Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Working Together Has Advanced in Colorado’s Online Community

In September 2009, the Independence Institute hosted a podcast on how the Colorado Cyberschools Association (CCA) and the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families (CCCF) collaborate and how that collaboration enhances the online education movement in Colorado.  Please listen to the interview with president of CCA, Judith Stokes, and myself, president of CCCF: ivoices.org Podcast Working Together to Enhance the Cyberschool Experience.

Here’s another shout out about CCA and CCCF as both organizations continue to work together in an effort to provide opportunities for Colorado’s cyber school families.

“CCA cooperatively assists cyberschools in providing a high-quality education to online students by sharing information about effective online education and program management, promoting studies that improve the quality of online programs, improving access to online programs, working with appropriate agencies to improve enrollment and attendance processes, and collaborating to address geographic issues inherent to online learning.”

Currently, CCA is an organization comprised of 8 diverse multi-district online programs:

Online Program                                                        

Branson School Online                                                       

Colorado Connections Academy                                      

Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA)                                             

Guided Online Academic Learning Academy                              

Insight School                                                                                  

Karval Online Education                                                    

Monte Vista On-Line Academy                                         

This organization has come together as a group of passionate and sincere administrators who share the same mission, “To cooperatively assist cyberschools as they provide a quality education to all Colorado students whose needs are served through online education.” 

CCCF is a group of dedicated parents who have volunteered to be advocates for public cyber schools and online learning in Colorado.  Our coalition organized in 2004 and our vision is to work together with like-minded individuals and organizations to keep choice of public online schools available to our children and to families who are looking for options in public education in Colorado. We will support and defend the rights of all Colorado children to have unrestricted access to online public school options.

In January 2009, CCCF became an affiliate member of this like-minded organization, CCA, and our collaboration has allowed us to communicate and partner to enrich opportunities and experiences for Colorado’s online families.

Through our partnership we have strengthened and broadened our reach to families and we brainstorm ideas in order to continue to provide avenues for our families to share learning and fun as well as make connections with other Colorado cyber school families.

Together, our organizations sponsor several annual events throughout the year including Day at the Capitol, a Red Ribbon Week Celebration, Cyberschool Hike Day, and a summer Park Day. 

The partnership between CCA and CCCF continues to grow and advance in an effort to embrace and enrich the cyber school experience for our Colorado families. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Colorado Cyberschool Hike Day

Presented by
Come join the students and families of Colorado’s online public schools for our inaugural Cyberschool Hike Day on September 10.  This event will help celebrate recreational safety awareness in Colorado, raise much needed funds for local search and rescue and pay tribute to a special child.
On October 2, 1999 Jaryd Atadero went missing in the Colorado wilderness while on a hike at the age of three. Despite a massive search and rescue effort, Jaryd was never found.  As an important reminder of the need for recreational safety, the State of Colorado and Governor Hickenlooper have proclaimed September 4-10, 2011 as Recreational Safety Awareness Week in Jaryd’s memory.  Cyberschool Hike Day will be a great way to honor Jaryd and celebrate this weeklong event.
What: Cyberschool Hike Day
When: September, 10, 2011
Time: 10 a.m. (meet at the trailhead- end time depends on the pace of the hike- most hikes will take 1-3 hours)
Where: Four different locations around the state (click on the link for info/directions)
               Fountain Valley Trail: Roxborough State Park, Littleton (no dogs)
               Lost Lake Trail: Grand Mesa National Forest, Grand Junction
               North Cheyenne Canon Park: Colorado Springs
               Devil’s Backbone (Raven’s Roost and North Loop): Loveland
There is no cost to the hike.  As a fundraiser project, we will be promoting the Colorado Outdoor Search and Rescue Cards and taking a general collection on the day of the hikes.  The COSAR cards and general collection will provide funds for search and rescue teams throughout the state.  A $500 matching fund has been established by the staff and faculty of Insight School of Colorado.  Jaryd’s father, Allyn Atadero, is a part-time teacher with Insight and will lead the hike at Fountain Valley Trail on September 10. 

You can read more about the The Jaryd Atadero Story here.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Colorado’s 7th Annual Cyberschools Day at the Capitol with a turnout of over 700!

Last Thursday’s 7th annual Cyberschools’ Day at the Capitol was a day full of learning, socializing, and celebrating our choice in the online public school option in Colorado. Students, parents, families, teachers, administrators, friends and supporters of online education gathered to show our legislators that cyber schools are an important part of the public education system and to celebrate this choice.

This was our 2nd year in a row The Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families (CCCF) partnered with The Colorado Cyberschool Association (CCA) to sponsor our Day at the Capitol.

According to the registration, we were joined by 12 different multi-district online schools.

Our day’s activities began at the Sherman Street Event Center. All throughout the morning Pre K- 12 student activities were available and made possible by our wonderful cyberschool teachers who were assisted by several high school student volunteers. Parents also had sessions available to them throughout the morning. We were privileged to be joined by Ben DeGrow, Independence Institute, for a very informative presentation on school choice and how and where to access resources that are available to parents. We heard from Eric Anderson, SE2, who presented a Talking to Your Legislator class and parents had the opportunity to write letters that were later delivered to their representatives. We had a legislative update from our Colorado lobbyists and then a college prep presentations from College in Colorado.

The weather was nippy but the sun became brighter as we came on the scene of the West Steps at the Colorado State Capitol for our Rally.

The Civil Air Patrol Valkyrie Cadet Squadron’s Color Guard brought a very special presence to our Rally this year. The presenting and posting of the Colors and the National Anthem was a great way to officially open our Rally.

Colorado Virtual Academy Graduating Senior, Sean Cooney shared how he credits his success to this model of learning, his teachers and other faculty, and his mentor.

Representative Tom Massey, representing the 60th District since 2005 and Chair of the House Education Committee spoke to our families. His support for this online public school option was evident as he shared his remarks.

Senator Shawn Mitchell who represents District 23 spoke next and he really rallied up our families as he shared his continued support of public online schools. His passionate remarks were powerful and we were very appreciative that he took the time to answer questions from our parents and our students.

Denise Mund, CDE’s Director of the Unit of Online Learning also joined us on the West Steps showing her continued and valued support of the online public school option.

In celebration of January’s National School Choice Week, The Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families hosted an essay contest and at our capitol day we announced the winners. Congratulations to Aryana & Patricia J. who tied for second place with Bart Titlon. They each won a $100 gift card! The grand prize winner was Chase & Juanita Redfield. They won a $150 gift card AND their family is our 2011 CCCF Spokesfamily.

After our rally, our families gathered on the capitol lawn for a picnic lunch where there was a whole lot of networking among our online community.

It was a day full of appreciation for the choice in public school options that Colorado offers and a day to celebrate Our Children!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

2.2.11 Public Hearing on Online Learning issues

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
 Public hearing on Online Learning issues at the HB 1412 Advisory Committee hearing.

2.2.11 Agenda can be found here.

10 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
CASB, 1200 Grant Street, Denver, CO

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Great Choice Douglas County Friday night Twitter Chat

In celebration of National School Choice Week, Great Choice Douglas County is hosting a Twitter Chat.  Friday night's discussion topic is Online Learning.

To join in the discussion, follow @Gr8ChoiceDougco to retrieve the LIVE link to the Twitter Chat-room.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

National School Choice Week

National School Choice Week, January 23-29, is a week to raise awareness and build support on a national level for educational options.

The Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families (CCCF), an affiliate member of Colorado Cyberschools Association, is sponsoring an essay contest in celebration of National School Choice Week. 

Colorado cyber school students are invited to participate in the contest in celebration of National School Choice Week. 

 Get all the details here for a chance to win:

$150 Visa® gift card
Become the official 2011 spokesfamily for the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families, be featured on the CCCF website and in a 2011 publication
Special recognition at  the 2011 7th Annual Cyberschools’ Day at the Capitol on 2.24.11 in Denver

$100 Visa® gift card
Featured spot on the CCCF website
Special recognition at 2011 7th Annual Cyberschools’ Day at the Capitol on 2.24.11 in Denver

Good Luck and be sure to join National School Choice Week:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning

In August 2010 The Digital Learning Council was launched, which included a diverse group of leaders who came together to develop a roadmap of education reform. 

1. Student Eligibility: All students are digital learners.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State ensures access to high quality digital content and online courses to all students.
• State ensures access to high quality digital content and online courses to students in K-12 at any time in their academic career.

2. Student Access: All students have access to high quality digital content and online courses.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State does not restrict access to high quality digital content and online courses with policies such as class size ratios and caps on enrollment or budget.
• State does not restrict access to high quality digital content and online courses based on geography, such as school district, county, or state.
• State requires students take high quality online college-or career-prep courses to earn a high school diploma.

3. Personalized Learning: All students can customize their education using digital content through an approved provider.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State allows students to take online classes full-time, part-time or by individual course.
• State allows students to enroll with multiple providers and blend online courses with onsite learning.
• State allows rolling enrollment year round.
• State does not limit the number credits earned online.
• State does not limit provider options for delivering instruction.

4. Advancement: Students progress based on demonstrated competency.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State requires matriculation based on demonstrated competency.
• State does not have a seat-time requirement for matriculation.
• State provides assessments when students are ready to complete the course or unit.

5. Content: Digital content, instructional materials, and online and blended learning courses are high quality.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State requires digital content and online and blended learning courses to be aligned with state standards or common core standards where applicable.

6. Instruction: Digital instruction and teachers are high quality.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State provides alternative certification routes, including online instruction and performance-based certification.
• State provides certification reciprocity for online instructors certified by another state.
• State creates the opportunity for multi-location instruction.
• State encourages post-secondary institutions with teacher preparation programs to offer targeted digital instruction training.
• State ensures that teachers have professional development or training to better utilize technology and before teaching an online or blended learning course.

7. Providers: All students have access to multiple high quality providers.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State has an open, transparent, expeditious approval process for digital learning providers.
• State provides students with access to multiple approved providers including public, private and nonprofit.
• States treat all approved education providers- public, chartered and private – equally.
• State provides all students with access to all approved providers.
• State has no administrative requirements that would unnecessarily limit participation of high quality providers (e.g. office location).
• State provides easy-to-understand information about digital learning, including programs, content, courses, tutors, and other digital resources, to students.

8. Assessment and Accountability: Student learning is the metric for evaluating the quality of content and instruction.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State administers assessments digitally.
• State ensures a digital formative assessment system.
• State evaluates the quality of content and courses predominately based on student learning data.
• State evaluates the effectiveness of teachers based, in part, on student learning data.
• State holds schools and providers accountable for achievement and growth.

9. Funding: Funding creates incentives for performance, options and innovation.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State funding model pays providers in installments that incentivize completion and achievement.
• State allows for digital content to be acquired through instructional material budgets and does not discourage digital content with print adoption practices.
• State funding allows customization of education including choice of providers.

10. Delivery: Infrastructure supports digital learning.
Actions for lawmakers and policymakers:
• State is replacing textbooks with digital content, including interactive and adaptive multimedia.
• State ensures high-speed broadband Internet access for public school teachers and students.
• State ensures all public school students and teachers have Internet access devices.

• State uses purchasing power to negotiate lower cost licenses and contracts for digital content and online courses.
• State ensures local and state data systems and related applications are updated and robust to inform longitudinal management decisions, accountability and instruction.