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Florida Virtual School Reviews

Updated October 5, 2018
274 reviews

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Jodi Marshall
18 Ratings

274 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • "There is no job security at all and hard work is not rewarded" (in 19 reviews)

  • "if you aren't disciplined, you won't get your things done within the allotted time frame, work-life balance can be thrown off if you aren't careful" (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility and student centered learning.

    Cons

    I have no cons for this job

    Advice to Management

    None


  2. Helpful (1)

    "FLVS LEADERS PLEASE READ AND CONSIDER THE "ADVICE TO MANAGEMENT":"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Instructor in Orlando, FL
    Current Employee - Instructor in Orlando, FL

    I have been working at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    You are able to help foster a future generation through technology education which will help enrich their future choices and career paths. You are able to teach each student individually to accommodate their needs. Pay and benefits are good to start if you are new to teaching. If you want in the door and you are in the College of Education, the only way you will get in is if you select FLVS for your Senior Internship (you have to consider that this is putting all of your eggs in one basket) because it is very difficult to get this job any other way unless you have a stellar career already. You have some flexibility with doctors appointments. You used to have to be available on the weekends too, but luckily that was changed a while back. I am hoping that this review will help management see there are still significant areas in need of improvement.

    Cons

    You can not ever relax between the 8-8 availability requirement, because you are always "on" for 12 hours. If you have someone you love, be prepared to not have quality dinner time with them whether it is your spouse and children, or anyone else. The only time you have during the week where you can relax is the weekends. In a Brick and Mortar setting, you can be home by 5 at the latest and not have to be in "Work Mode" until the next morning, allowing your brain to recharge so that you may be the best version of yourself for your students, ILs , and Colleagues. You can get used to it, but it will effect you physically and mentally. It will effect your family.

    Practically ancient form of technology that is used, from my understanding it has been at least a decade if not longer without an upgrade. Florida Districts and other competing Virtual Schools who have even less money than FLVS have still found a way to provide technology for teachers that doesn't tack on hours (really, days) worth of waiting, troubleshooting, take 6 steps to do a task that should take 1 step, etc.

    See "Advice to Management" below for more details.

    Advice to Management

    Please take the time to review how working at FLVS could be more efficient, allowing a better culture for teachers and more satisfied customers. This solution I am going to provide would decrease the workload by approximately 33 hours in a month. This time could be spent more efficiently to enhance the learning experience for every student.

    As you may know, teachers are required to collect and send student progress data to parents monthly. Even though parents have direct access to their student's progress on their parent account, teachers are required to "chase" down parents to receive any response from the parent (no response or late response counts against teachers- it is a heavy weight on teacher's shoulders). Each parent receives a student progress message created and distributed by their teacher monthly. Teachers are required to do this by the parent's choice: phone calls (you end up playing phone tag- which makes the parents feel like you're "always gone" or "too busy" or worse "don't care" this has a direct effect on the surveys ), emails, or texts (basically harass parents to respond- I have both teaching and parenting experience with FLVS and countless other teachers and parents felt both harassing and harassed even when the teacher sounds approachable and bubbly).

    This monthly contact process takes hours even with a script and Microsoft Office mail merge- about 2,000 minutes per month with 200 students and 10 minutes per phone call (I am averaging the amount of time it takes to export the data from VSA, import to a script on Microsoft Word, make the contact attempt via email, text, or phone, log the contact in VSA, time it takes for VSA to load, the phone tag of leaving voicemails and returning calls, texting each parent individually (you have to shorten the script for a text) and sending out emails, repeated attempts to a non-responsive parent, etc.)- that's 33 HOURS a month that teachers spend trying to get a response from a parent. An entire work week out of the month is dedicated to a teacher reaching out to a parent to get a response regarding their students progress (information which again, the parent already has access to).

    It is 2018- there HAS to be a better way to achieve this requirement.

    Why can't FLVS change their Student Information System (SIS) to something more user friendly (for example Maestro) for online teachers? Other systems (like Maestro) have an internal mail-merge feature where all of the parent and student contact information (text/email) is, along with saved scripts for different scenarios (No-Work, Welcome, Monthly Progress, etc.), and the student data (grade, percent of course completed, pace, etc.).

    All the teacher would have to do is pick a pre-loaded internal script, for example a Monthly Progress report. The script would read something along the lines of "Dear [Parent], [Student] has a grade of [Grade] and has completed [Percentage] of course. Their pace is [Pace]. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Sincerely [Signature]." etc. The best part is you could send this as an email OR text to your entire class in ONE message (parents/students/guidance counselors, etc.)! You can create groups of parents who prefer text over email or vice versa and it sends it as both. All the teacher has to do is enter the SIS Inbox, Compose a Message, select their class, select the topic (script), AND (here is the BEST part) you can select an option to mark it as a student contact and it automatically gets put in as a student contact log AND (the even BETTER part) you can select the option for a Read Receipt.

    Doesn't it make more sense to send out ONE message within the SIS to 200 Parents email or text accounts which takes 5 minutes to accomplish the same task as FLVS' 33 hour task? Businesses should strive towards efficiency, and this is just one simple change that could drastically reduce the teacher culture and the relationships with parents and students for the better.

    This process does NOT eliminate or reduce the quality of contact- parents on the receiving end who have chosen text or email as their monthly contact will only notice that their teacher is more cheerful, engaged, and significantly less rushed when they call for a question or their student speaks to their teacher. Teachers WILL still call the parents- there are many scenarios where this still happens, this will only save 33 hours a month for the process in which they email or text the parent for their requested form of monthly communication. This solution will guide students and parents to select the "Yes" choice when asked if their Teacher cares- because they will have no doubt that they do.

    I would hope that if FLVS upgraded their system to a program like Maestro, that they would allow the Parents "Read Receipts" to count as the monthly contact as it already gets sent directly to the student log anyways and a response is as equally good as a "Read Receipt". That way parents don't feel harassed being asked for a response and the teachers don't waste the total of an entire week each month on the unnecessary act of exporting data into individual scripts, calling and texting individual data to almost 200 Parents, doing this all over again when they don't respond after the 2nd or 5th attempt.

    Parents STILL would have the ability to call teachers any time in addition to this if they have concerns - so why add such a rudimentary form of labor? Think about all that time teachers would have left to grade within the time perimeters, prepare and implement more effective live lessons, better time spent on connecting with students needing accommodations or interventions, have more meaningful discussions and relationships with students and so much more. This can help every FLVS teacher be a highly effective teacher- and that is the goal we all strive for every day.

    Want more students to enroll and have drastically more positive surveys? Provide teachers with the 21st Century Technology they need. FLVS uses a slow, continuously crashing, underdeveloped system (VSA) as it is and this simple conversion from VSA to Maestro (or a similar SIS with the discussed basic data internal messaging) would not only boost teacher morale (so that they don't feel like telemarketers), but increase Parent/Student Survey Scores. I have used both systems- a teacher can teach with one (Maestro) and be a drone with another (VSA).

    Side note: FLVS Lab Teachers get their "parent call" AND "welcome call" done with the Lab Facilitator. That's right- just one person for all 200 students. So a small percentage of FLVS teachers do not have this issue and are able to have a relatively enjoyable career- its time to even the responsibility for the other teachers. It's time for all teachers to have an equal opportunity to communicate student progress and receive read receipts and have that monthly requirement done within minutes so that every single teacher (not just Lab teachers) has the opportunity to be a highly effective teacher.

    FLVS is the only virtual school in Florida (I am closely familiar with the many others) that still has not only this parent contact response requirement, but this pre-historic like way to log parent and student contact. If FLVS wants to remain the lead online school in Florida, they should provide their teachers with the lead (or at least relatively modern and manageable) technology. Other Florida Online Schools use Maestro or similar technologies enabling efficient use of time for the "paper work" part of teaching so that their teachers can be exceptional at the job they were hired to do- teach. Other schools (I won't name any, but it is not difficult to do a google search and find at least 5 Virtual Schools in Florida) do it this way and their customers are happier. The students and parents can tell that their teachers are refreshed and focused on teaching. These schools get returning and increasingly higher numbers each quarter. They are able to do this on a budget that is not nearly as expansive as FLVS and all it required was newer technology with an integrated student data and messaging system as previously described. These other schools also provide adjunct positions. In lieu of teachers with a full load of students taking on a colleagues enrollments during maternity leave or vacations- these other schools provide adjuncts with smaller courses so that they can also take on the extra load when a teacher is out of office for any length of time. Adjuncts are paid significantly less than a lead teacher or an additional full time teacher, and are able to provide the students a more focused and individualized learning while their regular teacher is away then another full time teacher would have if they had 25% over capacity if they had to do it themselves (imagine being a brick and mortar teacher and having an additional 25-50 students on top of your regular class every day for 2 weeks or 3 months).

    Teacher morale is very low. Parents and students are very aware that their teachers are burnt out- but they don't know why. They don't know that teachers spend 25% of their time exporting and entering data into an outdated system. When teachers are fatigued from unnecessary and unfulfilling busy work, it simply kills their spirit.

    Please FLVS, explore other options that allow a common sense approach to the Parent Contact requirement.

    Please allow me to feel like I am teaching again.

    Another thing, please consider changing availability to end at 6 or 7. It is unreasonable to expect thousands of teachers to not spend quality time with their families for dinner. If VSA can be updated to accommodate more useful and efficient tools for teachers as previously discussed, there would be no reason for the work day availability to be that long. Please consider making it 8-6 or 8-7 and let teachers have the option to answer a call after (most of us do anyways). The pressure alone of having incoming calls you are required to answer while you're trying to bond with your children so you are not an absentee parent and can foster a better future for your own children as you were for 200 others all day, is immense and puts a strain on your family. Having the option to turn your phone off at 6 or 7 (and choosing to return if you want to after dinner) would largely increase morale in ways that a non-FLVS-teacher could not even imagine. Yes, we all understand we can "make our own schedule" but we all know what that really means is make our schedule around the needs of our students. The website says availability from 8-8 and so parents and students expect us to pick up from 8-8 regardless if we already worked 8+ hours that day. If we don't take care of ourselves and our own family first, how can we be expected to take care of others?

    Please consider asking your teachers in a truly anonymous survey, about areas they feel their work environment could be improved. Give them the freedom to consider what could make their lives easier all in an attempt to make the customers happier. I am positive many other teachers at FLVS feel that the items I listed would make their days more efficient- ask them specific questions about time-wasting tasks. Conduct a "minutes" survey with teachers asking them how much time they actually spend on conducting required tasks and leave room for explanation for each task. You will see an atrocious amount of time is waiting for provided technologies to load, waiting for parents to answer the phone after 5 attempted calls, or copying and pasting data in other various software like a task rabbit. Please allow us to provide you with insight on enhancing our work practices. Please help us help you create a happier customer with more efficient teachers. If you don't want talks of a Union, give teachers a voice, validate their opinions, and make an improvement plan considering their suggestions so they don't feel the need to Unionize. The only reason teachers brought up the "U" word, is because their work days are increasingly getting more difficult and redundant. If you help teachers feel like they are teaching, they will not even think of organizing because they won't feel the need to.

    Please take this chance you have now with the new leading faces incoming at FLVS to make a more efficient and more caring workplace.

    Thank you for your time and consideration to this matter. I look forward to a response if possible.

  3. "The Flex elementary program is evolving and growing."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Instructor
    Current Employee - Instructor
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexibility, work from home, good benefits

    Cons

    Growing pains, curriculum is new and has many errors, parents calling on weekends and off hours.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to your teachers. We naturally do what is best for kids and families. Trust our instincts.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "One Student at a time..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Working to help students succeed, good team members, working from home

    Cons

    complete lack of growth, low and fixed salaries, management turnover

    Advice to Management

    recognize you're losing great talent by lack of growth, low salaries, and poor decision-making, management turnover.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Credit Factory / Diploma Mill / Administration has no integrity."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Instructor in Orlando, FL
    Former Employee - Instructor in Orlando, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    For a small share of students who are homebound or can't access some traditional courses, you are a lifeline towards better education. The courseware is moderately well made up. As a teacher, you learn more about your course for the first few months.

    Cons

    FLVS undermines public education by hiring scab non-union teachers (such as myself) and threatens them to pass as many students as possible, no matter how badly they have not yet mastered the content "at their own pace".

    This is a call center, that plays by different rules than a typical public school, and used government lobbying to grow as large as they have. As an employee you have to deal with student cheating while never punishing students for doing wrong. Imagine being a manager in a bank, and seeing a teller steal money, and be told your job is to continue to support that teller because otherwise the whole operation will shut down.

    Advice to Management

    Honestly, to the upper management, my advice to you to save your jobs would be continue to lobby Tallahassee because your credit mill saves the state money by helping push students through without doing the work. Also, consider more name changes and branding because EVERYONE knows how bad you are- and when your day of reckoning comes, I hope your administrative licenses are taken from you. You are not doing the state any favors.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "You will want to shower hourly from the corruption dirt!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility, Flexibility, Flexibility, Flexibility, Flexibility!

    Cons

    Nepotism, favoritism, Gestapo mentality, double standards.

    Advice to Management

    You are losing talented, good, conscientious teachers! Wake-up and treat your people with kindness and respect!


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Worst place ever!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility from time to time. I worked with some great teacjers!

    Cons

    Hypocrisy at its best! Principals are vindictive and cannot be trusted! They seem to care and get people to open up and then use it against you! Long hours and be prepared to ignore your family! The administration and board all need to be replaced! I took a position and then got "stuck"!!! They say you make more $ but work is basically 8-8 each day, 12 months a year! So not more $.

    Advice to Management

    Stop the hypocrisy!

  8. "Flvs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Neurosurgeon
    Former Employee - Neurosurgeon
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible, work any time, not too bad pay, but I definitely make more as a neurosurgeon.

    Cons

    I don't have any negatives about FLVS.

    Advice to Management

    Listen to employee


  9. "Love working Full time!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Instructor in Orlando, FL
    Current Employee - Instructor in Orlando, FL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexible schedule and work from home

    Cons

    I don't have any cons


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Ok Company to Work For"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Florida Virtual School full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility in daily work schedule

    Cons

    No advancement or realistic chance to improve salary unless you know or marry someone in a managerial role


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