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It happens every day. There’s the ever-piling list of things to do.
You can continue to sleep in, but it won’t disappear. And while we know you don’t want to hear it, every decision you’re making now impacts your future. Better grades mean more opportunities after high school.
We know completing homework can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a few easy changes you can implement now to start seeing improvements today. Check out the tips below.
Studies show that cardio-based exercises boost your memory and thinking skills. Cardio based means doing something that accelerates your heart rate. This can include jogging, riding a bike, playing a sport or anything you like to do that’s fast-paced.
If you exercise right before starting schoolwork, it will get your blood flowing. This will help your brain become more active and ready to focus on homework.
With the benefit of flexibility in online schooling comes the need for discipline. As Donald Mitchell, assistant principal in an online high school, stated:
“To be successful in your courses…create a daily schedule for yourself. Remember, you are required to spend at least three hours on each course that you are assigned on a daily basis.”
In other words, it can be easy to fall behind. But it’s also easy to stay on track if you stick to a schedule.
“If you are a night person, then be a night person. If you know you only like to work online for 30 minutes at a time, then plan breaks between your 30 minutes.” – Mrs. Lauree Russell, online math instructor.
When planning, try to do schoolwork about the same time every day, in a familiar location. It will do wonders for your brain! It won’t take long before your brain automatically recognizes that it’s homework time. Then you won’t have to take as long to get started.
If you have to stop what you’re doing to go grab a snack or a notebook, you’re going to get distracted. Ms. Sarah Gamble, executive director of academics for an online high school, suggests you do the following:
“Have all the materials you need to work ready to go before you start each day,” said Ms. Gamble. “Keep a list of your teacher’s and guidance counselor’s phone numbers, note taking materials, your daily schedule, a glass of water and you are ready to go. This will keep you from getting distracted when you have to leave your work to go find something.”
We’re not saying you have to go to the store right now and drop hundreds on a desk, chair and supplies. Your workspace doesn’t have to be traditional. But it does need to be a set place in order to better focus on homework.
Maybe that place is an office in your home. Or perhaps you have a fuzzy bean bag in your room that you love. Whatever you choose, make it a habit, and make sure you’re comfortable to work. After all, that bean bag might be comfy to relax in, but might not be best once you have a laptop and notebook to juggle.
“Make sure your chair is comfy, your computer screen is at eye level and your favorite items are next to your computer,” said Mrs. Russell. This can be items like photos, music, lotion, candles or a favorite soda.
Online high school instructor Amber Day also suggests that you separate your workspace and your sleep space.
“If you do homework in your bed where you sleep, it’s likely going to make you want to take a nap rather than do math homework,” said Ms. Day. “Go somewhere you know you won’t get distracted (or leave) until you finish homework. Make that your routine and doing homework there will become as natural as taking a nap in your bed is.”
For more tips on organizing your workspace, head to this blog post.
A distraction is anything that deters you from working on courses. This can range from music to your loud little brother.
Let’s take a moment to talk about those smartphones. They’re more detrimental to your homework than you might think.
A study showed that having your phone on silent isn’t enough. Small disturbances like a screen notification could increase errors in your work. It also could prolong the time it takes to complete assignments. Here’s why:
As a researcher from the study stated, “Although these notifications are generally short in duration, they can prompt… mind-wandering, which has been shown to damage task performance” (PsychCentral).
Even just being aware of a missed call, an unread text or another notification causes your brain to lose focus on homework. It knows there is something else to do, and it wants to get it finished now.
We recommend setting all smart devices (phone, tablet, etc) in another room. If you are able to forget about it, you will likely finish your homework quicker and make fewer mistakes.
“Turn off your phone, video games, and yes, even your annoying little brother,” said Mrs. Russell. “You might need to consider moving your laptop in a private space or a closet if necessary (smile).”
It’s also best to ask your friends and family not to disturb you during homework.
“Talk to your friends and family about how they can support you,” said Mrs. Benjamin-Baker. “If you work on schoolwork from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. each day, tell your friends not to text or call during this time.”
Studies show that physically writing on a notebook improves your memory. So if you want to do better on homework and exams, try writing down notes.
“Although we use computers for everything, you are more apt to remember something if you write it down. Write words, draw pictures, use color! Anything you do that will allow you to touch what you are learning will help!”
– Sarah Gamble, executive director of academics.
The beauty of online school is that you can take breaks whenever you need. Do you have a hard time staying focused for long periods of time? Then break it up. Try studying for 30 minutes at a time. Remove all distractions and set a timer.
Once the 30 minutes is up, take a 15-minute break, but do something active! Get up and move around, go for a run. Just do something that isn’t sitting.
After 15 minutes, you can return ready to focus on homework. See if you can increase to 45 minutes before taking your next 15-minute break.
So, now you know what to do in order to clear your mind and stay focused on your homework. But actually starting is the hardest part, right? If you’re needing motivation, try these tips.
If you know you have six assignments to complete in a day, then set aside a small reward for each.
“Know your weaknesses and turn them into rewards,” said Mrs. Benjamin-Baker. “If you like to surf YouTube videos or SnapChat with friends, then reward yourself with these activities AFTER you complete your schoolwork, but not until then.”
As Mrs. Russell said:
“Take a short break and turn on your favorite YouTube music video and have a dance fest. Getting your blood circulating will help your brain and spirit. Nothin’ like rockin’ out to your fave music!
Now this is the way to do homework, right??!!!”
By breaking up coursework with small, fun tasks, your brain will have more positive associations. This might help you dread starting less.
Your guidance counselor’s job is to help you with your academic struggles. If you are having trouble starting coursework, reach out to your counselor for help. They are state-certified and dedicated to you.
To learn more about iSucceed’s guidance counselor, head to this blog post.
Coursework is never easy, we know. But by following the tips above, it can become less stressful, and you will (hopefully) be able to focus.
We’ll leave you with one last quote:
“I am here to tell you that you have the power to be as successful as you want to be. Never let others dictate who you are destined to become!” – Donald Mitchel, assistant principal
Behind every graduate is a number of dedicated teachers. We’re grateful to our iSucceed instructors, and that’s why we take a moment to shine the light on them in this Teacher Spotlight blog series.
This month, we are excited to spotlight Mrs. Holly Mortimer, an English instructor who is well liked by our students. Learn more about her with these fun questions below.
1. How many years have you been a teacher?
I taught for 13 years in brick and mortar classrooms, and have been at iSucceed since it opened in 2008.
2. What are some of your hobbies?
Trail running, skiing, reading, cooking, architecture and home design.
3. Why do you enjoy teaching iSucceed students?
I am impressed by so many of my students who have made the proactive decision to seek out a high school situation that works for them, whether it be because of personal or medical challenges, or outside interests that they are pursuing. I am amazed at how so many of our students juggle multiple commitments–work, family, children, health conditions, education—with grace and discipline. I am proud to be a part of that.
4. What are some benefits you see in online education?
Online education isn’t for everyone at all times, but all of us will have times in our lives when it works for us. Traditional high school works great for some students; online education is there for the rest of us.
5. Have you had a moment when you felt you made an impact on a student’s life at iSucceed?
I had a student who was so committed to his English coursework. He took every opportunity to ask for clarification and input, and he revised all of his projects multiple times. He did this while working full time at a meat packing plant on the night shift
When his mom became ill in Mexico, he had to leave the U.S. to visit her and was concerned that he wouldn’t have enough time to maintain his high grades in his courses. Because our system is flexible, I was able to assure him that he could get caught up when he returned two weeks later. Despite my reassurance, he still walked every other day to an internet cafe to log in and complete some coursework.
When he returned, he sent me a beautiful pottery piece he had brought back; more importantly, he caught right up and earned an A in my senior English course. I was so proud to be part of his success. I know without iSucceed, he would not have been able to graduate from high school.
6. Share with us a piece of advice for your iSucceed students:
Log in every day and read your messages and announcements. Don’t break the chain of doing that one thing every day at around the same time. Once you are in, it’s easier to get some work done; getting started is the hardest part.
There’s no doubt, being President of the United States is one of the hardest jobs ever. And While we commend our fearless leaders for their outstanding service, there are some strange and funny facts we bet you didn’t know.
We found hundreds of them, but since President’s Day falls on February 20 this year, we picked out 20 weird facts you can use to impress your friends.
While you’re at it, enjoy some curriculum from our American History courses featured in the Bio Card graphics below. It brings the past alive for iSucceed students as they learn about the more serious side of our nation’s history.
Our first president gave the shortest inauguration speech. It was only 133 words and lasted less than two minutes! He also didn’t have enough money to get to his inauguration and had to borrow money from a neighbor.
Presidents Adams and Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, 1826, which happened to be the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe (1817-1825) was the last surviving founding father and he died exactly five years later on July 4, 1831.
The capital of Liberia, Monrovia, was named after President James Monroe.
Rumor has it that President Jackson taught his pet parrot how to curse. At his funeral, the bird had to be taken away because it kept swearing!
To help end the movement, this president bought slaves in Washington D.C. and set them free in Pennsylvania.
“Honest Abe” was an amazing wrestler. He competed in about 300 matches, and only lost one of them. He was also the tallest president at 6’4”. Learn more about him in this video.
Get ready for this odd fact: President Garfield was ambidextrous, meaning he could write with both hands. He could even write in Greek with one hand and Latin with the other… at the same time.
Good ol’ Teddy was shot in the chest while giving a speech. This didn’t stop him from finishing his talk, which lasted an hour and a half!
“Silent Cal” liked to press all the buttons on his desk and then hide while his assistants were running in. He would then jump out and say he was just checking to make sure everyone was working.
and his wife lived in China before he became elected president. When they wanted to have a private conversation in the White House, they would speak Mandarin.
Also known as FDR, this president married his cousin, Eleanor Roosevelt. The bride was given away by her uncle (and FDR’s other cousin), former president Theodore Roosevelt. FDR was also distantly related to other presidents including Washington, both Adams, Madison, Van Buren, both Harrisons, Taylor, Grant and Taft.
General Eisenhower served in both World War I and World War II.
Two people tried to assassinate Ford in less than a three-week span; they were both females!
15. Ronald Regan (1981-1989) would talk with an astrologer before making major decisions or planning events.
16. William J. Clinton (1993-2001) won two Grammy awards for Best Spoken Word Albums.
17. George W. Bush (2001-2009) was the head cheerleader at his high school.
18. Barack Obama (2009-2017) wanted to be featured in a pin-up calendar in his Harvard days, but unfortunately, the ladies in charge didn’t choose him.
Four presidents’ faces grace Mount Rushmore in South Dakota: George Washington (1789-1797), Thomas Jefferson (1801-1817), Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) and Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909). The monument was created to increase tourism in the region. The sculptures are 60 feet high, the equivalent of a five-story building! Read the whole story here.
Ever seen a $500, $1000 or $5000 bill? If so, you may have noticed the faces of William McKinley (1897-1901), Grover Cleveland (1885-1889 and 1893-1897) and James Madison (1809-1817) gracing these bills. Forget the Ben Franklins, and show us the James Madisons, please!
A common question we hear is: “What’s different about online high school?” In a nutshell, the main answer is: the daily routine. Here is how the routine differs for an online high school student.
Traditional students need to wake up early, catch the bus, walk or hope mom or dad will give or dad them a ride to school.
An online high school student wakes up, gets ready for the day and log in to start their coursework. There’s also no dress code required, which can be a plus.
A traditional student attends school from about 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., listening to teacher lectures and working on assignments. Any assignments not completed in the allotted timeframe becomes homework.
Online school is not easier, and takes the same 30 hours per week to complete. The difference is online students are not tied to a physical classroom or a set schedule. This amount of freedom requires a lot of discipline, as it can be easy to fall behind on coursework. But discipline is an invaluable skill needed in college and careers, so why not start early?
All material—assignments, quizzes, exams and projects—are completed online. Students should complete at least one lesson per class every weekday.
Courses include teacher-led lessons, graphic-novel stories, instructional videos and educational games.
Check out this blog post to learn more about iSucceed’s curriculum.
That’s the benefit of online school. You are not constrained to cafeteria food; you can eat whatever you choose. If it’s the yummy pizza pictured above or a nice bowl of cereal from home, that’s completely up to you!
Teachers hold the same qualifications in both traditional and online school. Online instructors are not less accessible, communication is simply different.Students can receive support through email, instant messaging, a phone call or live online tutoring.
Learn more about iSucceed’s personalized communication model here.
Because there is not a physical classroom, online students connect with classmates differently. Interaction happens through the following channels:
There are school events (including prom!) and a graduation ceremony, which you can learn more about here.
Today is National Inventor’s Day, which falls on the birthday of America’s most prolific inventor, the late Thomas Edison. While he is America’s most famous historical inventor who held more than 1,000 patents, there are modern-day inventors who continue to transform our world with amazing solutions for our biggest problems. In fact, some of our most brilliant inventions come from teenagers! Check them out…
Remember, you are never too young to start making a difference in the world. This Inventor’s Day, we hope you gather some inspiration to try and invent something yourself!
If we had to guess, it’s your absolute dream to become the greatest cupcake decorator the world has ever seen.
OK, maybe not, but how does meeting new friends, eating desserts and possibly wining an Amazon gift card sound?
Come to the iSucceed Office on Thursday, February 23 from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. and participate in our Cupcake Wars! Meet fellow classmates, make friends and eat delicious, beautifully decorated cupcakes. Three students will even walk away with a $10 gift card! Here are the full details:
February 23, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Study Labs at the iSucceed building in Boise (6148 N. Discovery Way Suite 120
Boise, ID 83713)
We will provide the cupcakes, you only need bring yourself (and a friend, if you’d like)! Each student will be given a cupcake with frosting and other random toppings, then provided a theme. Students will then have 20 minutes to decorate their cupcake according to the assigned theme. There will be three rounds total, and students can participate in each round.
Cupcakes will be judged by our “Cupcake Experts” (iSucceed staff), and the winner from each round will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.
If you’re not exactly “artistic,” we hope to see you there anyway! Students can come enjoy free snacks like chips, popcorn and sodas, sit back and enjoy watching the ‘war.’ Plus, your counselor and principal will be onsite for you to meet your teachers, or get help in your coursework.
We encourage all students attending the event to come early to work on coursework. Staff will be onsite and available for homework help, so we hope you take advantage of this great opportunity.
An RSVP is required for all attendees. Students can bring one non-iSucceed student as a guest. To RSVP, email email@example.com.
Behind every graduated high school student is a number of dedicated teachers and counselors.
February 6–10 is National School Counselor Week. To celebrate, we want to spotlight iSucceed’s Guidance Counselor, Crystal Sistoni. Learn more about her below.
Ms. Sistoni is an outdoors enthusiast who has been a resident of Idaho for over 20 years, and a teacher at iSucceed for about three years. Some of her hobbies include camping, fishing, backpacking, rafting and being with friends and family.
“I have lived in the Boise area for the last 20 years and fall in love with this city more and more each day,” said Ms. Sistoni. “I am so fortunate to live in an area where I can do so many of my favorite things.”
Ms. Sistoni said that she became a counselor to fulfill her greatest passion—to help others succeed.
“I became a school counselor to help Idaho’s youth through this huge step in their lives,” said Ms. Sistoni. “I have had many of the same struggles that my students have and if I was able to get through this, I want to help others succeed, so they can move on to bigger and better things this life has to offer.”
As the main guidance counselor for iSucceed, Ms. Sistoni connects with each student personally to promote their academic, social and personal development. Her favorite part about counseling iSucceed students is that she gets to work with unique individuals.
“I like that we have different ways of communication [at iSucceed],” said Ms. Sistoni. “Most people think I can’t develop a relationship with students online, but I have developed some of the best relationships this way. I commend these students for going to school despite challenges that they might deal with on a daily basis. I work with students on all areas of the spectrum, so that makes every day different. Each one of my students is unique and special and I love getting the opportunity to learn about them.”
One of the most rewarding things about being a counselor to Ms. Sistoni is those moments when she empowers students graduate who otherwise may not have finished high school, as she recalls in this story:
“There was a student who was scheduled to graduate this year who was focusing too much on what was going wrong with in life and not focusing on school,” said Ms. Sistoni. “We were able to discuss this student’s concerns and issues and with time and a solid plan, this student ended up graduating. It’s impacting students on this level, the level that will help them move forward in life that I value and cherish the most. The caveat with this student was this was their last shot at graduation because they were going to age out of the public school system, so this was definitely a highlight for this student and myself.”
The real question is, what can’t Ms. Sistoni do? At iSucceed, our counselor works with students individually to map out graduation plans, provide support for academic and personal needs, and help prepare for life after high school, including applying for colleges, interview tips or obtaining financial aid. Whenever students have a need, they can always turn to Ms. Sistoni for help.
We often hear this question, and we’re proud to say you are likely to receive more personalized support here at iSucceed than at your traditional school. You can learn more about it in this blog.
Because we have one devoted counselor, getting help is simple at iSucceed! Ms. Sistoni’s contact info is accessible straight from the Parent Student Portal (PSP) homepage, the main page students and parents use to log into their classes. Ms. Sistoni and your teachers are all available via phone calls, emails and instant messaging, so that you can get quick responses to your questions.
This week, we hope you take some time to thank the school counselors who have helped you! Send them an email, or even give them a shoutout in the comments below! Either way, we hope you make them feel appreciated.
As the famous English author Terry Pratchett so eloquently stated, “a lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”
There is an ongoing myth that online schools do not provide students with any support. At iSucceed Virtual High School, this is far from the case.
In fact, we’ve developed a proven working model that allows for more individualized student-teacher interaction than a traditional school. While some think the lack of a physical classroom creates a barrier, we believe it actually creates a pathway for better communication. Read below to learn about iSucceed’s student-instructor interaction model and how it can support you.
If you had one hour to help 30 people, who would you go to first? Likely the ones who grab your attention first and ask for help. That’s the barrier a traditional classroom can create. With such large class sizes, students must be vocal in order to receive any sort of help. Those who aren’t oftentimes fall through the cracks.
At iSucceed, teachers take care of each student individually. There are real-time online lectures similar to that of the traditional classroom, but that’s merely one point of contact–not the main form of interaction. Here are the different ways students can contact teachers at iSucceed.
iSucceed instructors have a direct line, which students can easily find in the home page of the Parent Student Portal (PSP).
Also found within the PSP is an instant chat messenger. Students can see which teachers are online and contact them right away with a quick question.
For a smaller, less urgent question, teachers also have emails that they check regularly to respond to students within a 48-hour period.
Students needing more personalized support can arrange a real-time online appointment with their teachers to get extra help on homework.
Those students who live near the Chandler office are welcome to schedule an appointment with their instructor for in-person support.
The five points of contact listed above are all easily accessible to students. In many ways, this model is better for the students who are not as outspoken. Raising a hand can be intimidating, especially when coupled with the fear of asking a “stupid” question. Having quick access to teacher support in many ways helps provides more personalized attention. Take it from a few of iSucceed’s parents and students:
“Having taught in traditional classrooms for over twenty years, I have to admit I was very reluctant about switching my son from a traditional school to iSucceed. But, after seeing the programs and the dedication of the staff to the success of the student, I am amazed. Every couple of weeks he, or I, is contacted by a counselor from iSucceed to check our progress. The counselors and teachers have been knowledgeable, helpful and are truly interested in the progress and success of my child!” – Heather Bergeson, parent
“Having taught in traditional classrooms for over twenty years, I have to admit I was very reluctant ab”Mr. Rollins [at iSucceed] was the first teacher I was able to ask a question. After he was so helpful and encouraging, I could ask another and then another. Thank you so much for helping me find my voice and the courage to be a leader!” – Nicole Griffith, iSucceed graduate, student at Northwest Nazarene University
At iSucceed, we believe students deserve a choice in their education. That’s why we’ve worked since 2008 to provide a tuition-free, quality online education for 9–12th grade students throughout Idaho.
January 22–28 is National School Choice Week (NSCW). Founded in 2011, the goal is “to raise public awareness of all types of education options for children.” In the spirit of NSCW, we want you to know that you always have a choice, even midway through the school year. If you’re not enjoying where you currently attend, consider choosing iSucceed Virtual High School.
We often hear this question, and in most cases the answer is “yes!” iSucceed works to provide a tailored education, which makes it the preferred choice for many people.
iSucceed can be a great option for students who are:
iSucceed is an accredited public charter school, which means it is tuition free and offers the same diploma as any traditional high school in iSucceed. Our curriculum is award-winning, engaging and split into three courses every nine weeks for reduced stress and better focus.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
We know transferring in the middle of the year sounds like a daunting undertaking, but it is more doable than you think! For tips to easing the transition to online school midyear, check out this blog post.
At iSucceed Virtual High School, we have dedicated students who work hard to get their diplomas. That’s why we decided to start a Student Spotlight series, so we can shine the light on a few of our awesome students.
This month, we bring the story of a student who just finished her last quarter with iSucceed! Although she had a feel stumbling blocks, she got back on track and earned her diploma early. Check out her inspiring story below.
“I absolutely love to talk to people,” said Sarah. “I enjoy having deep, thought-provoking conversations and also finding the time to have fun together.”
Another great thing about Sarah is her confidence in herself; she embraces being unique.
“I have a quirky, outgoing personality, and am often known for being smart. Although if you really get to know me, you’ll find out that I’m quite… different from other people. But I feel that it is a good thing to be different, and I want to share that with the world,” said Sarah.
At one point in her high school career, Sarah faced some challenges that set her back on graduating. But she decided she wanted to obtain her diploma, so she came back to iSucceed and worked hard.
“My goals [when I enrolled in iSucceed] were to get as good of grades as possible and to graduate early” said Sarah.
And despite coming to iSucceed behind on credits, Sarah did accomplish her goal and graduated a semester early with good grades.
“I feel proud because I managed to graduate a semester early, and I even finished that semester a few weeks early. On top of it, I even managed to get straight A’s,” said Sarah. “I don’t claim to be perfect, but I always try to work with what I have and move on in life.”
In her last quarter at iSucceed, Sarah was also diligently working toward earning her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license. Now that she’s graduated, she plans to finish CNA schooling and work in an assisted living home. Although, Sarah tells us that getting her CNA license is simply a first step to help her get funding to go to college for something she is passionate about.
“Nursing isn’t my passion, and I don’t know if I will further my education in it, but it is a good start to living on my own,” said Sarah. “Even though it probably won’t be my career path, I am still determined to do my best and make the residents’ lives better. After I’ve gotten myself established, I’m contemplating starting a career in the arts.”
When it comes to advice for other iSucceed students, Sarah has a few great tips:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! No matter how stupid the question, it doesn’t matter what others think, what matters is that you learn more and satisfy your curiosity.
2. Don’t be afraid to share other things with your teachers too, whether it’s something you read that you think they may be interested in or lesson material that you find inspiring.
3. Put forth your best effort! I know it may be tempting to put minimal thought into responses on things such as discussions and projects, but nothing worth doing is easy. It reflects well on you to try hard, and you just may learn something interesting too.
4. Have a great life! Make a difference in the world, don’t just be a bystander, and don’t fall victim to violence and peer pressure.