An Interview with Star Kraschinsky: Florida Virtual School and Blackboard Collaborate.

Aug 3, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

Star Kraschinsky is director of communications for Florida Virtual School, in Florida and has responded to questions about a recent award.

1) First of all, tell us about this Florida Virtual School. I am often in Tampa and might like to visit.

Florida Virtual School® (FLVS®) opened its “virtual” doors in August 1997 as the country’s first Internet-based public high school with seven teachers and 77 students. Today, the statewide, public virtual school district serves more than 148,000 public, private, charter, and home-schooled students. Florida Virtual School teaches students from Kindergarten through 12th grade and provides e-solutions to all 67 Florida school districts, the remaining 49 states and to 57 countries worldwide. More than 1 million students have successfully completed courses through Florida Virtual School.

FLVS was founded on the belief that every student is unique and learns at a different pace. We base student advancement on demonstrated competency. We believe that education should be tailored to one’s unique learning style. At Florida Virtual School, students work at their own pace and advance from one level to the next to achieve mastery of a subject.

Florida Virtual School is driven by a performance-based funding model, only receiving funding for students who successfully complete courses.

2) Now, when did this Blackboard Collaborate Hall of Fame get started?

For details on Blackboard Collaborate and the Hall of Fame we ask that you please contact Matt Maurer at 202-463-4860, ext. 2637.

3) I am vaguely familiar with Blackboard, but what is this Collaborate Platform they keep talking about?

Blackboard Collaborate, the leading education-focused Web, video and audio conferencing platform, helps improve student achievement through personalized instruction. For more information on Blackboard Collaborate, please visit http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Collaborate/Products/Blackboard-Collaborate.aspx

4) Where could I learn more about this Florida Virtual School, and its offerings and the people that run it?

For more information on Florida Virtual School, please visit our website at www.flvs.net. We do have a press kit in our newsroom at www.flvs.net/news. We would be happy to arrange time to speak with you to provide more information and answer any questions you may have.

5) Where could teachers see a sample lesson plan, or pod cast, or Wimba room? Or am I off on this?

All FLVS highly-qualified instructors possess a valid Florida teaching certificate. All are certified by the State of Florida for the subject matter they teach. In addition, more than 125 of the instructors are National Board Certified.

Course tours of five of our courses are available on our website at http://www.flvs.net/areas/flvscourses/Pages/CourseTours.aspx

6) What were the singular things that brought recognition to Florida Virtual School?

Florida Virtual School was recognized by Blackboard Collaborate for not only using the platform for daily use in live learning sessions, but also for the innovation and creativity for which the platform is used to enhance the learning experience for the student. FLVS uses Blackboard Collaborate for extracurricular activities such as school club meetings, author chats, book discussions, cultural events, history fairs, writing workshops, Shakespeare festivals and more.

7) What seems to be the outstanding features of their Blackboard Collaborate Platform?

Florida Virtual School provides personalized learning and instruction. Blackboard Collaborate provides a platform that allows FLVS instructors to have an engaging tool to involve each student on an individual level, be it through live learning lessons or student collaborations.

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