Tallahassee, FL – Julie Young, one of the nation’s pioneers in developing digital learning, announced her retirement from Florida Virtual School today (Feb. 6).
Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, praised her accomplishments, saying: “Julie took a small start-up called Florida Virtual School and from that she created a national model for unleashing the power of 21st century digital technology in public education. Julie has earned the rare title of visionary, and students from around the world are excelling in the virtual classrooms she helped create.’’
FLVS was created in 1997 by legislation pushed by then House Speaker Dan Webster, now a U.S. Congressman, and signed by Gov. Lawton Chiles. It was, as Rep. Webster called it, “a novel experiment’’ in using computers for classrooms. The first year, 77 students signed up.
An advocate of using technology to enhance education, Gov. Bush saw the school’s potential and became one of its biggest backers after assuming office in 1999. FLVS grew to become the top online-course provider in America, now serving about 148,000 students and 300,000 part time students throughout Florida, all 50 states, and 65 countries. Student alumni include Olympians, actors, and musicians.
Along the way, FLVS won numerous awards for innovation and quality, and expanded to offer more than 120 courses. In addition to the core subjects, FLVS offers foreign languages — including Chinese — Driver’s Ed, and 15 Advanced Placement courses.
FLVS was founded on the belief that every student is unique and learns at a different pace. Student advancement is based on successful completion of the course material – not on “seat time” in a classroom.
Last year, its students performed higher than the state average on all four state-created end-of-course exams.