandon enjoys helping his twin answer questions in class. Therapists and nurses are also able to observe Jordan in his learning environment. They can help to make adjustments with his equipment or medication to meet his individual needs. Without TNVA, these brothers would never be in classes together. Jordan would have poor school attendance. His family remembers how sick Jordan was when attending brick and mortar school. He seemed to catch every bug, virus and illness going around. Jordan and Brandon want to continue their schooling together; as twins do. TNVA is the best option for these brothers.
While I have seen MANY students succeeding and making great strides, one in particular comes to mind because her success has literally brought me to tears. At the beginning of the year, she came into my Third Grade class as basically a non-reader. On her first DIBELS she was only able to fluently read 5 wpm. Right before our break, I was working with her 1:1 and decided to give her a list of 100 Dolch site words which, of course, are intended for early readers in kindergarten. I did not expect her to be able to get very many of them, but hoped for a few so I would at least know which ones to practice on with her.The joke was on me. Much to my surprise and amazement, she read all 100 words without missing a beat. I could not contain my tears and I had to click off the mic. (I am crying as I write this as well.) I was SO SO proud of what I was hearing! I attribute her success to the Mark 12 program along with her mom’s support of her.
This is a child who is delayed because she was strangled to death by her birth mother’s boyfriend as an infant and brought back to life in the ER of a children’s hospital. One of the nurses was able to foster to adopt her and she is now part of a very loving family! She is defying many odds and K12 has had a hand in helping with that! She doesn’t fit in the chair in the traditional brick and mortar classroom, but she fits perfectly in the K12 classroom because she gets to choose her own chair!
Thank you for giving these precious children a chance.
This is my child’s first year at K12 (TNVA). Previously he attended a local public school and had wonderful teachers, first grade all the way through the fourth grade. Due to the closing of his school along with other issues with our schools in our county, we decided to check out K12 (TNVA). Before looking into the option of K12 (TNVA) we considered paying to have our child attend a school in another county and pay $3750 primarily because the TCAP scores were one of the top ones in the entire state of Tennessee. There were only four schools in our metro area that scored in top 95% to 100%. Most of the schools scored in the 5-15%. Now, what does that say about what is really working in our Tennessee schools? Not a lot! He always was a top student in his class every year with no behavior problems along with making very good grades (which include Principal’s list and Honor Student all four years).
My child had been bullied at times and many days did not eat lunch because other children stole his lunch from him. That happens and did when I was in school. I felt that he was learning and not afraid to go to school. I was honored to be the PTO President two years in a row, and very involved with school volunteering my time weekly.
I remember at the first of this school year asking the question to many different people at K12, “What if my child was advanced and needed extra work, would it be provided?” The reply was “Absolutely!” To my amazement, he did not know as much as we thought. My child did not know his multiplication tables as he should, and made a comment to me that several children at his previous school could not read along with only doing one science project for the entire year.
He has taken Ritalin during school years first through fourth for ADHA. This is the first year he has not had to take his medication and is doing very well without it. Logan, my child, is doing great at K12 and is preparing for TCAP testing. He enjoys doing science projects and using the internet when studying a subject to expand his learning.
On his recent report card he has a C in Math and feels that he has learned more with a C than he ever learned with an A at his previous school. Logan is being challenged more and more everyday with the ability to have more “one on one” coaching by me and all his teachers. He is excited to wake up and learn every day of the week.
It would be very sad to take away this option for many children who are excelling and enjoying their school day. I feel that K12 should not be judged by TCAP scores, especially the first and new year to K12. If a child comes from another school and is surprised by the fact they are not on grade level even with good grades, then my questions are “Why take away what really is working for many? Is it really about the money? Or, is it about the children?
Thank you for the opportunity to express my thoughts. And may I add, I pay taxes just like all the others and do not feel this option should be taken away. Please ask yourself why so many others are looking into home school options.