Keep students engaged to help them thrive

Originally published in The Richmond Times-Dispatch – September 14, 2019

Students today have so many distractions — social media, binge-watching and texting, to name just a few. In order to help reduce these distractions, my daily goal as a teacher is to get and keep them engaged. One of the most important ways I do this is by ensuring their parents, learning coaches and guardians share in their academic success.

Some people underestimate the impact that relationship building can have on a student’s ability to learn. This is especially vital at an online school like Virginia Virtual Academy. That’s why this time of year is one of my favorite times. Throughout the months of August and September, I get the chance to really know my students and their families. Whether we’re discussing their favorite activities, how they learn best or a challenging assignment, I strive to build real, genuine relationships with them because I want them to know I’m in their corner; I’m on their side.

Every student, like every adult, wants to know that other people care about him. With their families and teachers as their own personal cheerleaders, students can really start and end the school year strong.

Jessica Carter,

Teacher, Virginia Virtual Academy

To learn more about Virginia Virtual Academy, visit

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