At the International Association for K-12 Online Learning’s (iNACOL) Virtual School Symposium (VSS) this week in New Orleans, K12 Inc. honored five schools for its Transformation Award.
Award-winning schools included:
- Alexandria City Public Schools for Increasing Learning Options and Graduation Rates by Further Extending Learning Opportunities
- A.B. Graham Academy for Combining Blended Learning With Hands-on Support to Raise District Performance
- Provo City School District for Leveraging Online Learning Success to Give Local Students a Global Outlook
- Salinas Union High School District for Flexible Time and Place Learning Options Raise District-Wide Completion Among At-risk Students; and
- VISNET Virtual Independent School Network for Removing Barriers to High Quality Learning Resources for Independent Schools.
Alexandria City Public Schools
Transformation Award Winner:
Increasing Learning Options and Graduation Rates by Further Extending Learning Opportunities
Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia is no stranger to online learning. Since 2007, the city’s renowned T.C. Williams High School – which is featured in the film, “Remember the Titans” – has offered a successful program for students wanting to take electives online. When the program started, the school had no idea how important online learning would become.
In 2010, the Virginia Department of Education designated Alexandria-based T.C. Williams High School a persistently low achieving (PLA) school. Although not a failing school, more than half of students are eligible for free or reduced meals and more than 20 percent require English Language Learners (ELL) services. Further, the school has experienced very high growth in its student population over the past 5 years. As part of the school’s “reform and transformation” plan to address the PLA issues, administrators decided that online learning could help solve some real challenges.
As part of its PLA transformation strategy, one of the school’s primary goals was to extend learning and to increase graduation rates. Under the guidance of Online Learning Coordinator Mary Fluharty, and with the strong support of district administration, T.C. Williams now offers a full program of online courses that include AP, core, electives, world languages, online tutoring, and health and life skills using the K12 family of curricula.
In addition, this fall ACPS launched the T.C. Satellite Campus, the first comprehensive, non-traditional satellite high school campus in Northern Virginia. The satellite offers K12’s Aventa curriculum, flexible scheduling, internships, and one-on-one interaction with Content-Specific Learning Coaches. The T.C. Satellite Campus is designed to meet the needs of students who require additional schedule flexibility because of family or work obligations, or students who want to accelerate their learning and get to college faster. With the addition of the satellite, the school now believes it can truly meet the individual needs of every student.
Recent efforts have begun to show results. For example, last year’s dropout rate fell, and 84 percent of last year’s graduates went on to college. This year AP enrollment is at an all-time high. And while the PLA transformation strategy is not yet complete, ACPS is certainly on the right track.
We are very pleased to recognize Alexandria City Public Schools today with a Transformation Award for further extending learning options, increasing flexibility for students, and increasing graduation rates.
A.B. Graham Academy
Transformation Award Winner:
Combining Blended Learning with Hands-on Support to Raise District Performance
Located in the nation’s heartland, A.B. Graham Academy in Ohio is a full-time, blended middle and high school with a state-wide charter. Since 2009, the school has provided the Aventa Learning by K12 online curriculum along with access to five computer labs to approximately 140 students each year. As part of the program, A.B. Graham provides district teachers within the school lab and classroom environment.
Led by Scott Howell, A.B. Graham Academy’s Principal and Director, the school has implemented some unique ways to ensure student success. First, the school labs and classrooms are open to students Monday through Thursday. While students can work from home, the school is typically packed during these days. Friday is the school’s “Compass Day,” or day to work from home on Aventa lessons, OAT (Ohio Achievement Tests) practice tests, or to read the novel they are required to always have on hand. If students need extra help, the school is open to them on Fridays.
Each week, students are introduced to new lessons on Monday and are given until Sunday evening to complete them. If they finish early, they can move on, or they can get additional help and spend more time on completing the lesson.
The school considers their teachers a critical component of their program’s success. There are three high school teachers – one Math teacher, one intervention specialist and one instructional aide. Each lab is designed to foster teacher support, including ample space at the front of the room for teaching lessons, as well as tables and chairs for small group lessons.
A.B. Graham’s model enables both teachers and students to focus on education, and minimizes the day-to-day distractions that middle and high school students usually battle. And so far, this model has proven to be successful, as the school has raised its Ohio District Performance Index for the past three years.
We are very pleased to recognize A.B. Graham Academy today with a Transformation Award for combining blended learning with hands-on support to raise district performance.
Provo City School District
Transformation Award Winner:
Leveraging Online Learning Success to Give Local Students a Global Outlook
Providing online learning for just three years, the Provo City School District has already been recognized by the state of Utah for the Provo eSchool, the district’s highly successful full-time online and blended school for grades K-12.
Under the direction of Dr. Greg Hudnall, Associate Superintendent, and Allyson Barry, Administrator, the Provo eSchool uses K12 and Aventa curricula as part of a rich online program for students who live throughout the state. Students have the opportunity to take their classes within the traditional brick-and-mortar schools, and online at any location, including home. Online students can opt to eat lunch, check out library books, participate in sports, and be part of their local school. This level of flexibility has provided hundreds of students with more options to meet their individual needs.
A few years ago, PCSD faced the challenge of providing students access to foreign language education. With limited resources, and challenged by its geographic location between Utah’s largest school district and a mid-sized neighbor, the district found that attracting and retaining qualified foreign language teachers was not easy, and not cost-effective for those languages that garner lower enrollment. However, the District was determined to arm its students with the skills they need to be competitive in a 21st Century global marketplace.
Last year, PCSD introduced Elite Language Academy. Taking advantage of its success and experience with online learning through the Provo eSchool, the district now provides students across the state with multiple dual immersion and online options spanning seven languages. The Elite Language Academy is based on curriculum from K12’s partner, Middlebury Interactive Languages. Today, more than 400 students are taking world languages through the Elite Language Academy and eProvo School.
We are very pleased to recognize Provo City School District today with a Transformation Award for leveraging online learning success to give local students a global outlook.
Salinas Union High School District
Transformation Award Winner:
Flexible Time and Place Learning Options Raise District-Wide Credit Completion among At-Risk Students
Salinas Union High School District in California has a high concentration of at-risk students. With a student population of 60% English Language Learners and 70% qualified for Title I funding, boosting credit completion is no easy task.
After a successful summer program implementation during 2011, when 144 students earned 720 credits, the district decided to implement a district-wide Credit Recovery program using the Aventa Learning by K12 curriculum. Their approach was to provide different options for students at each of the four comprehensive high schools and two alternative schools.
The options for high school include:
- A hybrid model in which students can work online during class time and with a mentor during their advisory period in the school library;
- Classes before or after school; or
- A Self-contained, 4-hour credit recovery class, for targeted at-risk students.
The district also offered different approaches in their alternative schools, where more than 25% of students are parents and can take advantage of onsite child care. One school offered online courses during the school day, and the other offered online courses in an Algebra 1 class with a math teacher.
For all of these programs, the district uses iNACOL standards for measuring online teachers, online courses, and the effectiveness of program implementations. Further, Salinas has implemented a unique onboarding process to ensure students are engaged in the program. During the first few weeks of the online program, teachers and administrators meet with students to check that they are engaged, understand how to navigate the online programs, and are familiar with the tools. They have found that this process dramatically increases completion rates.
After one year, the district has seen excellent results, with 465 students successfully recovering credits.
We are very pleased to recognize Salinas Union High School District today with a Transformation Award for providing flexible learning options to raise district-wide credit completion among at-risk students.
VISnet – Virtual Independent School Network
Transformation Award Winner:
Removing Barriers to High Quality Online Learning Resources for Independent Schools
The Virtual Independent School Network, VISnet, is an online learning and professional development consortium supported by independent school associations. VISnet provides its member schools with access to top quality online resources, such as online courses, blended learning content, learning management systems, and academic support, as well as professional development opportunities. All services are fully vetted by independent school experts and, by pooling resources, are made available to members in a cost-efficient way.
Before this year, only independent schools in North Carolina had access to such a wealth of online resources.
VISnet is the result of the visionaries at the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools, who understand very well that in order for independent schools across the nation to provide their students with a 21st century education, they must have easy, cost-effective access to a wealth of online learning resources. Having already served over half of their member schools in North Carolina, with more than 1,800 enrollments in online and blended course options last year, NCAIS knew it needed to expand its services – and quickly.
VISnet opened its doors for business just a little over two years ago and now serves three additional states: Florida, South Carolina, and Virginia. In addition to online options for specialty courses, learning management systems, academic support, and professional services, VISnet makes available to its schools the award-winning K12 curriculum, Aventa curriculum and Middlebury Interactive Languages. Further, VISnet broadened its suite of online learning options with the addition of Middlebury Interactive Languages.
We are very pleased to recognize VISnet today with a Transformation Award for removing barriers to high quality online learning for independent schools.