In one semester, students in Nye County’s alternative education school have completed twice as many class credits as they did for the entire 2012-13 school year.
Karen Hills, the school’s principal, attributes her students’ success to the way the school has retooled its blended learning model, which includes online curriculum from Odysseyware.
“We knew there was much more we could be doing to leverage Odysseyware with our students, which led us to reexamine our blended learning model as a whole,” Hills said.
Previously, students were given all of their courses for the year and were asked to spend 20 hours a week working on whatever courses they chose. To get the full student experience, Hills enrolled herself in six online courses – a typical load for her students.
“Given the choice between so many courses, I found myself thinking, ‘I don’t want to do math today,’ or ‘oh, my favorite show is on!’ It was hard to stay focused,” Hills said. “I knew if I was struggling to get the work done, my students were too.”
After Hills’ experiment, she and her staff changed the structure of their blended learning program to address the challenges she faced. Students are now given three weeks to work on one course at a time.
“Now our kids can really focus on getting their courses done,” said Hills. “Once they realize they’re actually in charge of their own success, they step up and take ownership of their learning.”
Currently, Hills has 123 high school students enrolled in Odysseyware courses at her campus. Since implementing their new model, they have already completed 133 more credits than the 162 students who were enrolled last year – in half the time.
“We’re seeing unbelievable learning gains with the new program,” said Hills. “People used to think of our school as a ‘destination of last resort,’ and we’re proving them wrong.”
Beth TeGrotenhuis, the president and COO of Odysseyware’s parent company, Glynlyon, said she was encouraged by the results in Nye County. “Every student should be given the right tools for them to succeed,” said TeGrotenhuis. “That is exactly what the team in Nye County has done, and we could not be more proud of their success.”