(Raleigh, N.C., June 13, 2016) — The North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) is pleased to announce that Teresa Heffelfinger has been selected as the 2016 NCVPS e-Learning Advisor of the Year. Her leadership and support at Shelby High School in Cleveland County Schools have been exemplary. Please join us in congratulating her.
Heffelfinger has been a counselor for twenty-seven years. She has been the e-learning advisor (ELA) at her school since NCVPS opened in the summer of 2007. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Secondary Education from Appalachian State University, a Master of Arts degrees in Spanish from Appalachian State University, and a Master of Arts in School Counseling from Gardner-Webb University.
To Support Shelby High’s online students, Heffelfinger initiated a team approach that includes a lab facilitator, a school administrator, and ELA. “The three of us work together to meet student needs, ensure good communication with all stakeholders and most importantly to encourage and support our students,” said Heffelfinger.
Heffelfinger’s efforts have helped build a strong reputation for online learning with the students, parents, central office, community and faculty at Shelby High. “NCVPS is a trusted opportunity for students,” said Heffelfinger. “We are able to enroll students who have health issues, scheduling issues, particular disabilities such as anxiety that make classroom situations very difficult, as well as students who desire a challenge themselves above and beyond what we are able to offer here.”
The key goal for Heffelfinger is student success, and her support efforts have been effective. “We have a pass rate of over 98%. We use peer tutors and student recognition to encourage students to stay on track in their courses,” said Heffelfinger
Heffelfinger credits her school’s principals, both past and present, with being an integral part of her and her school’s success. “They have been open to suggestions, willing to listen to the possibilities and willing to take chances on opportunities that impact student success and learning.”
Heffelfinger also credits NCVPS for its positive approach to putting students first. “It encourages me daily to do the very best I can do,” she said. “My team – Shawanda Thompson our lab facilitator and Megan Fuller our assistant principal who works with me to support these students – definitely contribute to the success of our program and students.”
Heffelfinger has valuable advice for other ELAs. “Build a team to help you support your students. We have many roles outside of the ELA responsibilities. We can’t do it all,” said Heffelfinger.
Communication can be a challenge in any e-learning program. At Shelby High School, Heffelfinger has made clear and consistent communication a key element in the success of their program. “Stay involved with our staff, parents, and students,” said Heffelfinger.
Heffelfinger is excited about linking her school’s one-to-one initiative, which provides laptops for all students, to NCVPS’s new mastery learning program where students can work at their own pace to either accelerate learning or to remediate for success. “If that happens, I can see the possibility for every student to experience at some level of online learning opportunities,” said Heffelfinger.
NCVPS would also like to recognize our other finalist for the 2016 ELA of the Year Award, Lori Herring. Herring is the ELA and facilitator at John T. Hoggard High School in New Hanover County. Hoggard had a 95% pass rate this spring with over 400 NCVPS enrollments.
Both finalists demonstrated the highest degree of commitment to student success and e-learning in their schools. Their portfolios and interviews were a testament to their commitment, dedication, and professionalism.
The NCVPS E-Learning Advisor Award recognizes an ELA whose innovative practices serve as a model for other schools or districts. Their practices improve the overall effectiveness of online learning and contribute to the success of students taking NCVPS courses. NCVPS staff and teachers nominate ELAs for the award. Nominees are then invited to submit a portfolio that showcases their e-learning program.
NCVPS would also like to extend congratulations to the other top nominees who went through the portfolio process:
- Kristy Prokop – Isaac Bear Early College High School & Mosley PLC
- Kathryne Capps – Croatan High School
- Kay Oswald -Lake Norman High School
Each candidate submitted detailed portfolios that reflected the excellent work and great success at their schools. Nominees with the top two portfolios were then invited to an interview where a winner was selected.
About the North Carolina Virtual Public School
The North Carolina Virtual Public School is the nation’s second largest state-led virtual school with over 55,000 enrollments from all 115 school districts and many charter schools during the 2015-2016 school year. NCVPS offers over 150 different courses as a supplement to the local high school course catalogue and includes Advanced Placement, Occupational Course of Study, electives, traditional, honors and credit recovery courses. All courses are taught by teachers certified in North Carolina and provide strategies for active student engagement through a variety of technology tools. Teachers are required to make personal contact with students and parents regularly to maximize the student-teacher relationship. Courses are free to students who enroll through their local North Carolina public school. NCVPS is available to home-schooled and private school students for a minimal fee. By virtue of online course delivery, students now have access to rigorous courses and high-quality teachers regardless of ZIP code.