The Pulse

May 2016

Welcome to this Issue!

Welcome to the May edition of The Pulse!

Thank you to the SMS Operations team for putting together this issue! If you would like to contribute to an upcoming addition of The Pulse, or have topic ideas you would like to see included, please email Sondra Winter (

Ops Spotlight: Meghan Merideth

Meghan started with Utah Virtual Academy five years ago this July. Her current role is the operations manager and her prior experience she worked with students as high school counselor and the high school principal.

Meghan LOVES being outside! She loves spending time running and hiking with her family. In the past few years she's picked up the running bug. She's ran eight half marathons and one full marathon. She's looking to add another four half marathons and one more marathon medal to her collection this Summer.

Meghan also enjoys golfing, as long as the weather is perfect. The best part about being outdoors-running, hiking, or golfing. It's always with her fam!

OPS Spotlight: Amanda "Amy" Peterson

Amy has been with WAVA for four years. She recently took on the role of Operation's Manager last month and said, "Almost one month in and the place hasn't burned down yet." Her former WAVA gigs include FAST Administrator, K-8 Operations Support Specialist, and Testing Logistics Coordinator. Prior to joining the WAVA team, Amy was a Title I reading and math teacher for middle school students.

Amy's strengths are planning, organizing, excel, and ordering pizza during Netflix binges. Her weaknesses are work life balance, balance in general, and the most concerning weakness is Benedict Cumberbatch.

Amy's hobbies are crocheting, interpretive dancing, and saving too many memes on her computer. Amy's spirit animal is a penguin. Their lives require a level of inner strength and fortitude that is beyond admirable and speaks to the lessons of living through struggles and making it through to a great time and celebration.

Amy's photo is her with her partner of 15 years, Nick. Amy is a HUGE bears fan. Da Bears!

My Favorite Things: Robin Wise

Meal: Mexican – anything and everything

Hobby: My kids, school work, playing frisbee with my pup, sewing when I find the time

Ice Cream Flavor: Black Cherry

Last Book Read for Pleasure: Tina Fey, Bossy Pants

Person in the News: I live in the moment, so it changes daily

TV Show: Amazing Race, Silicon Valley

Music: Cold Play, Bleachers, One Republic, Jack Johnson

Animals: We have a Westie and a Border Collie

Something that Makes You Smile/Laugh: My girls, ages 11 and 5

Your Least Favorite Thing: cleaning the shower - augh

Interesting things you might not know about me: After adopting our first daughter Josie from China, my husband and I started a children’s shoe company called Bugaboo Shoes (our factory was outside of Shanghai). My daughter Josie and I had an article written about our story and our shoes in People’s Celebrity Babies. The company is currently on hiatus following the adoption of our second daughter Harper.
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K12 Summit Curriculum for SY 16-17

For staff use only. Do not distribute to families.

What is the new K12 curriculum?

The new K12 curriculum re-imagines the learning experience and further engages our students and teachers through:

  • An inviting, intuitive, and informative user experience
  • Rich, engaging, and interactive course content
  • Differentiated instruction opportunities for all students
  • Effective state standards and state assessment mastery support
  • Powerful tools and analytics to effectively drive instruction
  • Mobile and accessible experience to learn anytime, anywhere

How are these courses different?

The new K12 curriculum is the first in a series of courses that re-imagines the learning experience. Users of these courses will discover:

  • Rich content that immerses students in their learning and demonstrates how concepts relate to the world around them.
  • Instruction that adjusts in response to a learners needs, providing built-in support for students needing extra help, support for English Language Learners, and access to a variety of enrichments activities for those who simply want to learn more or need additional challenge.
  • Interactive practice and review, found throughout the curriculum, which provides immediate feedback to reinforce concepts.
  • A mobile and accessible experience truly allows students to learn anytime, anywhere.

Content designed to support Common Core standards and assessments mastery
    • National courses are aligned to Common Core. Customizations are available for a select number of states.
    • Assessments are designed to mimic what a student will see on their state tests (in both format and rigor).
    • Built-in Interim Assessments help assess a student’s preparedness for their state test.
    • Standards are displayed throughout the curriculum to show alignment and reinforce concepts
    • Teachers have access to actionable standards proficiency data to effectively drive towards standards mastery.

    What platforms will the K12 new courses be available on?

    In School Year 16-17, the new K12 courses will be available on the K12 Online High School and New K12 Online Middle School powered by D2L.

    What is the assessment strategy of the new K12 courses?

    Each semester of the new K12 courses will have a readiness diagnostic assessment at the beginning that will help identify student readiness for upcoming content and place a student in an appropriate path. Teachers will have the ability to override the automatic recommendations. Unit Assessments and formative Interim Assessments will include items that mimic, in format and rigor, the questions students will see on their state tests and will include a number of new, technology-enhanced question types. All assessments and activities will be aligned to state standards.

    What materials are associated with the courses?

    The new K12 Math courses in Grades 6-11 will have a reference book that is available in digital and print format. Problem sets will also be available and will be delivered digitally.

    The new K12 English 9 & 10 courses will include an anthology available in digital and print format and will require several major works of literature that will be available for shipment or can be easily found at a local library.

    Are the new K12 courses aligned to my state standards?

    In School Year 16-17, K12 will offer a national version of each course that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards as well as some state-specific customizations. Please reach out to your school leadership with additional questions about what will be available for your school.

    What is the role of the teacher in the new K12 courses?

    The new K12 courses are built to be very flexible and meet a variety of instructional models. There will be a mix of computer and teacher graded assessments, teacher graded assignments, as well as discussion boards in the high school courses. Courses are designed with more teacher supports to help teachers focus their instruction. If needed, there will be flexible settings to help teachers meet the unique needs of their students.

    How will pacing work with the new K12 courses?

    The new K12 courses are built to be flexible enough to adjust to a variety of pacing needs and can be easily managed with the powerful planning tools available in the K12 Online High School and New K12 Online Middle School platforms.

    Secret Phrase: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go” – Dr. Seuss

    School of the Month: Arkansas Virtual Academy (ARVA)

    Grade Levels Served:

    K-11 this year and will expand to K-12 next year

    Enrollment: 1837 student


    The first virtual school within the state of Arkansas was Arkansas Virtual School, which preceded Arkansas Virtual Academy and was funded as a federal grant. This was established in 2002-2003, which makes this school one of the longest-standing schools in the K12 family. As the grant for Arkansas Virtual School came to an end the board applied for a charter. The charter application was granted, and Arkansas Virtual Academy was established as an open-enrollment public charter school in 2007-2008.

    With an established cap, ARVA began serving high school students for the first time this past 2014-2015 school year. In their first year of high school, they were successfully in meeting or exceeding the state average in every tested area in math and English/language arts.

    Featured Report:

    This month’s featured report is the Hardware Tab Report.

    About this report: This report shows the status of computer hardware as well as the last date that hardware information was updated.

    Where the data comes from: This report populates from Total View.

    What is shown on this report: This report includes student demographic information including mailing, shipping, and physical addresses for students as well as enrollment and withdraw dates, registration status and the three fields showing the shipment status selected, the text entered in the computer note field and the date this information was last changed.

    Why schools might want to look at this report: Schools can use this report to identify special population students who may have their computer shipment status incorrectly set to Override and Do Not Ship. It can also be used to identify how many new students have their computer shipment status set to Override and Ship. In addition, if the notes entered are fairly uniform manner then a quick pivot and filter can show counts by note showing how many students are being approve or denied a computer by reason.

    How to get it: The report is refreshed daily at approximately 7AM EST.




    Upcoming Events:

    YET Trainings and Office Hours

    • YET Planning Hosted by Angie Walker Wednesdays @ 2pm EST |Click here to join
    • YET Tasks Open Office Hours with Cindy & Kristin Mondays @ 3pm EST| Click here to join
    • YET Training Session hosted by Skye Roemer on Friday, May 13 @ 11am EST | Click here to join

    Withdraw Project Open Office Hours

    • Have questions or need help with your withdraw form? Join Sondra Winter on Mondays or Thursdays @ 2pm EST | Click here to join

    Shared Practices and Leadership Sessions

    • SharePoint: Use of Newsfeed for Cross-Collaboration; Wiki Sites with Angie Walker on May 13 @ 1pm EST | Click here to join
    • Leadership Session: Managing Remote Teams with Angie Walker on May 20 @ 1 pm EST | Click here to join

    Production Support Open Office Hours:

    • K8 OLS, TV, and BB Collaborate Hosted by Sondra Winter Tuesdays @ 2pm EST | Click here to join
    • Engrade and Sharepoint Hosted by Angie Walker Tuesdays @ 3pm EST | Click here to join
    • Online High School & BB Connect Hosted by Skye Roemer Fridays @ 2pm EST | Click here to join

    Weekly SMS Ops Call:

    • Every Thursday, 3:30-4:30 pm ET | Click here to join.

    Service Now Tip of the Month:

    Add a little color and personality to your Service Now account by changing the theme.

    • Click on the gear at the top right of your page
    • Under “Theme” choose the color that best suits your style
    • You can also edit the font size form the screen for easier reading

    Microsoft Office 365 Tip of the Month

    When launched, the Office 2013 apps show a dynamic Start screen by default. To see a blank new document instead, select File and Options, then untick the Start screen option on the General tab.

    May Reminders:

    Year-End Transition

    • Implement your YET project plan.
    • Create "End-of-the-Year Checklist" (including required dates) and provide to school staff with their YET training.
    • Develop workflows and create a schedule for assigning final grades.
    • Download grade reports from all K12 systems (OLS, LMS, Engrade) prior to mass-approving grades, and store historical data in a secure place.
    • Verify grademarks are correct prior to mass-approving grades.
    • Finalize vendor deliverables for end-of- year events and graduation.
    • Submit extension requests in Service Now.
    • Check the Course report daily to verify student course start date and official course start date.
    • Check your Course report daily to ensure that students have the correct course versions assigned.
    • Ensure that all student course placements are complete and accurate before your school's shipping week (the shipping schedule will be posted on the Operations One Stop)
    • Withdraw all graduating students prior to your school's mass withdrawal date with the correct withdrawal code "Other: Graduation."
    • Mark all students actively completing coursework as Registering (including students with extensions and students enrolled in summer school) prior to mass withdrawal.

    New School Year Set-Up

    • Verify student addresses are correct and updated before shipping dates
    • Ensure that all student course placements are complete and accurate before your school's shipping week (the shipping schedule will be posted on the Operations One Stop).


    • Send registration and enrollment numbers out weekly to instructional and administrative staff.
    • Communicate Registration to families and staff.


    • 45 day screenings/Health screenings due, if applicable.
    • Continue to closely monitor Special Programs compliancy; IEPs up to date; RTI, McKinney Vento, Title I, files up to date to be prepared for count day/audit.

    Summer School

    • Indicate if your school is offering a summer school program, and submit summer school start/end dates in Service Now.
    • Communicate summer school course offerings to SMS Operations.
    • Complete Summer School SET Project Plan, if applicable.

    Regional Highlights: Blended Region

    The Blended region is finding themselves very busy during this time of year. As we wrap up re-registration, continue enrollment and start planning the year end transition plan, all of the schools are also looking forward to implementing the new initiatives K12 is rolling out for next school year. Family communication and staff training planning has begun and we are hearing positive feedback and excitement for SY 16-17!

    The blended regional team met in March to welcome back a team member, Early King. Early joined us as the HOS at our YCCS school a few years ago, and is returning to the team as Senior Director for Blended Schools; at this same time we said farewell to a long time blended team member, Keith Stephenson, who has continued on with a new exciting opportunity. We are very excited to have Early back on board with us to continue to drive our mission forward for all blended schools.

    Recipe of the Month: Stuffed Mushrooms

    This recipe came to us from Sondra Winter on the SMS Ops team.

    If you have a recipe to share in an upcoming issue of the The Pulse, please email Sondra Winter (


        • 16 oz button mushrooms
        • 2 medium cloves garlic chopped
        • 1/2 cup onion
        • 2 tsp olive oil
        • 8 oz cream cheese
        • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
        • 1/4 tsp salt
        • 1/4 tsp pepper
        • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
        • Bread crumbs


        Remove stems and apply nonstick spray on pan. Chop mushroom stems, onions, and garlic. Add two tsp of olive oil to skillet and heat over a medium heat. Add mushroom mixture and cook for 4-5 minutes until liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat, stir in cream cheese, parmesan, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Spoon into mushrooms and add bread crumbs to top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

        Training Reminders:

        Ops Training Reminders

        During the month of May, please complete the following ops trainings.

        May Trainings:

          • SMS Operations: ORN010: Online Learning Course Overview
          • SMS Operations: Welcome to Online Learning Courses for K12 K-8 Students
          • SMS Operations: Student Withdrawal

          First Month in Operations Role Trainings (if still pending):

          • SMS Operations: K12 Overview
          • SMS Operations: Systems Overview
          • SMS Operations: Professionalism in the Workplace
          • SMS Operations: Service Now
          • SMS Operations: Introduction to Compliance
          • Reports Server
          • SMS Operations: Billing and Invoicing
          • Operations One Stop Support Website Overview
          • SMS Operations: Integration
          • SMS Operations: Blackboard Collaborate
          • SMS Operations: Operations Manual
          • SMS Operations: Communication Plan
          • SMS Operations: Communication Policies and Procedures

          February Trainings (if still pending):

          • SMS Operations: Optional Materials
          • SMS Operations: Default Courses
          • SMS Operations: Course Code Explanations
          • SMS Operations: Re-Registration SY15-16

          March Trainings (if still pending):

          • SMS Operations: Managing Courses in TotalView School
          • SMS Operations: Promotion Paths
          • SMS Operations: Summer School
          • SMS Operations: Computer Rules
          • SMS Operations: Managing Enrollments in TotalView Enrollment
          • SMS Operations: Introduction to High School Online Learning

          April Trainings (if still pending):

          • SMS Operations: Mass Withdrawals
          • SMS Operations: Transferring Students in TotalView School
          • SMS Operations: Preparing for Year-End Transition
          • SMS Operations: Year-End Transition SY14-15

          Reach out to Kristin Jarvis ( with questions or concerns. Happy Training!

          Raffle Participation:

          Participate and earn entries into a drawing! The prize and winner will be announced on the Ops Call at the end of each month.

          Want to earn an entry today?

          • Read the newsletter: email Kristin Jarvis the secret phrase (located somewhere in this newsletter)
          • Complete a training
          • Attend a best practices session
          • Participate in the quiz bowl
          • Bring a question to open office hours
          • Complete a morning mind bender survey

          Earn double entries:

          • Earn a point for your region in the weekly quiz bowl
          • Win the quarterly quiz bowl
          • Complete all morning mind bender surveys in a calendar month

          Raffle Winner:

          Congratulations to Cathy Kugler with FPCSO, the April raffle winner! Cathy earned eight entries into the April drawing, by reading The Pulse, participating in all April Mindbenders, and completing an ops training. Way to go, Cathy!