Friday, June 4, 2010

K12's Ron Packard Addresses COVA Teachers Today

Ron Packard, the founder and CEO of K12, spoke to a group of COVA (Colorado Virtual Academy) staff members assembled for a professional development day in Northglenn. Before Packard began speaking, COVA student Bryce Meyers presented him with a gift from the Student Council.

Packard spoke about the beginning of COVA ten years ago. He said the school opened in only two weeks. COVA was originally attached to The Academy of Charter Schools and then after several years, separated with its own charter from the Adams 12 School District. Colorado and Pennsylvania were the first two states to open virtual academies. Today K12 employs 2200 teachers and educates more than 70,000 students. In addition, there are 800 K12 central office staff.

Packard told the teachers that their relationship with their students and families was the biggest factor in K12's success. He said he thought he was starting an education curriculum company, but soon realized he'd started a company of teachers. K12 lists student retention and academic achievement as their two highest goals.

Packard said he wants to be in all 50 states within four years and is in 26 states right now. K12 is already in 51 countries and will be in China and Dubai soon. In addition, K12 is openings its first brick and mortar school this fall in San Francisco. In Chicago, the company operates a school for dropouts that is 15 hrs a week of being in the building and the rest are online classes.

One point that Packard kept emphasizing was that the top 50 largest school districts have a high school dropout rate of 50%, which he deemed unacceptable.

[Disclaimer: I am on the board of COVA.]

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