Indian Prairie School District 204, Naperville Community Unit School District 203, Community Unit School District 200, Northeastern Illinois
Challenge: Three Illinois districts realized they could improve college and career success by taking cues from postsecondary institutions and employers that continue to expand online and digital offerings.
Initiative: In fall 2014, the districts created an online learning program consisting of 14 courses, adding seven more the following summer. A director works with a team of district administrators to ensure the program continues to evolve and meet expectations. “Learning and teaching are no longer bound to a four-wall classroom, bell schedules or a single school,” says Kip Pygman, director of the Expanding Learning Opportunities Consortium. “Teachers transform learning by using digital technologies in a flexible environment where students engage across seven high schools.”
Impact: More than 500 students have joined the program, with 93 percent scoring over 70 percent on tests. Additionally, 124 staff members have participated in the program’s online PD modules in blended and online learning.
Advice: Conduct a needs analysis to determine your mission, vision and values, then build a diverse team of stakeholders. Give the online program the same resources and attention that on-campus initiatives receive.