Thursday, July 30, 2015

Union County TN opts not to enroll new students in TNVA this year

Last year at this time, Union County fought with the State of Tennessee and won in order to allow 626 new students enter Tennessee Virtual Academy (TNVA) for the 2014-2015 academic year. 

This year, after a court ruled TNVA could remain open for another year, Union County opted to go in a different direction and only allow returning students to be a part of TNVA this year. That means no new enrollments in the virtual school, even if current students leave.

Being a proponent of virtual schooling (though no fan of the current models in action) I have mixed feelings about this move. However, based on the past struggles of TNVA and their newly-released TCAP scores for 2015, I do believe it to be the right one for this year.

For TNVA to avoid a shutdown next summer there is much work to be done. K12, the company behind TNVA, likes to tout that students who stay with them longer perform better on state tests. This year should allow them to prove it (or not). 

There's no more excuses available for them. Union County took a good first step. Now, it's time for results.

Friday, July 17, 2015

When virtual school families experience buyer's remorse

Many virtual schools utilize email nurturing campaigns, or behavioral campaigns, to help move new leads toward purchases (or enrollments when it comes to virtual schools). The level of sophistication associated with these campaigns is astounding. Thousands, even millions, of dollars are spent on these campaign efforts to increase conversion rates for new students.

And when the new leads convert?  -- the sound of silence occurs. It could be weeks or even months before families hear from the schools. And when they do it is typically school-related information provided to families in a cold, dry manner - meant to inform not to inspire.

Retention rates at virtual schools are astoundingly low heading into the academic year because so many of these schools forget there are two "buying" seasons. First, the new family goes through the initial decision process -- to enroll or not to enroll? Once they do commit, the new family then undertakes an entirely different route centered on the concept of remorse, specifically buyer's remorse.

Virtual schools that understand this, and truly care about their new families, will not only conduct a nurturing campaign to convert to enrollment, but they will also conduct one that helps families overcome their remorse in "buying" the virtual school. And remember, with virtual schools being free (tuition-free) it is much easier for families to step away from their recent decision.

The first step in developing a buyer's remorse nurturing campaign is to understand the key fears families go through when experiencing this remorse.

Do you know them? If not, don't start your nurturing campaign just yet or else it will be a waste of time and money.

Monday, July 13, 2015

If at first you don't succeed . . .

We all know the saying so say it with me: If at first you don't succeed, try try again.

But is it worth remembering? Is it good advice? Or could a slight adjustment radically alter our thinking on it?

If at first you don't succeed, learn from your mistake, make the necessary adjustments, then try try again. Repeat.

Friday, July 10, 2015

I failed.

But that does not mean I am a failure.

If we can keep those two concepts separate then we have the potential to keep moving forward, learn from our experience, and achieve greater heights than we ever imagined.

Remember, it's the little voices inside our own head that matter most.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The real Gettysburg Address

One man spoke for over two hours and few can recall his 13,607-word oration.

Another man spoke for around two minutes and changed the world.

Poor Edward Everett. He was invited to be the featured speaker to those gathered on the former battlefield in Pennsylvania that 1863-November.

After the Marine Band played "Old Hundred" Everett rose to speak. For 120 minutes he eloquently compared the Battle of Gettysburg to battles of antiquity such as Marathon. He even spoke of how opposing sides in civil wars long past were able to reconcile their differences after the wars had ended. He then took his seat again overlooking the crowd. He had delivered what the thought was the Gettysburg address.

Moments later he watched as the President rose and history unfolded in a span of 120 seconds.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Some fascinating facts about the Declaration of Independence

Unanimous approval of independence from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776 (except for New York - see below)

The text of the Declaration was ratified on July 4, 1776

The term "Declaration of Independence" is not actually found in our Declaration of Independence

The thirteen colonies and Great Britain had been at war for over a year already by the time the Declaration was adopted

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution to Congress calling for independence from Great Britain, it was seconded by John Adams

On June 11, 1776 Congress appointed a Committee of Five (John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson) to draft the document that came to be known as the Declaration

The Committee returned a draft copy to Congress on June 28, 1776

On July 1, a vote was taken by the delegates of the thirteen colonies (though each colony had 2-7 delegates, they debated among themselves to determine the overall vote that represented their colony)

The first round of voting for declaring independence went as follows:

New York: abstained
Delaware: no vote because its two delegates were split on their votes
South Carolina: voted No
Pennsylvania: voted No

The remaining 9 colonies voted Yes to declaring independence.

On July 2 South Carolina reversed its vote. Delegates John Dickinson and Robert Morris abstained allowing the remaining Pennsylvania delegates to vote three-to-two in favor of independence

The arrival of Caesar Rodney as a new delegate for Delaware tipped the scale in favor of independence

New York had to abstain again and were not granted permission to vote for independence until almost a week later

John Adams always believed the date of the vote (July 2) for independence would be commemorated not the day it was announced (July 4)

So, in essence, by the time we celebrate Independence Day on July 4, we have already declared it (July 2)