School Support Leads to Student Success
Pam Willcox recognized her daughter’s exceptional abilities early on. But it would be a while before she found the school support that allowed Kelsey to reach her full potential.
“Pretty much from the beginning…it was her drive, her passion, her intellect,” Pam says.
The list of Kelsey’s talents and accomplishments as a teenager are impressive: learning four languages, going overseas on two summer medical mission trips that she funded herself, starring in musical theater roles, selling handmade jewelry to raise money for causes, and winning a coveted Coca-Cola college scholarship (to name a few).
But had it not been for going to an online public school, says Pam, “I really don’t know how things would have turned out. K12 is literally responsible for how Kelsey has blossomed … I give credit to her teachers and counselors. I was just the coach.”
Kelsey agrees. She says, “K12 is the best thing I’ve ever done for my education and my future. I will be eternally grateful. They were the first people to believe in me.”
Kelsey is just finishing high school at an online school in the K12 network, the Colorado Virtual Academy (COVA), where she’s spent the past four years. Before that, in a traditional elementary school, Pam says, “the teachers stifled her learning.” They tried a private school, but it was too expensive. Then it was back to middle school where, says Pam, “it was 45 minute bus rides each way and the typical middle school girl drama.”
One day, Kelsey came home and said she’d had enough. Since Pam worked from home, at first they were able to do homeschooling, but as high school approached it was clear they needed something more. A friend had switched to COVA and loved the challenge and flexibility. “We looked into it,” says Pam, “And were pleasantly surprised. Everything was top notch.”
From the start, Kelsey’s learning plans were geared to her, and only her. “I could pursue what I wanted to, at the right level and pace and rigor,” she says. With a talent for languages, she was able to take Latin, then German, Japanese, and even Chinese. With a strong interest in a medical career, she dove into high level science and math courses. “I love how involved the teachers are with students, and how they grade on such an individual basis.”
Beyond sheer academics and the teachers who “want kids to love learning,” Kelsey and Pam extol the virtues of an education that celebrates and supports the individual. “K12 allowed Kelsey to focus on herself and find out who she was.”
Michael Solow has worked as a teacher, journalist, and commercial writer/creative director. Michael has also taught high school English and junior high math, gaining his teaching certification from Vassar College and a master's degree in the teaching of writing and literature from George Mason University. His writing has been published in the New York Times, the San Francisco Review of Books, TheMorningNews.org, and the Hemingway Review. He is the proud dad of two grown daughters and the happy husband of an elementary school librarian.