APSVA Virtual View

March Newsletter

Inside This Issue

  1. Online Students Have Talent!
  2. Art Contest
  3. Your Voice Student Poll
  4. Student Spotlight
  5. The Rainbow - Your Journey to the Pot of Gold
  6. Sleep Awareness Week
  7. Get Moving... During a Study Break
  8. Test Taking Strategies to Help You Do your Best
  9. The Who, What, and Why’s of Resume Writing
  10. Benefits and Advantages of Developing a Resume


Parent Corner

  1. Social Networking: Blessing or Curse?

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Online Students Have Talent!

Thank you for sharing your talents!

Did you like seeing your fellow students artwork?? Wish you had submitted something?? We want to feature student submitted work in upcoming newsletters. Submit your art work, photography, poetry, short stories, or other creative endeavors to, Brooks McMullan, at bmcmullan@connectionseducation.com. Participants will receive a prize!

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Art Contest

Calling all artists!! March is Youth Art Month, and in celebration, your counselors and Student Achievement Coordinators are holding a contest and asking for your entry!

Contest Rules:

  1. Entries must have a Spring theme.
  2. Entries may be in the form of painting; photography; drawing; mixed media; photograph of a craft, design, or sculpture; video of performance art; or writing.
  3. Each student may submit one original entry between March 1, 2014 and March 28, 2014.
  4. All artwork must be submitted via email to bmcmullan@connectionseducation.com.

Submissions will be displayed in the April newsletter, and students will pick the winner! The winner will be announced in the May newsletter, and will receive a prize.

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YOUR VOICE STUDENT POLL

In the February Newsletter we asked, “Who do you think will win the NCAA College Basketball Tournament?” Here’s what you had to say:


  • Florida
  • Wichita State
  • Arizona
  • Kansas
  • Syracuse


Other notables:
  • Duke
  • Louisville


Thank you to everyone that submitted a response! We hope your team wins, whichever one you are rooting for!!




We want to hear YOUR VOICE! It’s time to share your comments with your fellow students, teachers, counselors, and Student Achievement Coordinator. We can’t wait to hear what YOU have to say!! This month’s question is:

Send your responses to bmcmullan@connectionseducation.com

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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Since his first day with Advanced Academics Online School, Ryan Bailey has taken action on his courses without undue haste or delay. He’s only been with us since January and he’s already half-way complete with all of his course work! His secret is that he focuses on one class at a time until he is finished, and then moves on to the next class. When he’s not studying, he loves to barrel race and works with horses. He’s also the chef for his family. It’s clear that Ryan’s initiative is remarkable in this program and the prime reason why he was picked to be the spotlight of the month. Congratulations, Ryan!

We hope to spotlight YOU in next month’s newsletter!

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THE RAINBOW…YOUR JOURNEY TO THE POT OF GOLD

We’ve all heard of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, we often think of the legend of the leprechaun that is said to be guarding his pot of gold that sits at the end of the rainbow. Maybe when you were younger you daydreamed or even went on an adventure in search of that pot of gold, hoping to get rich, or just to catch a glimpse of a leprechaun. Now, you understand this story is just fantasy, but hopefully you are still searching for a metaphorical “pot of gold”, the reward you receive at the end of a journey.


We definitely encourage you to decide what your “pot of gold” will look like, to set goals, and to keep your eyes on the prize. However, we often focus more on the “pot of gold” (the reward) than we do the “rainbow” (the journey it takes to get there). The metaphor, “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow” makes the journey sound so light, attractive, easy, and pleasant. If only the journey actually did mimic such a colorful experience! Well, it can if you want it to!


As you take the journey, there are bound to be things that come up in life that throw you off course and could cause you to become discouraged. We want to remind you that even in success there is struggle for everyone, no matter where you are on your journey. As frustrating as life can be, meet each challenge with an appreciation to learn from the experience! Whenever your rainbow ends up looking more like a dark cloud, focus not just on the pot of gold, but also on keeping your rainbow bright! Consider these situations:



  1. Spilt something on your favorite shirt and ruined it?-A great reason to go shopping!
  2. Realize that someone is spreading rumors about you?-An opportunity to evaluate your own values!
  3. Made a bad grade on a paper?-A chance to talk to a teacher and get one on one assistance!
  4. A friend cancels your plans together?-An opportunity to spend quality time with your family!
  5. Your friend seems moody and doesn’t want to talk to you? A chance to show off your creative skills by making your friend a card!
  6. Your parents ground you?-An opportunity to get ahead on your school work!



The spring semester has begun, and we hope that you have been reflecting on how you did during the fall semester. How many steps forward did you take to achieve your goals for the year? What life demands and surprises came up that threw you off course or caused you to take a step backwards? Keep your focus on that pot of gold, and learn to make the most of the rainbow that leads you there. Enjoy your journey! It’s beautiful and worth every step!

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SLEEP AWARENESS WEEK

“March 2nd-9th is the National Sleep Foundation’s annual week-long campaign to celebrate the health benefits of sleep. The week ends with the return to Daylight Saving Time, when clocks move ahead one hour and too many Americans lose an hour of sleep!”


According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Not getting enough sleep can limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate, and solve problems. Most teens do not get enough sleep, and tend to have irregular sleep patterns across the week which can affect their biological clocks and hurt the quality of their sleep.” This is more than likely even more true with online students who tend to exercise a more flexible school day and sleep schedule. One solution to this is to “establish a bed and wake-time and stick to it, coming as close as you can on the weekends. A consistent sleep schedule will help you feel less tired since it allows your body to get in sync with its natural patterns.”


“Sleep is food for the brain,” and is vital to your success at Advanced Academics. If you are sleep deprived, we encourage you to check out this article for some helpful tips.

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GET MOVING…DURING A STUDY BREAK!!

My grandma is a very wise woman because while she was getting her degree online, she would often exercise during her study breaks!! On her study breaks, she would go out and work in her garden, ride bikes with her great-grandchildren, or jog to the next neighborhood and back. It’s obvious that regular exercise can improve your well-being and even improve your performance in school! (No wonder she got straight As!) Your brain usually functions better if the rest of your body is in shape, and the right kind of exercise is an effective way to dissipate the tension that you build up hunched over a keyboard hammering out a term paper.


What? You are not in shape? You don’t have time to exercise? You don’t think you can get an effective workout? All of those excuses will be obliterated if you simply exercise during one of your study breaks during the day (about 10-15 minutes max)! Your body can change by simply taking the first step: Declare your desire to exercise during one of your study breaks each day, and you will see real progress in a matter of weeks! Sticking to an exercise schedule for just three weeks can bring awesome health rewards!


Here are some simple exercise ideas you can do at or near your desk that are recommended by WebMD:

  • Glance at the wall clock and rip off a minute's worth of jumping jacks. If you're a beginner, try the low-impact version (raise your right arm and tap your left toe to the side while keeping your right foot on the floor; alternate sides).
  • Do a football-like drill of running in place for 60 seconds. Get those knees up! (Beginners, march in place.)
  • Simulate jumping rope for a minute: Hop on alternate feet, or on both feet at once. An easier version is to simulate the arm motion of turning a rope, while alternately tapping the toes of each leg in front.
  • While seated, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds, then rapidly tap your feet on the floor, football-drill style, for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
  • In your room, shadow box for a minute or two. Or just walk around the room as fast as you can.


Obviously, you don’t have to train for the Boston Marathon. Do something you enjoy. You can even start by walking briskly outside for 15 minutes every day, then gradually increase the intensity after several weeks, and whoa, you’ll be in better shape by summer! So, if my 90 year old grandma can find time to exercise during her study breaks, so can you!!! (By the way, she can do 20 push-ups in a minute, too.)

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TEST TAKING STRATEGIES TO HELP YOU DO YOUR BEST!

Testing can be a stressful ordeal!

Passing your state tests for graduation, or taking other standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT, can make a student want to pull their hair out. We understand this, and we are here to help. Research shows that students can increase their test scores by doing things as simple as getting a good night’s rest, arriving early, and having a decent breakfast. But beyond that there are a few test taking strategies that have also proven to give students an upper hand.

Read and follow ALL directions CAREFULLY!

Take the time to look through the entire test and read ALL directions. Make sure you understand them before you answer questions. Read all questions and multiple choice answers CAREFULLY. Key words in the question can help steer you toward the right answer.

Cover up the answers.

Students who try to find their own answer by covering up the multiple-choice answers do better. Formulating your own answer increases the likelihood of one of the choices standing out more.

Leave it behind.

If a problem or question is proving difficult, move on! Moving on to something different allows your brain to relax, slows your pulse, and lets you breathe. Moving on to something different also stimulates your brain and will often trigger other areas of the brain. Students have often reported that in the middle of another problem, the solution or strategy pops in to their head; prompting them to turn back and complete the one that previously gave them trouble.

Highlight or underline important info.

When taking a reading comprehension test, it is a successful strategy to read the questions (not the answers) before reading the reading passage. Then while reading, highlight things that remind you, are triggered by, or simply seem too important to ignore. It could be a word you remember from the question or an entire answer. Either way, your brain is working to connect the dots while you read. This deepens your thoughts, allowing you to find and retrieve the information you are looking for when you go back to the questions.

Check your work carefully.

Leave yourself at least a few minutes to review all of your answers. Correct any mistakes you find.

Testing is important and not only shows what you now, but helps the school and State keep the curriculum updated. This keeps students like you competitive in today’s world. If you have further questions or strategies that have worked for you in the testing world, please share them with your counselors, they love to hear success stories!

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The Who, What, and Why’s of Resume Writing

Every person, regardless of age or whether or not they are actively seeking employment, should create a resume and continue to update it regularly. A resume is a professional summary of a person’s background including education, training, accomplishments, experience (paid jobs or volunteerism), interests, and goals. A potential employer or school will view your resume and determine whether or not you qualify for your ambition. Often times, teens seeking employment for the first time may not have the experience of a paying job; however, a good resume will point out your highest qualities, skills, and abilities despite lack of experience. Your resume is an easy and effective way to make yourself unique and stand out positively to a potential employer; therefore, your resume should reflect your best qualifications. You may think that playing a sport or volunteering for your church are not relevant to your purpose, but any information that allows your prospective target to learn about you will help them in determining whether or not you are suited for their purpose.


Resumes help screen typical applications and it is up to you to “sell yourself” as a person who is reliable, educated, self-motivated, talented… you name it! It is often the determining factor in securing an interview or even securing the goal you are intending to reach. There are “dos and don’ts” when writing a resume and there are an abundant of resources that provide advice and samples of what yours should look like. For a more in-depth look at resume writing tips for high school students, visit here. This page has links to various resume examples and specific information about creating a resume. The newest trend in resume writing is to create a personal website. Visit here for information on how to build your own website to showcase your talents, skills and personal information. You can also Google “resume writing for teens” and to search for other sites to help you with writing or improving your resume.


Remember, it is your individuality that you are portraying and it will make the difference in your success. That means make it complete, positive, and professional.

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Benefits and Advantages of Developing a Resume

Since most high school age applicants will not supply employers with a resume, those that do will gain an immediate edge by appearing more motivated, mature and professional in their approach.


Students who have a resume in hand can petition employers in person and leave a document with managers as a reminder of their credentials. If the hiring authority is unavailable when candidates stop by, the student can leave a resume for later review by a manager which might result in a call back for an interview.


A resume is important for a job seeker because of all the things it says about the person who created it. This one piece of paper proves that you are qualified, that you care about the job, and that you understand the working world. These are important facts for any potential employer to know. To help you develop a resume, see sample below:

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Parent Corner

Social Networking: Blessing or Curse?

By Steve Williams, a school counselor at Festus Intermediate School in Festus, Mo.


I cannot begin to imagine where technology will be in the next five or 10 years. To say that technology has changed our culture and way of life is probably the understatement of the century. Some of the communication devises we watched on “Star Trek” in the ’60s are part of our everyday life today. Our world has become even smaller because of the Internet. Family photos and videos are sent through thin air from all over world in a matter of seconds. So what is next? Where will we be? How will we live? And, most importantly, how can we make sure our children are benefiting from technology rather than suffering because of technology.

What a blessing Facebook, MySpace and the other social networking sites have been. We've been able to connect, and reconnect with family and friends that we have not seen or heard from in years. We actually get to meet family members we have never seen through the power of social networking photo programs.

A term that was created by social networks is cyberbully. Cyberbullies hide behind their computer to promote deliberate hostile behavior toward another person. Cyberbullies have been blamed for physical confrontations and even suicides of teenagers across the country.

Children as young as 9 years old carry cell phones and have Facebook pages. I have had parents and children tell me about the brutal filth and profane language some of the children are using on their sites and via text messaging. Some of the messages I've read are shocking. Children who experience hurt feelings and have a destroyed self-esteem come to my office asking for help. The free availability of social networking has become a curse for children.

So what can we do? Whose responsibility is it to monitor the sites and cell phones? Someone has to protect our children. It all has to begin in the home. Parents have the ability to protect their children from the curse of social networks and teach them proper computer etiquette. Following are some suggestions for helping your children use technology in positive ways.

1. Monitor your child’s cell phone texting, e-mails and social network pages. Some parents are concerned that they are invading their children’s privacy. Think of it as protecting them and teaching them responsibility. You wouldn't allow them to go to a dangerous place, so protect them from the dangers of the Internet. Even teenagers need rules and boundaries on the Internet. Limit their time on the computer. Don't allow computer usage in the privacy of bedrooms; keep computers in a family room or living room.

2. Teach your children to block people who are inappropriate or offensive. Sure children don't get along from time to time, but if someone is persistently inappropriate, delete that “friend.” Who needs negative pressure? No one wants to hang out with people who don't like them, so don't hang out on the Internet with them.

3. Make sure your children and you personally know everyone they are in constant contact with on the Internet. Sexual predators know exactly what they are doing and give children the attention they are seeking. They are tricky, manipulative and dangerous.

4. Talk to your kids. Know their friends, their interests, their feelings. Be involved in their lives. Be a parent, not a friend. Friendship will come later. Understand your role as a parent. No one is perfect. There are a lot or resources available to help you make sound parenting decisions. If you need help finding some, talk to your child’s school counselor.

5. Communicate with other parents and try to politely and appropriately fix relationship problems on the Internet. They may not be aware what their children are doing or saying online. Be firm but considerate. If a threat of any kind is made, contact your local authorities. You may prevent a terrible tragedy.

Parenting has never been easy. The Internet is making it even harder. We must take an active role to protect those we love.

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