IVS Teacher Spotlight – Jaime Bramer

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This week’s teacher spotlight is Illinois Virtual School Spanish I Teacher, Jaime Bramer. Jaime describes herself as a “mom, wife, animal-lover, teacher, promoter of peace and love, and a lover of art and music”. Her hobbies include reading, playing with her pets, and running her kids to all sorts of activities.

Jaime recently answered some questions regarding her experience with IVS:

IVS: In what ways do you interact and get to know your students? How does this compare to your experience teaching at a brick-and-mortar school?

JB: I work to make my responses and feedback to students individual. I make an extra effort to call them by name, to ask about activities that they are in, and to use positive statements. It’s actually pretty similar to my brick-and-mortar experience because: In my classroom I also work to make individual feedback, I definitely use the students’ names, and it’s my goal to be extremely positive! One difference is that I use a lot of Kagan Cooperative Learning in the traditional classroom (I am a Kagan School Trainer),  but that’s not something that I use in an online setting. I would love to figure out a way to do that, though!

IVS: What benefits exist for students taking an online course:

JB: It’s awesome that the students have more flexibility. Kids are so busy these days; they are involved in so much! They do have to be organized with taking classes online, but they don’t have to do the same class at the same time each and every day, and there isn’t any busy work.

IVS: What strategies do you use to keep your students motivated and engaged?

JB: I ask my students questions ni their feedback, and sometimes I ask questions in my News Posts as well. I am so excited when one of them answers! Another way that I try to engage and motivate my students is by sending encouraging pages/messages. This is definitely one aspect of my online teaching that I would like to improve. As a KCL Teacher, I am accustomed to a lot of engagement. I’m determined to figure out more ways to ‘hook’ the kids – it will just take some trial and error. I’m up for the challenge!

IVS: Why is IVS a special place to you?

JB: I love how encouraging my mentor, Dee, is and I love how willing everyone is to answer questions and help colleagues.

 

If you’re interested in taking Spanish I with Ms. Bramer, then check out IVS’ Getting Started page, which describes how to create an account and request a course. If you’re not sure what course you’d like to take, then check out IVS’ Course Solutions page, which has links to Full Service, Credit Recovery, and Middle School course information, as well as our complete course catalog.

 

 

IVS Now! Annual Report for 2017-2018 Has Been Released

Illinois Virtual School (IVS) has released its annual report, IVS Now! for the 2017-2018 academic year. This year’s annual report has been prepared to communicate with a variety of stakeholders the learning opportunities made available to students and educators in Illinois including a deeper insight into the IVS Program. Included throughout the report are examples of how some of our partners use IVS and how the partnership has helped positively impact their students.

Our pledge to you: we will continue to advocate for all of our students no matter how big or small the details are. This is what our team demonstrates and this is what we will continue to uphold. We look forward to continuing working alongside all of our partners, students, and families. Together, we will pursue the positive difference we all aspire to achieve for our learners.

Are you ready to take a peek inside? We invite you to review and engage with the report by selecting the link below.

Wishing you a wonderful start to the holiday season,

-IVS Team

The Convenience of IVS Affords Amazing Opportunities for Both Students and Teachers.

The convenience of Illinois Virtual School allows for students to participate in many activities that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue. Hockey players, musicians, dancers, and gymnasts have all taken IVS courses while pursuing their passions. Well, IVS allows for teachers to pursue exciting opportunities also!

Ron Chernobrov teaches American History, Consumer Economics, and Government for IVS. Currently, Mr. Chernobrov is also teaching for the United States Army in the Marshall Islands. The following is a guest blog post about his experiences:

Online education provides for the incredible ability to both learn and teach from anywhere in the world. I’ve been teaching social studies for IVS since 2013, but recently decided that I needed some adventure in my life. So after spending my entire professional career in Illinois, I took a one year contract teaching for the United States Army at a military base in the Marshall Islands. At this point, you’re probably asking… huh? Where?

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Kwajalein is home to the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, where the United States conducts all sorts of defense testing that I’m not privy to the details of. But plenty of kids live on the base as dependents of the military and contractor personnel on island… and they need an education! So a full K-12 school system exists on base, and I teach 7-12th grade at their middle/high school building.

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Kwajalein Jr/Sr High School

When I took this position, I was worried about whether or not I would be able to continue my responsibilities with the Illinois Virtual School. But those worries proved to be unfounded, as the army has high speed internet available in all on-island housing. So it was actually a rather seamless transition — as I departed Chicago and flew out to Kwajalein, I was able to continue responding to my students, grading work, and posting assignments, all whilst traveling the globe. Better still, internet access worked on the very first day of my arrival, and so I experienced absolutely no down time with my online students.

It really has been an incredible experience because while the bulk of my students are in Illinois, I’m able to continue teaching my courses from 6,000 miles away, without any issues. In fact, I’d venture to say most of my students probably don’t even know that I’m so far away from them. I even kept a local Illinois phone number (hooray for cell phones) to keep in touch.

That’s the true magic of online education… the students and teachers don’t have to be in the same room, the same state, or even the same hemisphere. The only hangup I’ve run into is the seven hour time difference, but it’s actually worked out in my favor because I complete my work in two rounds – I do my heaviest grading and posting around 11 PM – midnight (my time) because I’ve always been a night anyway, and this translates to 7 AM in Illinois. Thus my students get my comments and feedback right at the start of their school day. I then respond to student questions via email during my lunch break, which corresponds to around 6-7 PM in Illinois, exactly when the kids will be finishing dinner and ready to tackle their homework.

I’m also getting to experience a tremendous amount of history whilst out here, as Kwajalein was the site of a WWII battle between US forces and the Japanese. So I’m looking forward to bringing my experiences here on Kwajalein into my online classroom for 2nd semester when I teach about World War II. I’ll get to show my students first hand pictures of actual Japanese bunkers and real battle sites… maybe even live video clips that wouldn’t be possible in any other circumstance but for our online classroom and my unique location.

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Blown-Out Japanese Bunker

All in all, it’s been a great experience out here so far, and I love the chance to teach in a unique location and provide an important service for the children of those that serve our nation. I don’t know how long I’ll stay out here yet, but I intend to return to Illinois for winter and summer breaks, so my connection to “the mainland” will continue while I live out here in the central Pacific.

Yokwe!

(Marshallese for hello and goodbye)

As you can see, the flexibility of Illinois Virtual School is not just a benefit for student, but teachers as well! If you’re a teacher and would like to work for IVS, then click HERE to learn about employment opportunities and how to get started.