Michelle Berray: Reaching Students in New Ways

After taking a year off of teaching mathematics, Michelle Berray found herself wanting to return to educating kids. She began to research online teaching opportunities and found a professional home at the California Virtual Academies. Michelle has never looked back.

“I can go back to a bricks and mortar school fairly easily if I wanted to. I just have no interest,” said Michelle, who is a homeroom instructor at CAVA. “I’m very happy with my job with CAVA.”

Michelle, who taught in the traditional public school system for nine years, said CAVA, with the curriculum provided by K12, allows her to reach her students and connect with their parents in ways that weren’t possible at traditional bricks and mortar schools.

“(Parents) never really had close relationships with any teachers,” she said about her CAVA families. “I make it very welcoming so that they know they can reach out to me if they have any questions.”

Michelle’s homeroom is comprised of small groups of students who are often in need of special help. She credits the small group sessions with giving her the opportunity to get to know her students on a more personal level than what is normally available in other school systems.

“One of my main priorities is to really get to know my homeroom families. When I do, I have this opportunity to help a family in a way that most of them have never felt help,” she said.

Michelle goes above and beyond to help train new CAVA educators to be fluent in the K12 curriculum and aids them in adapting to the culture of the academies. “If we make CAVA full of teachers that are incredibly happy with what they’re doing and understand why we do what we do, then I think that we’ve done a good job,” she exclaimed.

Michelle says that CAVA is a lifeline for students who often experience trauma at bricks and mortar schools because of bullying or various other health problems.

“This is such a great opportunity for them,” she said. Michelle added that CAVA is equally valuable for educators, like herself, because it allows her to be a fierce advocate for the families.

“I would be so devastated if CAVA were taken away from me,” she said. For kids with special needs, bullied kids, and those who fail to thrive in bricks and mortar classrooms, CAVA, equipped with the state-of-the-art curriculum and passionate educators provided by K12, is an important school choice.

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