October 2019

Exciting News for Virtual Arkansas

Virtual Arkansas has received QM Certification of our Algebra I & English 12 courses!! We look forward to continuing our course certification process through @QMProgram K-12 Rubric Course Review.

#WeAREVirtualArkansas #VA4AllofAR

Student of the Month

Lucy Holland

Quitman High School

Lucy Holland is in my concurrent public speaking course. She is one of five children, and her family lost her mom to colon cancer, but that has not stopped her drive for success. Lucy comes to Zoom, she actively participates in lessons, and she takes her courses seriously. Lucy is her school's FBLA president and is an active member of Beta Club and SkillsUSA. She is an all-state athlete in basketball and a state-qualifier in track and cross country. In her recent narrative speech, she spoke about her mother and how she had to say goodbye too soon. At the end of her speech, she said, "Be thankful for your family and love them while you can. Because when they are gone, you’ll realize how much love you have left in your heart that you wish that you could give them.” Lucy hopes to receive a scholarship to attend Arkansas Tech University in the fall.

Nominated by: Samantha Carpenter Virtual Arkansas ELA Instructor

Facilitator of the Month

Angela Richardson

Woodlawn High School

About Me:

I have been married for 33 years to my husband Jackie. We have two girls Brittany and Kelsey who are married. I have a 2 year old granddaughter named Kinsley who I adore. (No one warned me enough about being a Nonna, I love it!)

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Cleveland County in a small community called Macedonia near Rison.

Why did you decide to work in education?

I love working with children.

What is the best part about being a facilitator?

Getting to know all of my students and seeing them succeed.

Position at Virtual AR:

I work at Woodlawn High School where I have been a facilitator for 16 years.

If you could give your students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be yourself, work hard to achieve your goals and always let God guide you.

Teacher of the Month

Tell us a little about your family:

My husband, Jeff, and I have been married for nearly 20 years, and we have three children—16-year old twin boys, Clay and Owen, and an 11-year old daughter, Cora. Clay and Owen are juniors at Conway High School and work at a Bulgogi, a Korean BBQ restaurant. Cora is in 6th grade at Simon Middle School and swims competitively for Aquakids Swim Team.

Position at Virtual Arkansas:

I have spent the last ten years teaching ELA courses on the secondary level, and I have taught nearly every ELA course possible. During my first two years, I taught in a traditional school district, and the last eight years, I have taught via distance/blended learning. I have taught for Virtual Arkansas for seven years, and I currently teach public speaking for concurrent credit; my students receive college credit through Arkansas Tech University. I also have the privilege of being the ELA collaborative team’s point of contact and serving on the Virtual Arkansas’ Leadership Team.


I attended the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas, and received a bachelor's degree in Radio, Television, and Film in 1997. I worked a year in television before deciding to go back to school at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where I received a master’s degree in Communication in December of 1999. I edited a building-trade publication for nearly ten years before embarking on Arkansas’ non-traditional teaching licensure. In December, I will graduate from Arkansas State University with an Ed.S. in Leadership.

Samantha Carpenter

Virtual Arkansas ELA Instructor

Where did you grow up?

Growing up, my family moved around quite a bit. When I was going into ninth grade, my family moved to Monticello, Arkansas, from Decatur, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. I am forever grateful for this move, and I claim Monticello as my hometown.

Why did you become a teacher?

One of my favorite duties as editor was teaching assistant editors the journalistic process, such as writing in Associated Press style. After working as an editor, the desire to teach became stronger, and in 2009, I received the opportunity to teach a college-level class, Multimedia Communication, at my undergraduate alma mater, University of the Ozarks. Teaching this course solidified my desire to go into education, and I began pursuing Arkansas’ non-traditional licensure. While I enjoyed teaching on the college level, I wanted to make a difference before students reached higher education, and I’m so happy I have been doing so for the last ten years.

What is the best part about being a teacher?

The best part of teaching is making a connection with students all over the state of Arkansas. I enjoy teaching them to become better communicators and watching them learn about one another through Virtual Arkansas’ blended-learning format. I love hearing from former students, and I find it a compliment when they ask me to critique a paper or presentation they have due for a college course.

If you could give your students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Persistence pays off. In high school, I was an A/B student (sometimes with the occasional C), and I had to study. I was not one of those students who could ace tests without studying. Working hard and commitment have served me well in academics and in my career, and I know these characteristics would serve students well, too.

A good book read...

In this section of our blog we are sharing what some of our Virtual Arkansas Educators are reading. Each month will have a book review by one of our own! We hope by sharing our love of reading with you, you may find a book to enjoy as well.


Dracula by Bram Stoker

Experience the story that has inspired multiple books, TV shows, and films, including: Twilight, Interview with a Vampire, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Lost Boys. Bram Stoker’s Dracula created many of the iconic legends associated with vampire tales today. Without Dracula, vampires would not transform into bats, garlic would not repel vampires, and the infectious vampire bite would not exist. Dracula created this lore and much more.

Stoker recounts the story of Count Dracula within the form of a documentary, which gives the illusion that the tale is based on personal accounts from different people. This allows the characters to relive their first-hand interactions with The Count. These documents are scavenged by Van Helsing and others as clues to help understand their enemy in order to hunt and attempt to kill the vampire.

Embark on an adventure with Van Helsing and others to stop the plague of vampires that lay in the aftermath of Dracula’s quest for blood and power. Will Van Helsing be able to stop Dracula? Will others fall victim to the Count’s power? Read Stoker’s innovative collection of accounts to discover the truth within the legend of Dracula.

Person Sharing: Kristopher CoxVirtual Arkansas Position: Instructor ELA | Concurrent Credit Campus