Florida Virtual School: A growing enterprise
The largest and oldest state-funded online school in the nation
falls outside many traditional measures of educational success.
The FLVS student
Since the beginning, students drawn to Florida Virtual have tended to fit into three categories: homeschoolers, struggling students looking to make up lost credits and accelerated students hoping to build their GPAs.
According to its most recent annual student survey, 21 percent enrolled in a Florida Virtual class in order to raise a grade. Eighteen percent used it to cram in a class needed to graduate on time. And 15 percent turned to the school's courses to accelerate graduation or to get ahead. Roll over the slices of the pie charts below to see what kind of students take virtual classes.
Enrollment reported in FLVS' 2012 Legislative Brief:
Enrollment reported in annual student survey:
Breakdown of students by race
Florida Virtual students tend to be predominantly white, but the school is becoming more diverse. Roll over the bars of the chart at below to see how the racial breakdown of students has changed over time.
The FLVS teacher
In May, FLVS budgeted for 1,028 full-time teachers and 98 adjunct or part-time teachers in the 2011-12 school year. Florida Virtual teachers come from Florida and beyond, many working from their homes. Roll over the bars of the chart at right to see how many teachers and staff were employed each year.
How many teachers work for Florida Virtual?
Total no. of teachers: In May, FLVS budgeted for 1,028 full-time teachers and 98 adjunct or part-time teachers in the 2011-12 school year.
They reside: In 30 states
Salaries: FLVS teachers' 2011-12 salaries, which are based on a 12-month contract, ranged from $45,000 to $75,600. That's compared with 10-month contracts paying $36,925 to $64,410 in the Pinellas County school district and $37,014 to $67,421 in the Hillsborough County school district.
Credentials: 125 teachers are nationally board certified.
Evaluations: Performance is judged on the frequency of contact with students, among other things. Teachers work from 8 a.m to 8 p.m.
Honors: Teresa Dove, a FLVS teacher, received the nation's first online K-12 teacher of the year award from the Southern Regional Education Board and the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. Dove was selected from more than 50 nominations of online educators in public and state virtual schools in 24 states.
The online experience
FLVS annually surveys students who enroll in the school's courses asking them everything from how easy is it to sign up for a class to how well teachers communicate with them. Here's a look at some of the feedback.
The responses below come from two sets of surveys given to students in the 2010-11 school year. One survey is given as soon as a student completes her first FLVS course, and this portion had a return rate of 35,866 surveys or 30% of all the students who finished a course. The second portion is given whenever a student is is 65 percent of the way through a course and inclues course- and teacher-specific questions. This portion had 104,637 responses or 42% of students who completed a course. Download a PDF of the student survey.
Why do students enroll in FLVS courses?
Roll over the pie charts to find out how students responded.
How well do students and teachers communicate?
The survey asked: Communication with the teacher and other students of this course is/was: