Making the Blended Learning Choice

Contributor: 
Jerry Brodsky

When making a decision to implement or expand a blended learning program, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the vast amount of information available. The number of vendors offering online curriculum and instructional services grows every year. So, how do you make a decision on which one to use? How do you sift through all the material on your desk and finally make a choice?

Just Do It

Here are some steps to help you cut through the clutter when selecting a blended learning provider:

Step 1: Decide Your Focus

What do you hope to accomplish through implementing blended learning in your school or district? Write down your goals...

Pivoting to Blended Education with Remarkable Success

Contributor: 
Katherine Anderson

Pivot Charter School Tampa (PCS) is a 6–12 grade site-based charter school in Tampa, FL, with an enrollment of 300 students. The school employs a blended learning model, combining one-to-one teaching with a traditional education environment.

The Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, the 8th largest school district in the United States, sponsored Pivot Charter School because it wanted a blended learning option located within the district, where students could work at their own pace and take elective courses not offered at their traditional middle or senior high schools.

PCS opened in August 2011, and later began using Fuel Education curriculum in January 2014. This transition ignited measurements of success for the school. From June 2014 to August 2014, PCS’s retention rate was 78 percent, which improved to 81 percent from June 2015 to August 2015. PCS’s graduation rate increased from 61 percent in 2013 to 80 percent in 2015. PCS also bested state averages across the board in the 2015 Math assessments.

The Impact of Pikes Peak Early College

Contributor: 
Fuel Education

A semester has passed, and life at the newly established Pikes Peak Early College has settled into a routine. This unique blended learning, early college program is having a profound impact on staff, administrators, and especially students as they reach new academic heights and grow personally.

Reaching these new heights takes support from all those around. The tight-knit PPEC community is like a family that permeates all aspects of the educational experience and has emerged as a key aspect that impacts all. The unique rapport between students, teachers, counselors, and administrators creates an atmosphere where everyone flourishes, both personally and professionally.

Career Credentials: Helping Students Go for the Gold at Every Distance

Contributor: 
Fuel Education

The new paradigm of career and technical education (CTE) is that every student can benefit from it, whether they're chasing a well-paying career right out of high school or pursuing a postsecondary degree. Even the federal government's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed into law a year ago recognizes that new reality. The Act adds CTE to the definition of a well-rounded education, bringing it into the spotlight previously reserved for traditional subjects like English and math.

Follow a New Blended Learning School through its First Year

Contributor: 
Fuel Education

This is your chance to experience the launch of an innovative blended school.

Join the year-long journey as students, faculty, and staff reach for new heights at Pikes Peak Early College (PPEC) in Peyton, Colorado.  This newly established school for grades 9 through 12+2 uniquely prepares students from diverse backgrounds for college and career through flexible and individualized blended learning, combined with free early college options. PPEC's goal is to increase completion of college courses, associate's degrees, and certifications, while reducing high school remediation rates. PPEC's faculty and staff members empower students to seamlessly transition from high school to college by facilitating personalized, flexible blended online and traditional pathways emphasizing self-directed learning. They accomplish this using Fuel Education's broad catalog of online curriculum and their award-winning, open technology platform, PEAK.

Tune in to view our Year One Video Blog and see firsthand how the program works from the perspective of students, staff, and administrators. See the successes and challenges that arise during a remarkable first year.

Innovative Blended Learning Educator Wins EPA Award

Contributor: 
Katherine Anderson

How can you become an award-winning educator by incorporating online and blended learning into your curriculum? Ask Mona Cloys, an experienced alternative program coordinator, science teacher, and online instructor for the Lake County DOOR Program, and coordinator for the alternative high school diploma program offered at Lake County High School in Leadville, Colorado.

Cloys was one of 18 teachers recently honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) with the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE). The prestigious PIAEE award was established to recognize innovative educators who integrate environmental learning into their classrooms using hands-on, experiential approaches. Up to two teachers from each of EPA's 10 regions are selected to receive this award each year. Cloys and the other 2015/2016 PIAEE winners were recognized at a ceremony at the White House on August 16, 2016.

Bending the Rules of Time and Space

Contributor: 
Katherine Anderson

Education has, for the most part, been beholden to the rules and regulations of a factory-model classroom since the 19th century. This traditional educational model, premised on lawfulness and orderliness, set stringent standards on when, where, and how students were educated in public schools and beyond. 

With the advent of the computer age came a chance to break free from this limiting tradition. Digital resources and technologies have now ushered in innovative learning possibilities. Schools have begun to move away from the traditional factory-model classroom by altering the rules of time and space

You Can Do That Online? 5 Teaching Strategy Tips

Contributor: 
Kelli Hicks

One of the great myths of online education is that you can’t use the same teaching strategies you use in a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom. You can, and they are just as effective online as they are in the face-to-face setting! You just have to know how to adapt them. Here are a few tips you can use:

  1. Put it to song. When I was a high school student, my math teacher put the quadratic formula to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel” and I have never forgotten it. That one little song helped me pass that quarter of math because so much of the curriculum depended on that formula. In an online setting, you can give this type of trick an immortal status. Record yourself singing the song and post the digital file to your course. This could be posted as an announcement when the students reach that part of the curriculum. It can live permanently in your resources area of the course. You can even embed it in the unit so that it is part of the students' lesson.

The Wright Way: Students Achieve Success Online

Contributor: 
Katherine Anderson

Open since the fall of 2005, Wright City Academy provides online alternative education and credit recovery programs for at-risk high school students attending Wright City High School. The school, serving approximately 419 students in grades 9 through 12, is located in a rural setting near St. Louis, Missouri, and is part of the Wright City R-11 school district.

Wright City Academy is a unique online and blended learning program that is helping struggling students become independent and successful learners. It provides a full day, online alternative high school program for students who seek a different path or are unsuccessful in the regular high school. It also includes an online credit recovery program. Students in the credit recovery program take courses in computer labs managed by Wright City High School teachers, who provide one-to-one tutoring and assistance to each student.

Dropout Prevention: The Power of Blended and Online Credit Recovery

Contributor: 
Katherine Anderson

Did you know 2 out of every 10 students drop out of school? This stark reality is the combination of many factors, occurring over several years, which leads to a student's gradual disengagement from their academic journey until they fall behind and drop out.

October is National Dropout Prevention Month—an annual observance designed by the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network at Clemson® University.  The center's hope is that the month will provide a time to focus on increasing awareness of the long-term effects on students, the economy, and society when students drop out of school. While progress in reducing school dropout rates has been made, the need for greater awareness and better methods of remediation still exist.

The effects of dropping out of school are far-reaching. 

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