Feature Article: Jennifer Gaulier
Florida Virtual School Puts Students First
Needless to say, working in an online environment is far different from working in a classic brick and mortar building. Jennifer Gaulier, a former educator, lacked access to resources outside of her district or school and was tired of classroom politics. When she switched to teaching online at Florida Virtual School (FLVS), she experienced a positive shift in classroom dynamics and accessibility to students, families, and leadership.
She recalls, “When I taught the FLVS eighth grade United States History curriculum, one of my very introverted students had a true passion for learning and helping her peers. She really enjoyed one of the key features of the FLVS curriculum, which is our online sessions where students work together and collaborate on lessons in real time. My student really wanted to become an assistant in these sessions but did not have the confidence to do so. I had the opportunity to coach her into becoming comfortable with becoming an assistant and eventually leading live online sessions on her own. My proudest moment as a teacher was helping that student blossom and grow in confidence.”
Florida Virtual School prioritizes its relationships with districts, schools, and students above anything else. Jennifer still meets with her former student on a regular basis because of the relationship they formed. The main purpose of this organization is to serve students and place them at the center of every decision made. This becomes evident in the many stories of helping students, forming lasting relationships and providing alternative access to superior education for students of all types.
The dedication of the FLVS teaching staff far exceeds any other online program. As an online teacher, Jennifer strived to be accessible to her students in all time zones and to ensure their success. Florida Virtual School engrained a high level of communication between themselves and their students in order to keep relationships strong.
This amount of care and compassion is clearly reciprocated by participating schools and districts that they work with. Jennifer recalls that, “during Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, we got many calls and emails from clients from all over the country concerning the well-being and safety of our staff because we are based in Florida. People just wanted to know we were okay.”
Now as the Digital Education Consultant for the West territory, Jennifer interacts with districts, schools and students alike. Jennifer says, “I listen to the schools/districts needs and draw from my own experiences as an educator to provide them the best online educational solutions possible.” She loves traveling throughout her territory, seeing how education functions differently across the country, and applying the constant changes as education initiatives shift.
Jennifer stresses that Florida Virtual School is growing fast as students and families become much more receptive to online learning. Florida Virtual School experienced 400,000 enrollments in the last year alone, despite ongoing skepticism about online education. Because Florida Virtual School is a nonprofit organization, students and families feel like they are attending a regular school. Jennifer feels that, “It’s great to have pride in the company that I work for. We are very team oriented and are always putting the students first.”
This feature article was an assignment from the Strategic Writing and Media Relations class taught by John Mitchell at the University of Oregon. The course was designed to produce strategic content using appropriate journalistic style and storytelling skills while incorporating ethical practices in media relations. Each student chose a company and wrote a feature article that the client could use as a part of a media kit.