Diamond Gazette

March 2017 ~ Celebration Issue!

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This month's issue celebrates ARVA students!

March's edition of the Diamond Gazette is LOADED with information for ALL ARVA families! In this month's issue we are highlighting our amazing ARVA students who SHINE in numerous ways! Check them out below!
Then, be sure to scroll all the way through to access the detailed goodies within, including:
  • ARVA Diamonds (students) Shining Across Arkansas (pictures of YOU!)
  • School Resources and Information
  • Booster Club and Outing Information
  • Community Resources, including Special Needs Activities in Your Community
  • K12 Resources and Information

Stay tuned next month when we'll highlight Honor Roll, Perfect Attendance, and our long-standing 'diamond' families!

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Jordan Adams, 9th, earned the President's Volunteer Service Award!

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Alex R., Wins the 9th Grade K-12 Art Contest

K12’s annual art contest, resulted in a number of impressive submissions that demonstrated the students’ artistic abilities. Students in grades K-12 illustrated the theme “When I grow up . . .” ARVA's own, Alex R. placed 1st in his 9th grade division for his one-of-a-kind creation "Foodtopia". Alex writes, "When I grow up I want to be a professional chef. My uncle is a chef and my great grandmother was a professional chef as well. My mother loves to cook and I'd like to make her proud by becoming a chef and possibly have a show on the Food Network channel. I want to be a professional chef because I like bringing different flavors together and watching people enjoy my food creations."

We can't wait to taste your creations as well! Congratulations Alex!

We invite you to view all submissions or to view all ARVA submissions to see the fantastic art received this year and we hope to see more ARVA submissions next year!

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Several ARVA families and two teachers attended the Middle School Engineering Olympics at the University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR) on Saturday February 25, 2017. It was a great experience, and we learned a lot. ARVA students competed against other schools in these events: Critical thinking problems (several students worked together on this), CO2 Dragster Competition (the ARVA car was propelled to 33 miles per hour on the 75 foot track), and Quick Stop Racer Competition (the goal was to have the car stop before a certain line, but get as close as possible to the line).

It was quite an accomplishment for ARVA to participate, with the challenge of living in different areas of Arkansas. We collaborated not only in class connect, but students used other technology to communicate and build their projects. This is something that ARVA should continue with in the future.

Two ARVA students submitted work to share!

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Testing Information - Important

Please see the testing dates below. **Note: Please remember that these tests will be given in person. You will be asked to bring your student to a designated location near your home.**

1st & 2nd grade students will take the IOWA test in person. This test will be given on Tuesday, April 4th & Wednesday, April 5th, 2017. More details and specific locations will be coming, but please mark these days on your calendar.

3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, & 10th grade students will take ACT Aspire in person. This test will be given from Tuesday, April 18th through Friday, April 28th, 2017 (not including weekends). Each grade level will test two days only. Specific times and locations will be coming, but please mark these days on your calendar.

3rd-10th grade students should also go ahead and download the ACT Aspire TestNav application to prepare for the interim assessment. You will be receiving more information regarding this soon. You received this information in an email from Lauren Throneberry on Friday, Feb. 3.

All questions regarding this information should be directed to Lauren Throneberry, lthroneberry@arva.org.

ARVA has a Science Olympiad Team Attending the North East Invitational on March 11!

Science Olympiad is a nationwide organization dedicated to promoting science education through conducting competitive science tournaments. As part of the Science Olympiad organization, Arkansas Science Olympiad is dedicated to inspiring a passion for science by providing hands-on activities, stimulating a creative atmosphere for science and technology education, and hosting tournaments in which student can showcase their skills. Click below for Science Olympiad's video introduction to this great program. If you are interested in joining the ARVA team, contact Katharine Greene: kagreene@arva.org
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DECA comes to ARVA!

We have a new CTSO (Career/Technical Student Organization) at the HS. (www.deca.org) DECA is a professional marketing and entrepreneurship organization (club) for high school students with a strong interest in these areas who are focused on college and careers. Presently we have 6 students competing in the VBC series (Virtual Business Challenge) and they will attend the state DECA conference in March. We can't wait to hear what they learn at the conference!

High School Counselor Office Hours (including Office Hours for 8th Graders)

Attention: 8th Graders

Mrs. Amy Smith (9/10 Counselor) will be hosting an open office hour to answer your questions about 9th grade. This is optional and will occur Mondays from 3-4pm. Look for the link in your Class Connect Schedule.

High School Seniors: Counselor office hours will be available every other week for Seniors from 7-8 am on Thursdays. The next session will be March 9. link to attend:


All High School Students: An office hour with counselors will be available weekly for students from 8-9am on Wednesdays. If you have questions regarding credits, colleges, scholarships, etc, come on in and talk with your Counselors! link to attend:


Please note that the times may be adjusted during testing season.

Also, multiple opportunities to apply for scholarships are compiled in a list by your counselor. New ones are added all the time, including the Essay Scholarship for Juniors and Seniors, the AXA Achiever's Scholarship, and more! See the full list here.

Middle School Parents ~ Take Note

There is a 8th Grade Town Hall (online meeting) scheduled for Friday, March 3 at 1 PM. Check your email for the link. This session will focus on Preparing for High School.

Click here for the recording for the Internet Safety for Families session, hosted by Hollie Gumm, MS Principal.

Ready to Drive? Check here first!

  1. High School students must contact their counselor. Students not yet in high school should contact Hollie Gumm, K-8 Principal: hgumm@arva.org
  2. Counselor or Principal will check the last semesters’ GPA to see if it is a 2.0 or higher.
  3. Counselor or Principal will send request to ARVA's registrar to send form to the student if the student is eligible.

Please note: Student must complete one semester with ARVA before ARVA will grant eligibility for a driver's license.

Forms will be sent via US Mail only. Please request 2-3 weeks prior to driver’s test.

ARVA's Parent Lending Library

ARVA's Parent Lending Library has books and games to loan to parents and learning coaches. It includes book titles such as How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk and non-book selections and games. To find out more information about the ARVA’s Parent’s Lending Library or to check out a book, click here.

*Note that you can also request titles at most Arkansas libraries. They will often request the book from another library or order it for you to check out. Find your local library here.

FEATURED SELECTION for March: A Trip to Bugland - the Adventure of Zobey (DVD) ages 2+

This video is designed to encourage your child to be physically active. We encourage you to watch the video and participate along with your child. Teaches hand eye coordination, movement and dance, healthy eating habits, counting.

Learning is more productive when you build short breaks into your day

GoNoodle turns movement into a game and makes it easy to be active, the kid way—silly, energetic, playful, and fun. Just press play on hundreds of custom-created videos and get kids running, jumping, dancing, stretching, and practicing moments of mindfulness. It's fun, it improves behavior & attention and gets your blood pumping to your brain during short breaks for better academic performance.

2016-2017 ARVA Student/Parent Handbook

Handbooks were provided via email to all families enrolled by the first week of school. It has also been posted on the Strong Start site, here: View the Student/Parent Handbook
It is important to read and understand the handbook, whether you are a student or a learning coach. Once you have read the handbook, please sign the online form here, if you haven't already: surveymonkey.com/r/16-17_ARVA_Student-Parent_Handbook
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Student Enrichment Activity Calendar

Click here to see what's happening around Arkansas! Upcoming outings are shown BELOW.

Booster Meetings

ARVA holds monthly Booster meetings for parents interested in being more involved. Topics of discussion: local social groups, upcoming outings, how to organize a Booster outing, school swag. Contact Beth Moore if you have any questions: bmoore@arva.org
Click here to access the Feb. meeting recording. Our next meeting is March 16 at 8pm.

Facebook Pages for ARVA Learning Coaches

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Congressional Service Academy Days

Service Academies and ROTC programs are looking for talented young people with an interest in serving their country while earning their college education. You are invited to attend an information session to learn more about your Service Academies. Click the links for more information on the session in your area.
Little Rock: Central High School Library, March 7, 6:30-8:15pm
Fort Smith: Southside High School, April 1, 9-11am
Bentonville: Armed Forces Reserve Center, April 1, 2-4pm

Henderson State University ~ Reddies Near You

Are you searching for a university that will challenge your intellect and broaden your perspective? Support your personal and professional growth? Engage you with expert educators and innovative ideas from around the globe? Allow you to make a positive impact in your local community? Prepare you to excel in your future career? Henderson State would like to invite you and your family to discover what it means to Live Reddie at a location near you. Join one of their pop-up receptions to meet faculty, administration, current students, and alumni as we share the Reddie Spirit and what Henderson State offers its students.

Calling all Artists, ages 13-18! Check out all the contests you can enter!

This article contains a comprehensive list of local, national and international high school Art competitions for students aged 13–18 years. It is regularly updated with painting, drawing, design, sculpture, video, architecture and fashion design competitions from around the world and focuses on those that offer significant prizes, fame or glory.

Summer Camps for Rising Sophomores at ASMSA

Summer at ASMSA offers exciting camps where rising sophomores can participate in fun and challenging programs focusing on art, music and acoustics, mathematics, computer programming, and robotics. Camps are tuition free and space is limited. Click here for individual camp information.

Girls of Promise STEM Conference for 8th Graders

Educators from around the state recommend high-achieving girls to attend a Girls of Promise® conference for two days of activities focused on the importance of higher education and the payoff of hard work (and fun). Girls meet others like themselves and realize it’s okay to be a bright, motivated person with big dreams. They also meet and learn from women with amazing careers such as scientists, welders, physicians, computer systems engineers, and coders.
Click here for more information: http://girlsofpromise.org/join/student/

Calling all student filmmakers! AETN announces the 2017 Student Selects: A Young Filmmakers Showcase.

This annual event invites K-12 students across Arkansas to create videos - on their own or as part of a class - and enter them for a chance at broadcast, film festival screenings, THEA Foundation's Young Filmmaker Scholarships, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program's Arkansas Historic Places Film Prize and new this year, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site's Reel Civil Rights Student Film Prize: Make a documentary about the social justice change you want to make in the world.

Workshop opportunities to help students gain inspiration, insight and skills to create videos for the upcoming competitions will be announced in early 2017. Click here to learn more. Entries must be submitted electronically or postmarked by March 31.

AETN/PBS Kids Writers Contest 2017

Through Friday, April 7, AETN will be accepting entries from kindergarten through third grade students for the PBS KIDS Writers Contest! Fact or fiction, prose or poetry, hand-drawn illustrations or original photography, we encourage the creative young minds in your school to submit whatever tale they choose. Stay tuned here submission details.

Crystal Bridges, in NW AR, Offers a Wide Variety of Student & Family Activities

From youth art classes to family activities, Crystal Bridges offers a variety of programs your students will love! Every Saturday and Sunday, guests are invited to drop into their studios between 1 and 4 p.m. for creative play and artmaking the whole family will enjoy. Over the Winter Break, they're planning Winter Break Wonders each afternoon, including artmaking, music, puppets, dance, and more. Crystal Bridges also recently won the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette “Best of the Best” for Family Outing! We hope you’ll take part in some of these wonderful programs to spark the imaginations of your young artists! Find out more.

Free Symphony Orchestra Tickets

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents its newest outreach program to all children and parents in the entire state of Arkansas. This program offers every student, from Kindergarten to High School seniors—all 400,000 of them—the chance to experience live orchestra performances, some of them, perhaps for the first time in their lives. Free!!

Camden Daffodil Festival

Welcome spring in Camden, Arkansas, and see millions of daffodils spreading over many acres of daffodil gardens. See the stagecoach museum, winding river, and antebellum homes, all lovingly restored. Stroll the historic cemetery with costumed actors enchanting you with the real stories of early settlers who rest there. Festival Shuttles will provide transportation to the Gardens; Homes; Cemetery Walk and the Antique Car Show. Other events at our Festival include a Championship Steak Cook-Off March 11th and an Antique Car Show and Bike Show. Fun for the entire family!

Know of other community resources in your area?

Share them with us so that we can share them with the ARVA community.

Click the pictures below to read about Special Needs Community programs in AR!

If you know of other opportunities in your area for special needs students, please share them with us so that we can share them with the rest of the ARVA community.

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Learning Coach Certification Course Now Available!

K12 has created a Learning Coach Certification Course to provide more in-depth knowledge to our learning coaches striving to be their very best. We encourage you to click the link below to complete the 1-hour course.

Parents: Find help on setting controls on your student's computer

There is information available on the k12 Help site to parents on how to set parental controls on their students' computers:



Here are a few of the things that you have the ability to control:

  • Time limits - You can set time limits to control when children are allowed to log on to the computer. Time limits prevent children from logging on during the specified hours. You can set different login hours for every day of the week. If they're logged on when their allotted time ends, they'll be automatically logged off. For more information, see Control when children can use the computer.
  • Games - You can control access to games, choose an age-rating level, choose the types of content you want to block, and decide whether you want to allow or block unrated or specific games. For more information, see Choose which games children can play.
  • Allow or block specific programs - You can prevent children from running programs that you don't want them to run. For more information, see Prevent children from using specific programs. Click here to view information on the Microsoft website.

K12 National College and Career Workshops

Have you thought about life after high school? Have you considered the careers that you might be interested in and whether or not you want, or will need, to attend college?

There is a lot to think about to get ready: where to go, what to study, how to apply, how to pay or it, and more. It’s never too early —or too late— to explore your options!

K12 will be hosting two live workshop sessions each month through the end of the 2016–2017 school year for students to talk about college and career prep topics.

Upcoming College & Career Workshop Sign Ups

March 17: Completing College Applications

March 24: Submitting Test Scores, Comparing Financial Aid Offers, and Finding Money for College

April 21: College Social Life

April 28: Learning to Live Like a College Student and Taking Charge of Finances

Recordings from past sessions:

Below is the latest list of K12 National College and Career Workshop recordings. Several of you have requested these.

PSAT, SAT, ACT Testing - Why They matter & Tips and Tricks
PSAT, SAT, ACT - Planning & Prep
Goal Planning
Finding Scholarships & A Parents Role in College Admissions
Insider Information to Financial Aid
GRIT - Giving Extra Effort and Determination
Choosing a Major & Finding the Right College
Applying for College

Motivate 2 Activate

K12 and School at Home Effectively are pleased to offer the monthly Motivate 2 Activate Series, an introduction to principles and techniques that offer suggestions and strategies for Learning Coaches to help their students become motivated and involved in their academic success. Each session is scheduled for 30 minutes of discussion with follow up question and answer. Please join us for the session dates that work for your schedule. One RSVP will keep you informed, and session reminders, recordings, and details will be sent to your email. RSVP here: surveymonkey.com/r/K12M2A

Also, visit the ARVA Strong Start site to find all of the available links to recordings that will help you with everything from behavior strategies to managing multiples.


Praise Versus Encouragement

Tuesday, March 7, 6:30 PM

Offering meaningful feedback rather than empty praise gives students a sense of whether they’re on track, and that can go a long way toward motivating them. Rather than saying, “You’re so smart,” encouragement that’s effective rewards student effort.

Helping Students Self-Correct

Tuesday, March 14, 6:30 PM

Students can easily get sidetracked from schoolwork, making their day ineffective. Teaching them how to self-correct will help them avoid distractions and stay on task.

ARVA's Family Academic Support Team (FAST) and the Strong Start Site

ARVA's Family Academic Support Team (FAST) provides comprehensive preparation and sustained support for engagement to promote improved achievement outcomes through strengths-based, proactive, and positive intervention. FAST publishes the Diamond Gazette newsletter, shares information from K12's National Family Academic Support Team, engages families at outings, and works to promote student engagement for academic success. If you have need support from your engagement coach or have forgotten who she is and need a call, please contact:

Need resource information for a financial or emotional need or crisis? Contact ARVA's Family Resource Coordinator, Amanda Weaver: aweaver@arva.org

Stay tuned to ARVA's Strong Start site for real-time updates and be sure to bookmark the site. Helpful videos, meetings through K12's Parent Network, local student activities, and more resources can be found here.
The Diamond Gazette is published monthly for all families at Arkansas Virtual Academy. It is sent via email and posted to the Strong Start site.
Gina Moore, editor
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