February 11, 2013 (From CCA Blog)

Colorado Cyber School Families Celebrate Colorado Cyberschool Day at the Capitol

On February 6, 2012, Colorado Cyber School Families celebrated Digital Learning Day by gathering at the History Colorado Center for interactive activities and then marching to the State Capitol for Colorado's annual Cyberschools Day at the Capitol.

We were joined on the West Steps of the capitol by several of our Education Champions who each shared remarks.

Amanda Heiney, Senior Consultant in the Office of Online and Blended Learning at the Colorado Department of Education shared remarks about the growth in online from 2003 when there were 9 full time online schools in Colorado to today with 3000 students enrolled. Today there are over 16,000 students enrolled in 35 full-time online schools. There are 47 districts offering some kind of full time online option.

Amanda credited the online learners as being instrumental in highlighting the need for ALL students to have access to high-quality personalized learning.

She spoke about the fact that they at CDE had conducted 4 research studies & reports about online, blended and digital learning.

She encouraged parents to do their research about the different schools and instructional models. Use the CDE website. She stressed that parents are the most important advocates for their students and their schools.

For teachers she recognized that they play the most important role in customizing each student's education.

For students she stressed that they have a rare opportunity to directly influence their own learning. She encouraged them to work hard, dream big.

Senator Mark Scheffel, Assistant Minority Leader and member of the Senate Education Committee talked about the right and responsibility of parents to choose for their students and their family what is best. He acknowledged that the people today in the digital learning community were leading the way. He encouraged all to stay the course and do what was in the best interest of their students.

Gov. Hickenlooper's Deputy Chief of Staff, Jamie Van Leewuenwas there to help celebrate Digital Learning Day read the Proclamation from the Governor and presented it to CCA. In addition each of the CCA member schools were recognized as leaders and presented a personalized certificate for their role in pioneering and advancing digital learning in Colorado.

Rachel Salzano, COVA HS Graduate read her Essay regarding the benefits of having been an online student and how she benefits from the learnings in her post-secondary pursuits.

Rep Paul Rosenthal is a Special Education teacher in the Denver public schools. His remarks were regarding the benefit in choice and having options for students. He recognized the families in their choice in education.

We also had two students read their persuasive letters to the legislators-the students were both 10th graders from Branson School Online.

Each had their own distinct reasons for participating in online and were passionate in their messages to legislators to support and value this educational option.

This annual event was hosted by the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families and the Colorado Cyberschool Association; the two organizations collaborate and partner to make events like this possible for our Colorado Cyber School Families.