IVS Guest Blog Post: Nancy A. Hinnen – Heart of Illinois United Way


Illinois Virtual prides itself on forming partnerships to enhance and transform education for students and professionals. We believe we can achieve more together than we can alone. Through intentional and purposeful collaboration, we can elevate our educational communities beyond what a single entity can accomplish individually.

Below is a guest blog post from one of our partners, Heart of Illinois United Way. We thank you for our partnership and appreciate all you do to support and empower others to continuously improve.

Guest Blog Post

By Nancy A. Hinnen, Success By 6 Program Coordinator; Heart of Illinois United Way


Illinois Virtual School has our heads “in the clouds” with the launch of Math: Right from the Start Live Stream Professional Development! Heart of Illinois United Way Success By 6 just completed the winter/spring 2019 semester course using an Adobe Connect platform that was created and managed through Illinois Virtual School. The live professional development was held at SAL Child Care Connection in Peoria, IL and was streamed to Tazewell-Woodford Head Start in East Peoria, IL. Along with the live training using a web camera and PowerPoint presentation, demonstration video clips on how to use instructional materials were dropped into the presentation. Illinois Virtual School also coordinated group interaction between host sites using Snowball microphones and also imported photos of each site’s work into the virtual instruction so participants could share “live” comments/reflections on strategies learned within minutes of creating them. Amazing!

Funded through PNC Foundation, Math: Right from the Start provides a blended model of face-to-face and online professional development, e-coaching, and support materials that equip early childhood educators to implement research-validated, cognitively appropriate mathematical thinking strategies that enhance early math foundational skills. Illinois Virtual School has served as the online vendor since the course was created in 2013. The online portion of the course includes instructional videos, handouts and resources that are easily accessed when participants enroll in the course.  Upon completion of the course, “graduates” have continuous access to the original course content as well as any updated/new instructional materials. Illinois Virtual School participates in course planning meetings, creates the online platforms, attends orientation to help participants enroll online, manages online hours of participation, manages the live-stream professional development, and provides professional development certificates upon course completion. The role of Illinois Virtual School is essential for the success of the online and live-stream professional development!

Our vision is to reach larger audiences of early childhood educators so together we can enhance early math thinking . . . Right from the Start! Results from a 2018 research study funded through the PNC Ruby K. Worner Charitable Trust showed that preschool children in classrooms of teachers who participated in Math: Right from the Start had overall early math foundational growth of 8.32 correct responses whereas students of teachers who did not participate in Math: Right from the Start had overall early math foundational growth of 2.04 correct responses. (Wolffe, Nugent, Antola Crowe, 2018). Therefore, students of teachers who participate in Math: Right from the Start show statistically significant growth compared to those students of teachers who do not participate in Math: Right from the Start.

We applaud Illinois Virtual School for embracing the importance of early math thinking. Thank you for collaborating on behalf of giving teachers and their student’s foundational math skills for school success!

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