Florida Virtual School (FLVS) was founded in 1997 as the first statewide Internet-based public high school in the United States. In 2000, FLVS was established as an independent educational entity by the Florida Legislature. Recognized as its own district within the state, it provides online instruction to Florida students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. According to its website, "FLVS is part of the Florida public education system and serves students in all 67 Florida districts. FLVS also serves students, schools, and districts around the nation through tuition-based instruction, curriculum provision, and training." As a public school, its funding is tied directly to student performance.
Florida Virtual School began as a progressive initiative that sought to explore innovative teaching models based in online learning. During the 1996 school year, the Florida Department of Education awarded two counties, Orange and Alachua, with "Break the Mold" grant funds. The $200,000 grant for the legislative project set the stage for FLVS to become the nationâs first statewide online public high school. After a 6-month planning period, the school launched in August 1997 with 77 students and five courses.
Julie Young, former president and CEO of FLVS, describes how "there were no rules and no roadmap for us to follow" as the school was launched. Young, having previously worked as an administrator and technology integration trainer in the Florida education system, was hired to head the project. FLVS became an independent educational entity in 2000. During its first few years following the receipt of its initial grant funding, it was funded as a line item in the state budget.
By 2003, the school had increased to 24,000 half-credit enrollments (considered one segment or semester) and became part of the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP). It was the first school to directly tie student performance to funding through the reporting of studentsâ successful half-credit completions. At this time, FLVS also established its in-state franchise program by forming partnerships with school districts throughout Florida. In 2012-2013, FLVS franchise programs operated in 47 Florida districts.
FLVS is currently affiliated with all 67 districts and has been followed as a global model for initiatives in distance learning. During the 2012-2013 year, FLVS had 410,962 successful half-credit, semester completions based on part-time students.
Within the state, the Florida Virtual School district offers multiple options at no cost to students who are Florida residents. FLVS Flex, renamed from FLVS Part Time in 2016, allows public, private, or homeschool students to enroll on a per-course basis with rolling enrollment open year-round. Students may take courses with FLVS Flex to supplement current studies or as part of a home education program. Because credits are applied to the transcript of a student's local school or toward a homeschool portfolio, students of the FLVS Flex program do not receive a diploma from FLVS. The FLVS course catalog includes over 150 middle and high school courses. Courses include core subjects, world languages, electives, honors, and Advanced Placement courses. FLVS Flex also offers flexible, personalized online learning for elementary students in Kindergarten through 5th grade.
FLVS is accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). All core courses are NCAA approved.
FLVS Full Time
FLVS Full Time is a full-time public school in the state of Florida. The school is run in operation through a partnership with Connections Academy for grades Kindergarten through 5 and offers online instruction for both elementary, middle and high school students. FLVS Full Time operates on a traditional 180-day school-year calendar and is considered attending students' primary school of record. In May 2013, the school celebrated the graduation of its inaugural graduating class which included 250 high school seniors. These students were the first to receive a diploma from FLVS Full Time.
County Virtual Schools
FLVS is also a contracted provider for multiple Florida districts. Through the FLVS franchise program, districts may use FLVS curriculum with local district teachers. School districts may consider FLVS as an option to assist in reducing class size, to provide courses that may not be available or practical to offer at certain schools, to allow students to accelerate, or to assist remedial students who desire to be on grade level. FLVS also provides a flexible learning environment for students with medical or behavioral conditions or for those pursuing endeavors such as athletics or performing arts.
FLVS Global School
FLVS Global School offers middle and high school courses on a tuition basis to students residing outside the state of Florida. FLVS Global School students can also opt to earn a US high school diploma online through a partnership with The Cottage School.
FLVS School and District Solutions
FLVS offers training, professional development, and online content to educators and school districts both internationally and in Florida. This includes the support of Virtual Learning Labs and Blended Learning Communities across the state. FLVS supports the blended learning definition of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, which is "a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; and the modalities along each studentâs learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience." FLVS supports virtual learning labs and blended learning communities across the state. These programs integrate practices from the virtual learning environment into a traditional classroom, with both online and local teachers providing instruction, support, and supervision within school computer labs.
Funded through the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP), full-time equivalent (FTE) students at FLVS are defined by course completion and performance â" as opposed to "seat time" in a traditional brick-and-mortar school.
During the spring of 2013, a new legislative funding model changed the FTE allotment received by FLVS for students who attend a brick-and-mortar public school. The new funding formula provides FLVS a portion of the FTE for each public school student and is dependent upon the number of online courses taken. Previously, districts received the full allotment for each student regardless of the number of online courses taken and FLVS received an additional per-course allotment that equaled one-sixth of the FEFP FTE funding. Under the 2013 funding model, FLVS receives one-seventh of the allotment and the district receives six-sevenths if a student takes six courses with their local school and one course online. This is further reduced and divided by the total number of online courses taken. Funding for homeschool and private school students, however, remain the same. FLVS receives less funding for students who take courses through a district franchises. In 2012-2013, the FLVS funding per FTE was $5,195.18.
FLVS is free to Florida residents. Students outside of Florida may take the courses on a tuition basis through FLVS Global School. The fee is $400 for a half-credit (one semester) course and $800 for a full-credit (2 semester) course. There is an additional $25 per semester fee for AP courses.
FLVS operates under the guidance of a gubernatorial-appointed Board of Trustees according to Florida Statute (s. 228.082, F.S.).
Florida statute 1003.428 requires all high school students to complete an online course prior to graduation. All Florida students are eligible to take online courses with FLVS and cannot be denied this option by their district per Section 1002.37(3)(c), F.S.
- 2014 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Student Impact (FLVS Middle School Social Studies)
- Finalist in 2014 CODie Awards in three categories
- Elearning! Media Group's 2013 Learning! 100 Award
- 2013 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Staff Development
- 2013 SIIA CODiE Award for Best Instructional Solution in Other Curriculum Areas for Leadership Skills Development
- 2013 Best Practices in Distance Learning Programming - Platinum Award from the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA)
- 2013 Return on Education (ROE) Innovation Award
- 2012 Florida Safety Council Gold Star for Safety Award
- One of the 25 Coolest Schools in America by Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine and Scholastic.com (2012)
- Blackboard Collaborate Hall of Fame Class of 2012
- Silver IMS Global Learning Impact Award for Boost at the 2012 IMS Awards
- 2012 E-Learning 100 award for professional development programs and best practices
- 2011 Champion at 6th Annual Sterling Conference Storyboard Competition
- 2011 Platinum IMS Learning Impact Award
- 2010 CODiE Awards for Best Reading/English Instructional Solution and Best Social Studies Instruction
- 2010 Gold Award for Learning Impact from the IMS Global Learning Consortium
- 2010 Best Practices in Distance Learning Programming Award
- 2009 CODiE Award for Best Virtual School
- 2007 EdNet Pioneer Award
- 2007 USDLA 21st Century Awards Best Practices in Distance Learning
- 2006 EdNet's Impact Award
- 2005 USDLA 21st Century Best Practices Award
- 2005 USDLA Gold Award for Exemplary Online Teaching
- 2004 "Excellence in IT Leadership for Central Florida" award from ITFlorida
- 2003 Named one of the web Smart 50 top organizations by BusinessWeek magazine
- 2000 Canadian Association for Distance Education Award of Excellence
Select videos from FLVS courses are available through FLVS Study Hall, a section of the FLVS YouTube channel that includes open video resources for students.
- Virtual school
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- List of virtual schools
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- Florida Virtual School