Online curriculum is the key to success for many students
Pacific View Charter School teacher Kathy Meck recently recalled a 7th grader who came from a traditional school, where he struggled because he didn't like being there.
He tried the K12 online program at Pacific View and never looked back. "He went from being a D student to a B student in all his subjects," said Meck, a K-8 supervisory teacher at the Oceanside, Calif., K-12 public school.
"Part of it was he could do his schoolwork whenever he wanted. He could get up at 8 or 11, as long as he got it done. The freedom of creating his own school schedule allowed him to be successful."
Freedom and flexibility are hallmarks of K12 Inc., which provides districts and schools with curriculum, technology, and management services such as scheduling, progress reports and assessments. This bundle of products and services work together to ensure a school or district's success in implementing a full-time or part-time online program. Students complete online coursework at home by working with a state-certified teacher and a parent's guidance.
Pacific View students also have access to a brick-and-mortar school, which has a computer lab, study hall and tutors. The school is where optional half-day K-8 classes and high school workshops are held, as well as mandatory meetings with K-8 teachers every couple weeks. High schoolers web-conference with their teachers.
"It's during those meetings that the teacher finds out if the student is on track," Pacific View Program Manager Jessica Venezia said. "If they're struggling, where is the struggle? Is it behavioral? Academic? Do they need reading help?"
Added Meck, "I look at what they've done in the past two weeks. I quiz them on their work verbally, informally assessing them. I collect research papers, vocab, grammar, reading assignments, math work, labs." Meck credits K12 technology with helping her successfully manage 45 students.
"I have access to everyone's account so I can see what they've done for the day, how they tested. If a student doesn't master something, the program doesn't let you move on. This allows teachers to see that a student is having trouble and we can help." The program identifies weak areas, even if a student has passed well enough to proceed. "Let's say they master a whole unit but in a couple lessons they really struggled," Meck said. "You can take them back to those lessons any time during the school year and help them review for the state test."
K12 also keeps teachers and parents organized. Many routine but time-consuming tasks are automated in the K12 system: making/grading tests, calculating grades, taking attendance, keeping printed materials current.
"I don't need to worry about core curriculum standards changing because the program takes care of all that," Venezia said. Success is seen not only in test scores—which have gone up for elementary school students, Meck said—but also in self-confidence. Venezia recalled one socially awkward boy who had difficulty relating to others.
"He started this K12 curriculum and couldn't get enough. He refined his math skills, exploded with writing," Venezia said. "He recently participated in a panel on online learning, and he had the entire panel laughing, hanging on his every word. What he learned through the K12 curriculum was how to communicate. He was thinking out of the box and really becoming his own person."
To learn more about K12 products and services, please visit www.k12.com/educators.