Letter to the Editor by CCCF Director Tillie Elvrum - Colorado Springs Gazette

Importance of online schools

Online schools, also called virtual or cyber schools, have been a topic of heated debate recently in the world of education. In response to The Associated Press article that Colorado Politics ran, policymakers should know that online schooling offers parents and children a valuable and effective choice in education. The benefits are not hard to see.

Cyberschools give families something traditional schools can't offer, flexibility. The opportunity to take classes on your own time allows children to pursue interests that would not be possible during normal school hours. It allows parents to be actively involved in their child's education on a daily basis. Virtual schooling also offers children who may be severely ill, face bullying, or have traveling parents, the ability to learn and keep up with their peers. Our military families especially benefit from online schooling, allowing their children to maintain a consistent school when stations change every few years.

Parents know best what schools and styles of education fit their children and should be considered stakeholders when policy decisions are being made. Everybody wins when parents and students are allowed to pursue the education best suited for them. That's why more students keep choosing online schools each year.

Tillie Elvrum

Colorado Springs

2016 Day at the Capitol Press Release

OVER 650 PARENTS, STUDENTS, AND EDUCATORS RALLY AT THE COLORADO STATE CAPITOL TO ADVOCATE FOR CYBERSCHOOLS AND ONLINE LEARNING

DENVER, February 16, 2017 – Over 650 parents, students, and educators from the Colorado Coalition for Cyberschool Families (CCCF) took the Colorado State Capitol by storm to show support for cyberschools and online learning in Colorado. Cyberschools, which educated over 16,000 Colorado students last year, and other public schools of choice are threatened across the country.

“From budget cuts to different accountability standards for different schools, parental choice is under attack,” said Tillie Elvrum, national President of PublicSchoolOptions.org and board member of CCCF. “Behind every cyberschool student is a parent who has undoubtedly fought for their right to choose the school that best meets their student’s educational needs, which can vary greatly.”

Cyberschool students can be elite athletes who use cyberschools to gain an education while practicing many hours per day, or LGBTQ students who have experienced bullying in traditional classrooms, or students with weakened immune systems due to serious disease that cannot be exposed to germs in a typical school. Sometimes cyberschool students simply prefer to work at their own pace due to a learning disability or an emotional issue.

“Having a choice in schooling has provided our sons with opportunities they couldn’t pursue in a brick and mortar classroom,” said Danielle Williams, a cyberschool parent and board member of CCCF. “Our oldest, at 10, is already making plans to attend MIT. Our youngest, who has struggled with reading comprehension, now reads at an advanced level. We are so thankful for the ability to choose the best school options for our children.”

At the rally, CCCF also honored four legislators with Golden Apple Awards, which recognize legislators who have shown a commitment to school choice. This year’s honorees were State Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), State Senator Tim Neville (R-Littleton), State Representative Janet Buckner (D-Aurora), and State Representative Lang Sias (R-Arvada).

In addition to the rally held on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol, the cyberschool families also heard a legislative update, visited with their legislators, and offered demonstrations of cyberschool lessons. This was CCCF’s eighth annual Day at the Capitol.

About the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families

The Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families is a group of committed parents who have united to be powerful and vocal advocates for cyberschools and online learning in Colorado. The coalition believes that all children should have free and equal access to public online schools without restrictions. For additional information on CCCF, please visit www.coloradocyberfamilies.org.

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Letter to the Editor by CCCF Director Tillie Elvrum - CS Independent

Public education offers many different types of schools to cater to a range of students. Whether a charter or traditional school, each school shares a common goal — to give our children the best education possible by equipping students with tools to succeed (“Are all schools created equal?,” News, Jan. 25). Funding inequalities between traditional public schools and charter schools make this goal more difficult for charter schools to achieve.

The argument that charter schools do not deserve equal funding is unfounded. Charter schools are held accountable for reaching state and federal accountability standards. Charter schools’ curriculum must follow state standards, students are still required to take the same standardized tests, and students must meet the same attendance standards. In contrast, charter schools, do not receive funding for facilities and, on average, receive almost 30 percent less funding per pupil.

Charter schools offer parents another option for meeting their child’s individual needs. Unequal funding creates unfair inequalities in the public school system and may, ultimately, reduce choice.

— Tillie Elvrum, Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families, Colorado Springs

Day at the Capitol - What to expect

We are excited that over 800 students, their families, teachers and administrators will be joining us on Wednesday, February 4th for our annual Cyberschool Day at the Capitol! For printable version of the day's agenda click here.

The day will begin at the History Colorado Center, with doors opening at 9:00 a.m. We will begin preparing for our march to the West Steps of the Capitol at 11:30 a.m. After the rally, online demonstrations will be held in the North Foyer at 1:00 p.m. If you signed up for a Capitol Tour, starting at 1:00 p.m., please reference your individual tour times.


After checking in at the registration desk we invite you to join us on the 4th floor in the MDC/Richmond American Homes Foundation Terrace Room to mingle with other families, meet with your teachers and administrators and create posters and signs to carry during our march and rally. You are welcome to explore the museum at your own pace. This year the History Colorado Center has dedicated the day to our group. They will have museum educators stationed throughout the exhibits to provide information and answer any questions you may have.

We will begin a presentation at 10:30 a.m. in the Martin Family Foundation room. Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families board members and lobbyist will speak briefly on our organization, possible legislation we need to be aware of that will affect online education and advocacy. After which we will prepare for our march to the Capitol.

At the West Steps we will present this year's Golden Apple Awards to Rep. Kevin Priola, Rep. Paul Rosenthal, Sen. Chris Holbert and Sen. Michael Johnston. We will also hear from Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Paul Lundeen and Sen. Own Hill. And students will give their personal testimonies regarding their experiences with online education.

After the rally, lunch will be served at the West Steps. From there you are welcome to join the online demonstrations in the North Foyer, starting at 1:00 p.m, attend any Capitol Tours you may have registered for, and stop by the offices of your individual legislators to let them know why you are at the Capitol that day. For the online demonstrations, we will have several students assigned to be set up in the North Foyer with their computers demonstrating for legislators what a typical day in the life of an online student is like. We have called each individual Senator and Representative to invite them to stop by. You are welcome to do so as well, and visit with the legislators as they observe the demonstrations. The History Colorado Center is also allowing all attendees free access to the museum until close of business. 

For directions to the History Colorado Center click here.
For directions to the Colorado State Capitol click here.
For parking instructions for the History Colorado Center click here.

Capitol Tours:
If you are registered for one of the Capitol tours please arrive at the first floor north tour desk a few minutes prior to your tour time to check in. Note that there are several back to back tours and you may need to return to the tour desk for your next tour a little early.

 

CCCF op-ed

CCCF op-ed

Our public school system is in disarray and our children and their families are in distress.

At a national level, the implementation of Common Core has created rifts between state elected officials and the federal government. Common Core affects every aspect of education from what is being taught in the classroom to the funding schools receive.

Read More

Back to School Bowling 2014

On Friday, October 24th, we hosted our annual Back to School Bowling event. We are excited to announce that this was our largest bowling event to date, with over 300 attendees from 9 online schools! Several school Principals, teachers, and administrators also attended.

This year's event was held at four different locations across the state: Lone Tree, Pueblo, Wheat Ridge and Grand Junction. We were excited for the need to add the Grand Junction location this year! As our organization continues to grow we look forward to expanding our events to meet the needs of families and students across the state.

Our next event will be our Advocacy Workshop on January 28th, 2015.

Hike Day 2014

Photo courtesy of Sarabi's Pride Photography

Photo courtesy of Sarabi's Pride Photography

Thank you to all of the families who joined us on our annual Cyberschool Hike Day on September 13th! This year families met at four different hike locations around our state and enjoyed the great Colorado outdoors while reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

Not only is this annual event a great opportunity for the families and students in our community to get together but it also helps celebrate recreational safety awareness in Colorado, raising much needed funds for local search and rescue and paying tribute to a special child.

On October 2, 1999, Jaryd Atadero went missing in the Colorado wilderness while on a hike at the age of three. Despite a massive search and rescue effort, Jaryd was never found. As an important reminder of the need for recreational safety, the State of Colorado and Governor Hickenlooper proclaimed September 7 – 13, 2014 as Recreational Safety Awareness Week in Jaryd’s memory. Every year we honor Jaryd's memory and celebrate this weeklong event with CyberSchool Hike Day.

Every year our events grow as more families become involved with the cyberschool community. If you are a cyberschool veteran or this is your families first year attending a cyberschool, we invite you to join us at future events.

Annual Family Park Day

Thank you to all of the families, teachers and administrators who joined us at our annual Park Day on July 18th! We are excited to report that we had the biggest turnout of all time, with 130 people. We loved seeing all the familiar faces, and getting to know all of the new families starting school this Fall.

The Park Day was a great opportunity for our students and families to get together and spend time some of their teachers and administrators, and for new families and students to be introduced to our cyberschool community! We spent the morning playing games, socializing, and enjoying pizza for lunch.

Stay tuned for information on our upcoming events, and don’t miss the next opportunity to get together with our cybershool families!

Cyber School Day at the Capitol 2014

Every year our cyberschool families come together to let our state legislators know how important school choice and online education is to Colorado families and students.

On February 5th 2014, despite the freezing temperatures, hundreds of cyberschool families gathered at the Colorado History Center and marched to the west steps of the Capitol. We were honored to present golden apple awards to the following legislators for their continued support of school choice and online education: Speaker Mark Ferrandino, Representative Libby Szabo, Senator Lois Tochtrop and Senator Mark Scheffel;  and we had the privileged to hear Senator Michael Johnston, Senator Mark Scheffel, Senator Andy Kerr, and Representative Paul Rosenthal speak to our students, families, and teachers.

After our march to the Capitol we had the opportunity to demonstrate to our legislators what it is like for students to learn and study in an online environment. We are greatly appreciative of those who were able to attend the demonstration: Senator Andy Kerr, Representative Perry Buck, and Senator John Kefalas.