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Teacher Spotlight: Joe Rollins

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At iSucceed we have pretty incredible students who successfully graduate each year. But as we all know, behind every great student is a dedicated teacher, and that’s why we started this Teacher Spotlight series so we could bring to light our caring, highly-qualified instructors whose service often goes unnoticed.

Mr. Joe Rollins, history instructor

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To start our Teacher Spotlight Series, we bring you the inspiring story of one of our long-time instructors, Mr. Joe Rollins. Mr. Rollins is a social studies instructor who loves fishing, camping and reading about history—his favorite subject, as you may have guessed. What you may not have guessed is that Mr. Rollins has gone through some tough times, but he made it through and is now dedicated to helping students do the same.

Mr. Rollins was born in a small town in Tennessee to a big, loving family of three older brothers, a sister and plenty of aunts and uncles. Unfortunately, his mother and sister passed away in a car accident when he was just five years old.

When Mr. Rollins was 16 years old, he had to move out on his own. He stated that it was hard work having to support himself and still get his education.

“When I was 16, I worked two jobs, but I stayed in school and graduated on schedule,” Mr. Rollins said. “I understand how hard it can be for some students. I was there myself.”

After graduating high school, Mr. Rollins said he went into construction for about 20 years until his back prevented him from being able to work any longer, leading him to his dream job as a teacher.

“In 2003, I had spinal surgery,” said Mr. Rollins. “After the surgery, I could not do hard physical work anymore. I had always wanted to be a teacher, so I went back to school and graduated in 2008. My best day ever was the day I was hired to work as a teacher at iSucceed!”

image002Since he started teaching, Mr. Rollins has made a lasting impression on the lives of many students. You will often find him at our Pizza and Perks events helping students with schoolwork, as you can see in this photo.

And it’s not just students who attend our events who reap the benefits of Mr. Rollin’s wisdom. iSucceed graduate Nicole Griffith said that at her old school, she was extremely shy and felt uncomfortable participating in the classroom, but Mr. Rollins helped her gain the confidence she needed to graduate with good grades. She even presented the student speech in the 2014 ceremony! Check out this exerpt from her speech below.

“Mr. Rollins, you know something about me that no one would believe now. I’m shy…(but) you were the first teacher I was able to ask a question. After you were so helpful and encouraging, I could ask another and then another. Thank you so much for helping me find my voice and courage to be a leader”
– Nicole Griffith, 2014 graduate and student of the year

When it comes to advice, Mr. Rollins wants to tell you just one thing: Don’t give up on your education.

“If I could tell every teen in the world something, I would tell them that it is never too late to get an education. If I had gone to college right out of high school, I would have had so much more success. Learn to work with your mind and not with your back. Never give in or give up. Work hard to be the best you can be! It will pay off for the rest of your life!”
– Joe Rollins, iSucceed instructor

  • Do you have an iSucceed teacher or staff member you’d like us to spotlight? Share with us in the comments below!

School Provided Laptops for iSucceed Students!

15_Laptops_for_Students_headerSay goodbye to those heavy textbooks! At iSucceed Virtual High School, we provide our students with the tools they need to excel at our school, and that’s why we supply laptops to all of our students upon request at no cost!

How it Works

Getting your school provided laptop is easy with iSucceed! Here are the steps:

1. Enroll as an iSucceed student. To start your online application, click here.

2. Tell your enrollment advisor you would like a laptop. Your enrollment advisor will work with you to gather all of the necessary information.

3. Eagerly await the arrival of our Chromebook shipped directly to your home! The school provided laptop is yours to use throughout your time at iSucceed.

Student Success Story

At iSucceed, we know our students benefit tremendously from getting to use our laptops free of charge, but don’t just take our word for it! One of our students was able to get a diploma because of our laptops, and we are proud to say through his hard work he successfully graduated and shared his story with us.

Gunner is a former iSucceed student who came to us because he suffered from bullying and other issues at his middle school. They had a laptop at home, but it was very slow and did not work well. When he switched to iSucceed, he was given a Chromebook, something that he would become even more grateful for later on in his high school career.

Gunner had always been close with his mother. Every morning, his mother would wake up at 5 a.m. so she could help him with homework and spend time with him before leaving for her job. At the beginning of his sophomore year she unexpectedly passed away, forcing Gunner to move way out in the country with his grandparents. His former teacher, Mary Carter, said at that time he was suffering emotionally and wanted to quit high school. But to Mrs. Carter, letting him drop out was not an option.

“He talked about dropping out at almost every study lab during his sophomore and junior years. I fully believe he would have fallen through the cracks during this time, had he not been with iSucceed and had our one-on-one support,” said Mrs. Carter.

Mrs. Carter continued to meet with him in person, tutoring him twice a week a  local coffee shop where Mrs. Carter told us he would faithfully bring his laptop. Eventually, Gunner pulled up his grades and received his diploma, which was a bittersweet moment as Mrs. Carter told us.

“On our last study lab, we submitted an exam in Geometry, which bumped him over to a passing final grade,” Mrs. Carter said. “He not only passed Geometry (his worst subject), but he had earned enough in every class and would indeed graduate high school. When we both realized it, we both burst into tears! It still makes me tear up typing this! It was bittersweet when he returned the laptop to me on our last day of school, as we both knew that laptop was the reason he was graduating high school!”

“If it weren’t for iSucceed and the laptop they gave me, I would not have graduated high school. I cannot be thankful enough for what they did for me!”
– Gunner, iSucceed graduate

  • Do you have questions about our school provided laptops? Share with us in the comments below; we’re happy to help!

Staying Social in an Online Environment

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When you first heard about switching to an online school, chances are you were worried about missing your friends. But as many of our current students here at iSucceed Virtual High School know, meeting classmates and making friends is oftentimes much easier than at a traditional school. Here’s a couple of the many ways iSucceed makes it easy to stay social in an online environment.

PSP Chat

iSucceed has an online Parent Student Portal (PSP) where you can not only access grades, contact your teachers and do your homework, you also get to meet your classmates! Within the PSP is a community center where you can find your classmates and talk with them in a safe and fun way.

School Events

If you enjoy hanging out with friends and eating free food, you will love our school events! Held monthly throughout the school year, these activities are a great way to meet new friends and have some fun.

Online Student Clubs

If you have a hobby you enjoy, come join a student club! We have a wide variety of online student clubs for you to meet classmates who share your same likes and interests.

Live Graduation Ceremony

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At the end of the road when you finally get your diploma, you can celebrate with iSucceed! We host a couple graduation ceremonies so that you can attend one close to you and revel in the success of your fellow classmates.

  • How do you connect with your iSucceed classmates? Share with us in the comments below!

Online High School Diploma vs. the GED

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At iSucceed Virtual High School, we know that getting a diploma takes a lot of hard work, but we want to assure you it’s worth it! The US Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a report that shows some major differences between people who hold a high school diploma versus people who have a GED. Here’s five reasons why that free online diploma really does matter.

1. You Will Make More Money

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who have a high school diploma earn on average $179 more per week than those with a GED. That’s about $9,300 dollars more a year you could earn just by getting that diploma!

2. You Will Find a Job More Easily

Despite what many people think, GED actually stands for general education development and not general equivalency diploma. A GED does not hold the same value as a high school diploma, and unfortunately a stigma follows those who have GEDs to be someone who can’t accomplish hard things. According to the Bureau, people who have a GED have a 11% unemployment rate whereas people with a high school diploma are only at 7.5%.

3. You’re More Likely to Stay in College

If you are thinking of attending college, you definitely want to make sure you get that diploma. For one reason, it will be much easier to get into college with a diploma versus holding a GED. For another, reports show that 77%  percent of people with a GED drop out of college after the first semester versus only 24% of those with a high school diploma.

4. An Online Diploma With iSucceed is Free!

At iSuceed, you can get your high school diploma online for free! An average GED test costs over $120 and it holds less value, so why not get your education from iSucceed for free?

5. You Miss Out on the High School Experience

At your traditional school, you may be thinking you don’t like the high school experience. But at iSucceed, we have student clubs, prom, a live graduation ceremony and several school events for you to enjoy free food and connect with classmates in an inviting, fun way. Plus, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram where we hold contests for you to win free prizes like movie tickets and more, making our high school experience something you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on!


Our first set of courses starts August 24, so be sure to enroll by August 21. But remember, we hold quarter schedules so that you can enroll year round!

Come enjoy a 100% online, tuition-free, fully-accredited education that is fit to your schedule through iSucceed! To start your application, click here.

  • Do you have questions about getting an online diploma with iSucceed? Share with us in the comments below; we’re happy to help!

 

Meet Katie Allison: Your New Principal!

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Over the summer, iSucceed Virtual High School got a new principal! For many of you here at iSucceed, it’s someone you’ve come to know and love, so we thought we’d let you learn a little more about the life of iSucceed’s new principal.

Mrs. Katie Allison, head of school

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Mrs. Allison has been with iSucceed since its opening in 2008, and since has helped many students excel in their learning. When she is not teaching, Mrs. Allison enjoys spending time with her family and—like a true Idohoan—loves being outdoors. In the picture below, you can see Mrs. Allison conquering the famous Sawtooth Wilderness hike.

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Although she has served many roles since receiving her education in 1997, Mrs. Allison told us she is particularly excited for her new role at iSucceed.

“Through the years, I’ve seen several sets of students go through all four years with us, and I’ve been inspired by their motivation and tenacity,” said Mrs. Allison. “I’ve also come to know the iSucceed teachers and staff and they are some of the finest I’ve ever worked with. In fact, when I was asked to become head of school for iSucceed, my main reasons for accepting included the students and the people I would be working with.”

As the new principal, Mrs. Allison said she has some great plans to continue engagement in student’s learning, including online lab time for students to get more one-on-one time with teachers for more personal support, and implementing a 24 hour response turnaround on school days so that you will be able to communicate with your teachers even more than before.

When it comes to advice, Mrs. Allison wants to tell you students an important thing for acheiving success at iSucceed: Never be afraid to reach out to your teachers.

“If students are willing to communicate with their teachers…they will find that our teachers often go the extra mile to help them, and are there for them when they want to learn. Our teachers even added extra online lab hours to reach out to you; they are that dedicated!”
–Katie Allison, head of school

  • Do you have a great experience with Mrs. Allison you’d like to tell us? Share your story in the comments below!

The History of Fireworks in America

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Every Fourth of July, we celebrate America’s freedom with a grand display of fireworks. But do you know the reason why we light up the sky every Independence Day? You may be on summer break, but learning never stops! Here’s the history of fireworks in America.

There’s a famous song in America that goes something like “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” Recognize it? Of course you do, but what you may not know is that the phrase comes from the Battle of Fort Mchenry (also known as the Battle of Baltimore) where our traditional celebration with fireworks came to be.

In the fall of 1814, the War of 1812 was still at large. An attorney known as Francis Scott Key boarded a British ship attempting to negotiate the release of an American prisoner of war. During that time, Key discovered Britain’s plan to attack Fort Mchenry and was thus promptly held detained by the British so that he could not foil their plans.

That night, Key was the major witness of a large battle. As he watched the night sky light up, he could see the American flag in the distance. That symbol not only encouraged him to hold on to hope, but inspired him to write a poem that we now know as the “Star Spangled Banner.”

As a tribute to Francis Scott Key, America now celebrates Independence Day every Fourth of July by lighting the sky with fireworks.

Although Key is our greatest attribution to the fireworks show, the idea of fireworks started all the way back on July 4, 1776 when our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring America to be its own country independent from Britain. Thereafter, John Adams stated that this day should be long remembered and celebrated with parades, games and “illuminations,” otherwise known as fireworks.

As you celebrate America’s freedom this weekend, we hope you remember the brave men like Francis Scott Key and John Adams who worked to shape our country to what we enjoy today. Don’t forget, we will be celebrating at Ceour D’alene’s Fourth of July Festival. Come stop by our booth and say hello, and get a free pair of iSucceed sunglasses from us! We hope you have a great Independence Day!

  • How are you celebrating this Fourth of July? Share with us in the comments below!

Four Myths About Online School—Busted!

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When you first heard about attending an online high school, you may have been a little hesitant. In fact, you probably had so many questions that you felt like it was just too much to handle. Well, you’re not alone. That’s why we took the top four online high school myths, and busted them, in this blog post!

Myth #1- Colleges won’t accept diplomas from online high schools

This is a big one. A lot of people worry that because they attended an online high school, the diploma they earn is somehow not worth as much as the one from a brick-and-mortar school. Not true. As long as the online school is accredited from the proper board such as the North Central Association Commission (NCA, the accreditation unit of AdvancED)—where iSucceed Virtual High School received its accreditation—you will get all the credit needed.

Myth #2- Online high schools are as expensive as private schools.

We can easily bust this one! iSucceed Virtual High School is completely tuition free. State-sponsored charter schools give online students the opportunity to get a quality education for free and get ahead. Some online schools do charge and that’s why we recommend you do your research and find out what the best fit is for you. At iSucceed, we are always enrolling. Apply online here!

Myth #3- Distance learning students don’t get enough socialization.

This is another myth that may worry some parents and students. Being in an online environment could seem isolating at times and even thought to have a negative impact on the students because they’re not socializing or making friends at school. At iSucceed, we have a variety of activities for students to attend so they can get to know their peers and be social. Because we have an online environment, we also provide the opportunity to interact with other students and teachers through our Parent Student Portal (PSP) where we house message boards, provide email communication and more. We value student and staff interactions and encourage the Primavera community to stay connected online, as well as offline.

Myth #4- Online Instructors can’t provide personal attention to students.

This one is an ongoing myth we are proud to say we can bust! Because online teachers don’t physically teach in a classroom, a lot of people think they can’t provide one-on-one support for students in the online environment. But in reality, the opposite is actually true. At iSucceed, our teachers hold “live” online sessions and communicate individually with students via phone calls, emails, tutoring sessions and in our PSP. Oftentimes, our students find that they communicate much more with their teachers here than they ever did in a traditional setting.

  • So, we’ve busted these four myths but know there are a lot more out there. Leave us a comment and share with us an online high school myth you’ve busted or feel free to ask us a question. We’re happy to help!

 

 

 

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