Monday, January 30, 2012

Colorado was a buzzing this past week!!!

Monday 1.23.12 there was major meeting of the minds to focus on the digital roadmap for Colorado – this was supported by the Independence Institute, Donnell Kay, Colorado Department of Education  and even the president of the InternationalAssociation for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)  It was glorious to see the range of stakeholders represented including board members from the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families, the range of online school leaders district schools, multi-district schools and programs.  While each of these may have unique drivers, missions, and results it was interesting to experience the ebb and flow of conversation and to find sufficient agreement on key areas that a message could be crafted to share with the legislators.  With that information, a delegation made up of those who sponsored and facilitated the event extended themselves over lunch with legislators at the University Club  that was sponsored by the Independence Institute and Donnell-Kay.  The event included an informational presentation by Susan Patrick the President of iNACOL to set the understanding the landscape of digital learning in the US and how Colorado compares as well as how the nation compares to the rest of the world.  With the tone set, information shared, then she was available to address the questions on legislators minds.  While there is much more work to be done I think it is fair to call this day a successful start to laying out priorities for the critical roadmap of Digital Learning in Colorado.

Wednesday 1.25.12— what a day of focus on parents Standing for Choice—I was honored to represent CCA on a panel for an online workshop entitled “Advocacy Academy” which was hosted by one of our associate members the Colorado Coalition ofCyberschool Families (CCCF).  What an informative and professionally delivered workshop.  The material was concise, delivered with authenticity and enthusiasm by Parents who have worked to inform policy makers while continuing to support their families.  This workshop was recorded and by all means needs to be shared with all parties who have a desire to make a difference by having their voice heard and their choice in education known.  Please download the webinar here

As a part of National School Choice Week I wanted to make sure that CCA was represented at the major event at the Douglas County Events Center.  This had National Speakers Dick Morris and Hugh Hewitt as well as local leaders in the Chairman Bob Schaffer of the Colorado State Board of Education as well as a member of Douglas County School District Board member Dan Gerken.  This event was particularly relevant in this community given that they have been pursuing a unique and highly contentious voucher plan.  Regardless of where the members of the crowd were on the issues there was energy and interest in the topic.  In essence the night could be summed up very easily with parents must take back their rights and accountability for educating their children rather than turning that responsibility to the government.

Thursday 1.26.12 -the Presidents arrival Thursday at Buckley Air Force Base may have been the highlight for many but for me the highlight was the Branson School Online Science Fair.  Wow!  How exciting to see students from Kindergarten through 12th grade entrenched in Scientific demonstration, exploration, and learning.  .

I had planned to travel to the Independence Institute for the Kids Aren’t Cars event!  While I was not able to get there due to some work items that needed to be taken care of but guess what… I could see it on u-tube.  (of course you can)  Just look it up on the web – I did miss the interaction and experience I would have had from driving there and being in the discussion but at least I did not miss the content.  Maybe enough of us will view it on the tube and then we can have our own discussion.

Friday 1.27.12 -How did last week come to conclusion for CCA?  Well I am pleased to share that we have been partnering with the Governor’s office in preparation for Digital Learning Day which will be February 1—yes that is this coming Wednesday.  CCA has sponsored an Essay Contest and the Governors’ staff will be the reviewers of those essays submitted by CCA member schools.  We had Elementary (3-5), Middle School (6-8) and High School (9-12) categories.  This is the first year and CCA is pleased to be supporting the effort. 

Last week was filled with major events in addition to the critical work educators are involved with.  Given that I encourage you to celebrate the week, rest a moment and then get ready for the future!

Written by Judith  Stokes, Assistant Superintendent Branson School Online and President, Colorado Cyberschool Association

Monday, January 9, 2012

Digital Learning Day 2.1.12

Join this national awareness campaign to improve learning and teaching for all children. Find out how you can join this nationwide celebration of innovation. 
Click on Digital Learning Day to learn more.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Great Publication for Parents

The Education Policy Center has recently released a great publication for parents: Choosing a Colorado Online School for Your Child by Ella Peterson, Research Associate and Pamela Benigno, Director, Education Policy Center.

Monday, January 2, 2012

National School Choice Week 2012

Join National School Choice Week, January 22-28, 2012 to help in the movement to make quality education options available to every child!

Visit their website to see how you can help make National School Choice Week 2012 a huge success!