The changing face of online learning: Keeping all students on pace
Nearly half the 31,000 students in Tennessee’s Clarksville-Montgomery County School System live in poverty. Nearly a fourth are military dependents, given the close proximity to Fort Campbell. Together, these factors present a big challenge for educators.
The district’s 39 percent mobility rate means a regular stream of new students, many of whom arrive with incomplete courses, learning issues or achievement gaps.
The web-based A+ Anywhere Learning System by K12 helps keep all Clarksville-Montgomery students on pace, no matter their circumstances. The A+ program includes core curriculum content for grades K-12 and an instructional management system. The research-based content is linked to state standards and is delivered through the Internet.
Clarksville-Montgomery began to use A+ in 2003-04 to help tutor students and to address the needs of different learners without sacrificing a teacher relationship, according to Kimi Sucharski, accountability supervisor for the district, which is in north-middle Tennessee on the border with Kentucky. Students take turns learning online and working face-to-face with a teacher, Sucharski added.
Soon the district added credit recovery and a virtual high school to help students relearn challenging concepts and maintain semester progress. “We even use it for the alternative school,” Sucharski said. “It allows us to change the scope and sequence to meet our needs.
“A+ allowed us to add benchmarks, midterms and finals,” Sucharski added. “We could make exams look like district exams. We could design independent programs or an entire course. There wasn’t another program out there that did all of that.“
She’s also impressed with the company’s full range of courses and support. “They’ve added the ACT and AP programs, and they also plan to provide teachers,” Sucharski said.
“When we started designing student-specific programs, the graduation rate was moving from 74 to 76 percent in 2004,” she said. “Last May, the graduation rate was 94 percent!”
Those numbers reflect students who graduated high school in five years with a regular diploma; 93.5 percent graduated with a regular diploma in four years. The district also has adults who’ve come back to complete their high school diploma.