Behind the Scenes

Savannah WaszczukAccess Launch, Meet a Staffer

What’s it like to work for Launch? We joined Launch Digital Developer Nicki Dickson for a day of writing online courses.

7:20 a.m.:  While the Launch office doesn’t officially open until 7:30 a.m., Launch Digital Developer Nicki Dickson is already at her desk and working 10 minutes prior. “I had to drop my girls off early this morning,” she says, referring to her three daughters. “I just came in right after to get started.”

8:53 a.m.: “Yes, I’m finishing up Unit 2 right now,” Nicki says to Dr. Nichole Lemmon, Launch’s Director of Digital Learning. The two were discussing Launch’s Spanish III course. “As a course developer, one of my main jobs is to work with teachers and the curriculum team and transform seated courses into an online format,” Nicki says. Nicki has written dozens of virtual courses since she started working for Springfield Public Schools Online in September 2015, and she has been with Launch since it began.

10:38 a.m.: After Nicki hangs up the phone, she walks to the storage closet to grab a Garmin heart rate monitor. “I have to run this to a student up front,” she says. Nicki wrote all of Launch’s physical fitness and physical education courses, and they all use Garmin monitors to track student heart rates as a part of the curriculum. Launch provides all physical education students a Garmin to use during their time in the course. In summer 2019, more than 2,000 students earned physical education credits online with Launch.

12:42 p.m.: “Man, that was good,” says Nicki, who just finished eating lunch with fellow Launch Quality Assurance Specialist Linda Ayres. They had nachos from Q’Doba—one of her favorite spots!

2:19 p.m.: “Traditional Virtual and Credit Recovery versions of Algebra I? I can do that,” Nicki says. She is talking to Launch’s Marketing & Engagement manager, Savannah Waszczuk, who asked her to set up a demo account for a potential Launch partner district. “I create demo accounts for school districts so they can see what our courses look like,” Nicki says. “They get to work their way through the course as a student would.”

2:26 p.m.: Nicki spends the next hour preparing for a webinar she has tomorrow. “Launch partner districts have the option to use our teacher or their own teacher for their credit recovery courses,” Nicki says. “When they use their teachers, we have to train them. I’m in charge of that.”

4:03 p.m.: Nicki grabs her backpack and heads out the door. She’s off to spend time with husband, Donnie, and daughters, Kyonna, Da’Mya and Jayla. “It’s another busy night,” Nicki says. “We have gymnastics later, but now I have to get Kyonna to volleyball practice!”