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Virtual Counseling Features 'Fireside Chats'

Need to offer effective guidance counseling at your virtual school? You might want to take a tip from Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

That's essentially what Tisha Green Rinker, the national manager of school counseling for Connections Academy, has done in offering regular video talks to the company's assorted public virtual schools across the country, she said today at a presentation at the Virtual School Symposium in Indianapolis.

Connections offers the National Counseling Live Lesson program, which directs Friday video conversations about academic, social, and career development to students at varying grade levels four times a month. The first Friday conversation focuses on academics, the second and third on social development, and the fourth on a "career fireside chat" with a speaker from the outside world.

"It's somebody from each month in a different career field," Rinker said. "The person is talking about their current job, the educational background for their current job, if they had careers prior to that position, and what they wanted to be when they were five years old. And then they took questions from the students."

With the challenge of trying to determine exactly where students are in their evolution—without face-to-face meetings—Rinker also said she's found it valuable to survey all the company's virtual schools, and plot the counseling activity against the tool or vehicle used to complete that task.

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