Catherine Vila, of Grand Haven, named 2021 Online Mentor of the Year

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LANSING, Mich. — Catherine Vila, of Grand Haven, Mich. has been named the 2021 Michigan Virtual Online Mentor of the Year — an annual distinction given to mentors of online students who have demonstrated excellence and made a positive impact on student success in the online classroom.

“All Michigan Virtual students receive a trained and engaged mentor to provide additional, customized support with their academic needs, and of equal importance, the social and emotional support to succeed,” said Jamey Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Michigan Virtual. “With all of the challenges surrounding education the past year, such as students facing anxiety, missing the classroom and their friends, and struggling with their studies, Catherine Vila has proven to be an effective and caring mentor for her students, and serves as a shining example of the benefit that having a mentor provides in an online setting.”

“Catherine Vila has proven to be an effective and caring mentor for her students, and serves as a shining example of the benefit that having a mentor provides in an online setting.”

Jamey Fitzpatrick, President & CEO of Michigan Virtual

Since 2015, Michigan Virtual has annually honored outstanding mentors of online students through this award. Vila, a Spanish Immersion Teacher with Zeeland Public Schools since 2019, places an emphasis on truly caring about her students in addition to supporting their academic success:

“I made a commitment to get to know them personally, and to find something unique to love about each of them so I could form a solid relationship with my students. My goal was not only to give them mentor support in their studies, but also social and emotional support. I love inspiring them, motivating them, and advocating for them. They have learned self-discipline, organizational skills, effective time management and digital skills. They have learned how to navigate an online learning system. These skills will have an impact on them in the coming years,” said Vila. 

“I made a commitment to get to know them personally, and to find something unique to love about each of them so I could form a solid relationship with my students.”

Catherine Vila

Vila earned her Michigan Teacher Secondary Certification in Spanish and ESL from Aquinas College. She previously held positions with the West Michigan Alliance of Immersion Educators, Innocademy, East Grand Rapids High School, and Wyoming Public Schools.

Since its inception in 2015, 15 mentors have received the distinction of being named a Michigan Virtual Online Mentor of the Year. Mentors of the Year are nominated by Michigan Virtual instructors who are in regular contact with school mentors regarding student progress and success. Among the criteria to be nominated, educators must be a positive and proactive communicator with instructors and parents, assist and act as an ambassador for students to ensure their success, and more. This distinguished award was created to set a bar for excellence and put a face to the incredible mentors in the digital learning community. Learn more about Michigan Virtual mentors at michiganvirtual.org/mentors

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About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual™ (formally known as Michigan Virtual University®) provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®. As a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years of experience, Michigan Virtual is Michigan’s leading voice in online education. Visit us at michiganvirtual.org.

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Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.