How Does Online School Work?
The sun reflected off Milton’s sunglasses as he shook Christopher Geis’ hand on Graduation Day. They turned and posed for pictures, a blue leather-bound certificate clutched between them. Palm trees waved in the background, and applause echoed through the amphitheater. An hour later, Graduates threw up their royal blue hats, and settled in for a night of music, giant Jenga, epic photo booth captures, and many, many trips to the chocolate fountain.
This past weekend marked the 2017 Graduation Ceremony in San Diego, California. During the ceremony, we were able to hear from our student body exactly what Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences meant to them. “Flexibility,” some said. “Independence,” others said. “The ability to get an education AND live my dream.” The list went on, and we beamed, bright as the sun reflecting off Milton’s sunglasses.
Our mission is to help empower students to thrive and explore their own genius. Please join us in celebrating the graduating class of 2017, and wish them well as they journey on to live their unique purpose and make their impact on the world.
#graduation2017 #myschoolmyway #touchthefuture #returnonimpact
But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living within that way of life. - Hunter S. Thomson
What a privilege it is to serve such a diverse student body. CMASAS students and families come from dozens of different countries around the world, speaking different languages, practicing different cultures, devoting themselves to different religions and beliefs. Our students are vibrant, brilliant young people, each so perfectly unique in their own ways.
Your School, Your Way
Because you are remarkable, you dare to be different. You touch the future and you change the game, in ways that no one else has thought of before. You no longer move on a factory belt, captured by common, forced into a rhythm of conformity that your feet don’t move to. You’re not play-it-safers, do-it-laters, settling for average, creators of complacency.
Many parents and educators work hard to instill healthy behaviors in children from a very young age, all for their lifelong health and success. We teach children to be polite, responsible and intuitive. What about teaching children how to be generous? And apart from obvious reasons why generosity is important, like “sharing is caring”, why would we want to teach this discipline and attitude to our children?
Dear Graduate, Love CMASAS
Dear graduate, Trust me for a moment and do a crazy thing. Close your eyes and breathe. Breathe deep, big, bigger than you are used to. Listen to the air move up and down your throat, massaging your inner body as it moves. As you listen to your breath remember this, you are alive, you are well. Now do another crazy thing. Go outside. Don’t wear shoes.
You’ve been laughed at. You’ve been misunderstood. You’ve been left alone. You’ve been noticed, identified, set apart from the crowd. Strange, odd, weird, unusual — these are words others use towards you behind your back, or worse, to your face.
Though it’s often difficult to encourage social growth in an online school setting, we have developed many opportunities to help students connect with their peers and explore their passions. One opportunity students have to connect with others is through our online clubs. These clubs have great attendance and many students have said that going to club meetings is their favorite part of the week.
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” - Anonymous It’s not much of a stretch to compare online school students to entrepreneurs. Like entrepreneurs, online school students have the freedom to be innovative, creative, flexible and mobile. Like entrepreneurs, online school students will also face the unexpected, be required to take risks, and will have the opportunity to create something beautiful out of failure.
This week's food for thought comes from Tamra Excell, CMASAS co-founder and proud owner of adorable ferrets. Elsa is still learning how to be a ferret. Early shelter life impacted her, but she is watching the others and learning. Sort of. Sometimes she misses the point.
What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question every adult heard as a child. It’s a question every child continually hears from adults. It’s a question that some adults, young and old, still ask themselves, trying to figure out life.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. — Martin Luther King, Jr. / "I Have A Dream" speech, August 28, 1963 In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we wanted to celebrate the man who deeply impacted the history of the United States, inspired movements for generations to come, and left the world with words we will never forget. Since the mid 1950s, King, a Baptist Minister, worked tirelessly for the civil rights movement until his assassination in 1968.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. - E.E. Cummings One of the greatest challenges in life is discovering oneself and navigating the world around us in relation to our inner journey. Though each individual is born with certain personality traits, passions and gifts, personalities continue to be shaped by relationships, circumstances and experiences over time.
“There are three things incredibly hard: steel, diamonds, and to know one’s self.” - Benjamin Franklin Knowing one’s self is hard. It’s a journey that we begin as children and never fully finish. Self-discovery takes discipline, courage and risk. Understanding and unveiling one's soul looks different in every season and with every new story.
This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell, co-founder of CMASAS. There’s no such thing as an incorrect emotion. Sure, it might be based on incorrect information, or you might make a bad decision based on emotions, but the emotion itself is not in question. If you feel it, it is real.
The new year is quickly approaching and we are offered once again, at least in part, a fresh start. Many people love this time of year as it provides an excuse and incentive to intentionally reflect on the past and become excited about the future. As you plan for 2019 and all that the year holds for yourself and your family, perhaps consider using this time as an opportunity to teach your children the value of setting goals and taking advantage of the new beginning. Setting goals and new year’s resolutions with your children can be a fun opportunity for growth and change as well as a unique bonding experience for the family.
This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell as she visits the 2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium. Tamra is the co-founder of CMASAS and Personalized Education Group. I attended the welcoming reception at the education conference I am at this week – an opportunity for vendors to entice people to their booths with free food. Obviously this works on me because I was there. I enjoy looking for new tools or strategies for our students, so the exhibit hall is a favorite part for me. However, as I went from one booth to another, there was one that I hesitated approaching. The booth was huge, dominating a large portion of the room, but I passed by it several times. I was struggling with the first bullet point on their sign: “deficiency diagnostics.”
Using digital tools like laptops, tablets and smartphones allow online school students to engage in learning in three-dimensional, creative, collaborative and unique ways. Unfortunately technology has also become a distraction for many online school students, causing them to lose their focus and passion for learning. In this age of an abundance of digital distractions, it’s more important now than ever for children to learn how to concentrate and practice self-control.
When is the last time you and your child took a “mental health day,” a day to rest, unplug and recharge? We live in a society today where the well-rested professional loses respect and the calm and relaxed teenager is looked down on. We hear stories and marvel at the success of famous people like Bill Clinton and Martha Stewart who only need four hours of sleep a night. We esteem the high school Valedictorian who graduated with a 4.5 GPA, an All-America athletics award, and a book contract. We make the kid who participates in only one extra-curricular activity look lazy, and we make the mom who takes a spa day feel guilty for her time off.
This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell. She is the co-founder of CMASAS and Personalized Education Group. “What is the top advice you would give to younger generations?” I asked Joanne, a retired teacher who did her own share of shaking the system over the years. She was now facing end-of-life type decisions, and while a recent injury had her down, she wasn’t out, and the spark in her eyes in response to my question reminded me of this.
So many students, and even adults, communicate virtually with others in ways that they never would face-to-face. The anonymity that the Internet can provide causes some people to be cruel, spiteful and humiliating to others. In different situations, online and virtual communication causes people to be sloppy, informal, and simply poor communicators. Here are 5 rule for online etiquette that will help us all to be kind, clear and successful virtual communicators.
This week's Food For Thought comes from CMASAS online school co-founder Tamra Excell. My daughter Cass is traveling the country with a cat named Juan and a chicken named Vanna. I could blame Neil Gaiman, brilliantly creative English author, but it’s probably my fault.
From the youngest age, children of this generation are presented with more modes of technology than ever before, as most American households have multiple tablets, computers, cell phones and televisions at their disposal. Though each family and child is different, a San Francisco based nonprofit Common Sense Media, which studies screen time of children from birth, found that children under eight years old were spending about two hours a day in front of a screen.
This week's Food For Thought comes from online school co-founder and designer behind the Personalized Education Group, Tamra Excell. “She sure seems angry,” I heard somebody say behind me while in attendance at a recent conference. The presenter was passionate about her topic. She and another were taking turns explaining how “all students are a gift, but not all students are gifted,” and to say otherwise could undermine gifted education.