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Julie Young to Begin Next Chapter of Online Learning Leadership

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After 17 years at the helm of Florida Virtual School and 30 years as a Florida educator, Julie Young told the board and staff last week that she was retiring.

Young launched FLVS in 1997, the first state affiliated online school. Today, FLVS is the largest part time virtual provider supporting more than 410,000 enrollments. The majority of students are Florida high school students seeking acceleration or credit recovery options.

Last year, part time FLVS students outperformed the Florida state average on the Algebra I assessment by 20 percent, on the Geometry EOC assessment by 24 percent, and on the Biology EOC assessment by 3 percent.

In recent years, FLVS has become a blended learning partner to most Florida districts. For example, working with FLVS, Miami-Dade created Blended Learning Communities (BLC) in all high schools and serving about 24,000 students. FLVS teachers create purposeful visits in order to provide direct differentiated instruction. The teachers may collaborate with the Blended Learning Specialists in order to provide one-on-one or cohort tutoring opportunities.

Young also created the FLVS Global School to serve students nationally and internationally. FLVS is also a leading provider of innovative online courseware to districts nationwide.

Mickey Revenaugh, Connections Education, said, "I first collaborated with Julie in 1998, back before any of us (besides Julie!) really knew what virtual schooling was all about. She gamely flew across the country to present with me at some regional conference - and completely transformed my thinking about education. Amazingly, she's managed to blow my mind every year since as well. I can't wait to see what Julie comes up with next!"

I have had the pleasure of serving with Julie is a director of The International Association for K-12 Online Learning ( iNACOL) for the last five years. She is the consummate professional--thoughtful, strategic, and collaborative. As a founding board member, she helped set the tone of kids first at iNACOL.

"Julie Young's leadership has changed the wave of the future of education globally," said Susan Patrick, President of iNACOL. "In the future, people will look back on the field of digital learning and stand in awe at what Julie has been able to accomplish at Florida Virtual School. Her decades of work, grounded on the big idea of student-centered learning designs, is both visionary and leading the field toward innovation." FLVS was the first scaled opportunity in a state to access high quality teachers and courses online. The rolling enrollments, personalized learning, and performance based funding are all precursors for all of K-12. "Before Julie started FLVS, the idea teachers could personalize education and break free of the time-based system, was very difficult to imagine in practice," said Patrick. "Julie was able to reconceptualize learning for kids -- allowing each student to have access to learning when and where they need it, and flexible pacing that supports and empowers teachers and students alike."

Board chair and co-founding iNACOL board member, Linda Pittenger, said, "Julie began a journey years ago that showed us what's possible with online learning in public education. She¹s continued to push those boundaries and challenge our thinking. I¹m excited for her and eager to see where she's headed next."

FLVS Chairman Michael Olenick said, "Julie has made a significant impact on our state's education system and has been a pioneer of virtual education. During her tenure, Florida Virtual School has transformed education and delivered unprecedented learning choices to hundreds of thousands of students and families in Florida and around the world."

Julie may be retiring from FLVS, but she knows better than anyone where there is opportunity to better serve America's youth. When it comes to innovations in learning, keep eye out for Julie Young's next move; paraphrasing Gretzky, I suspect she will be skating to where the next-gen learning "puck" will be.

FLVS is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.

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