By Tamas Mondovics

Florida Virtual Academy Students Head Back to School

According to local school officials, the start of the 2014-2015 school season was smooth with nothing more than the usual or normally expected glitches that seem to work themselves out as students and parents settle into their daily routines.

While the daily rituals of quickly eating breakfast, putting on a backpack and eagerly heading to the bus stop are usually the case with most students, such is a bit different for some public school students that are now enrolled at Florida Virtual Academies (FLVA) a full-time tuition-free online public charter school for students across Florida.

FLVA officials are promoting the choice as an alternative of “rolling out of bed and start the school day from the comfort of their pajamas, with the touch of a computer mouse” to a rushed morning routine.

At least that is the experience for students who enroll at FLVA follow an academic program that includes engaging, web-based lessons along with instructional books, videos, CDs and other hands-on tools and resources, which are shipped directly to each student’s home before the first day, Jenna Robinson said in a recent press release.

Robinson added that FLVA teachers provide instruction, guidance and support, and regularly interact with students and parents via e-mail, web-based classrooms, online discussions, phone and face-to-face meetings.  Teachers also organize numerous field trips and school activities where students have the opportunity to participate in events that blend academics and socialization.

Enrollment is still open for the 2014-2015 academic school year, and all interested families are encouraged to visit www.k12.com/flva for more information.

Hillsborough Schools Enrollment Up

Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) officials have recently reported that the district’s first day enrollment is up nearly 4,000 students this year compared to the first day of school last year.

Schools reported enrollment of 190,814, up 3,997 from last year.

According to school officials the annual growth, although slow, has been ongoing as last year on the first day of school the district reported an enrollment increase of 2,863 students compared to the previous year.

After several years of relatively flat enrollment or slight decreases, Hillsborough County Public Schools, the nation’s eighth largest district, has seen three years of growth and this year appears to be continuing that trend.

In a press release, HCPS said that historically it has taken several weeks before the district hits its peak enrollment.

This year, the projected enrollment is approximately 205,000.

The district will make several student counts over the next weeks, ending with the 20th day count, which is expected to give a true reading of how much the district has grown, school officials said.

Starting this year, Kelly Services provides substitute teachers for the district. The reported “fill rate” (the percentage of substitute teacher openings that were filled) for the first day was 99.6 percent. Historically, the school district has had a fill rate of less than 80 percent.

For more information about HCPS, visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us

District Welcomes 800 Newly-Hired Teachers

More than 800 newly-hired Hillsborough County Public School teachers were welcomed late last month during a four-day New Teacher Orientation event held at Armwood High School located at 12000 E. US Hwy. 92 in Seffner.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, along with School Board members and district staff, took part in the program that featured classroom learning with various break-out sessions.

Each day district administrators addressed the group followed by sessions with subject area specialists and additional professional development.

New teachers have also received training in classroom management, instructional strategies, exceptional student education, professionalism, and meeting the needs of diverse learners. Teachers new to education are assigned a district-based mentor who will work with them during the four-day event and throughout the school year.

For more information about HCPS, visit www.sdhs.k12.fl.us.