The Washington Education Innovation Forum recently hosted Jeff Kerscher, Site Manager of Seton Education Partners’ Phaedrus Initiative and Scott Benson, Program Officer at the Gates Foundation, as part of their 2013 Forum Series. Over the last 40 years, Catholic schools have been disappearing fast and if this trend continues, over 3,000 urban Catholic schools will cease to exist. The goal of the Seton Education Partners’ Phaedrus Initiative, which helps Catholic schools in low income areas of the U.S., is to reduce school operating cost and increase enrollment. Specifically, the Phaedrus Initiative focuses on the use educational technology to substantially reduce operating costs and increase the academic performance of students. Seton Education Partners strive to offer families, regardless of income, an individualized preschool through eighth-grade education.

With the help of Seton Education Partners’ Phaedrus Initiative, Saint Therese Catholic Academy, a Catholic school in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood, was saved from closure. Saint Therese is the first blended technology learning Catholic school in the Northwest. St. Therese is one of only two Catholic schools in the country chosen by Seton Education Partners to adopt this proven, cutting edge blended learning education model. St. Therese has been a huge success for Seton Education Partners. Since the initiation of the blended learning model, enrollment at St. Therese has increased by nearly 20% and the per person operating cost has reduced.

Seton Education Partners’ success with blended learning can be attributed to their relentlessness focus on evaluating digital content, focusing on student data, developing student incentive systems, and working with teachers to best leverage the benefits of blended learning. For schools that are interested in adapting blended learning, Kerscher recommends to “start researching before you dive in, there are a lot of different blended learning models and platforms, you need to find what is right for your school before investing in blended learning.”

To learn more about Seton Education Partners’ Phaedrus Initiative please click here and/or watch the video below.

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