Students with medical conditions have anywhere, anytime access to learning
A blended learning program gives students who cannot attend traditional schools the opportunity to earn a high school diploma
Prince William County Public Schools’ Computer-Based Instruction (CBI) program uses a blended learning approach to educate middle and high school students who are unable to attend their base schools because of medical issues or disciplinary action or who are living in a juvenile detention center (JDC).
In order to meet the diverse needs of these students, the CBI program sought a flexible, user-friendly digital learning solution that was easily customizable. Administrators and teachers wanted to be able to tailor the courses by adding supplemental materials or assignments to ensure that students could meet district and state learning objectives.
The CBI program implemented GradPoint®, a set of online courses and services now part of the Pearson Connexus™ suite of offerings, in the summer of 2011, three weeks before its inaugural Summer Graduation Academy—a solution designed to help seniors meet graduation requirements. “We taught ourselves how to use GradPoint because there was no training available in that window of time,” recalled Leslie Johnson, transition coordinator, Office of Non-Traditional Education Opportunities. “We just kind of launched it and learned on the fly.”
The Summer Graduation Academy was a success. Subsequently, CBI program staff members have participated in several professional development sessions to learn more about GradPoint’s features. Teachers appreciate having the ability to customize courses, adding maps and links to other resources. They also like the reports, which help them track individual student progress, and the easy-to-use gradebook.
During the academic year, the CBI program uses a blended learning model for students who have received disciplinary action and who are no longer able to attend a traditional school program. Middle school students attend school in-person Mondays through Fridays. Students complete their assignments in GradPoint, and teachers are available to respond to questions.
High school students attend school in-person two nights a week. Although teachers who are certified in the content areas are present, “there is not a lot of direct instruction going on at the high school level,” explained Johnson. “The computer program kind of drives where things are and the teachers are there to
GradPoint meets the needs of our students and is user-friendly for our teachers.
Leslie Johnson, Transition Coordinator, Office of Non-Traditional Education Opportunities, Prince William County Public Schools
Students with medical issues or in a JDC learn primarily online. For these students, GradPoint’s flexibility is key. Joy Hill, medical point of contact for the CBI program, explained, “I’ve logged in and I’ve seen some of my kids who are undergoing chemotherapy working at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. They’re so sick when they get home from the doctor that they just want to sleep. But then they wake up and they are bored out of their skulls, so they go into GradPoint and get some of their class work done.”
Because GradPoint is Internet based, it allows kids to work anywhere. I’ve got kids in the hospital, and as long as they have a laptop and Internet service, they are working.
Joy Hill, Medical Point of Contact, CBI program, Prince William County Public Schools
“Feedback from students has been positive. They like the program interface because it is user-friendly,” Johnson commented. “GradPoint is vibrant. It’s pretty to look at. It’s easy to maneuver. The videos are embedded. The kids can go back and review content if they need to.”
The blended learning CBI program has given many students the opportunity to graduate from high school. Since GradPoint was implemented in 2011, the graduation rate for students under disciplinary action has increased thirteen points to 96 percent. The Summer Graduation Academy has also been a success. In 2016, of the 169 students who participated in the summer program, all but one completed the courses they needed to graduate.
In addition to the CBI program and the Summer Graduation Academy, several schools in the Prince William County district are using GradPoint in their intervention, credit recovery, and alternative high school programs. Several middle schools are also using the solution for remediation and special education.
To learn more about CBI’s blended learning program, read the full success story.Read the full success story
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