Adapting to Virtual Learning Webinar

Many parents are reluctant to send their children back to school for the new academic year and are choosing online education as an alternative option.

Listen to our webinar to discover how we work with schools to develop their own virtual schools, supporting them with building capacity and digital curriculum.

If you’d like to find out more about any of our products, please contact us by emailing international@edmentum.com or calling +44 (0)1572 492576.

Providing Quality and Access to the US Curriculum for International Students

In American international schools around the world, there is demand for high-quality, American-style educational programs that offer access to options that domestic students take for granted, such as Advanced Placement® (AP®) and certain elective courses. That demand comes not only from American expats but also from foreign students looking for alternatives to their local education systems.

Such demand gave rise to London Academy in the Bouskoura section of Casablanca, Morocco. It is a private school which serves 250 students hailing from 19 different nationalities with an emphasis in three different languages (French, Arabic, and English).

“We are serving a population of students that seek to escape the French and Moroccan systems,” said London Academy Principal Angela M. Arigoni-Mesfioui. “Students are finding those programs too rigid [and] stressful, and passing the multitude of exams to graduate causes anxiety, depression, and a sense of failure.”

London Academy has found it difficult to recruit qualified teachers for the full breadth of courses it wants to offer, especially AP courses. The school also needed to ensure that its programming meets rigorous accreditation standards recognized by American colleges and universities so that students could realize their postsecondary goals.

In many parts of the world, a high-quality, American-style education is desired by both parents and students to open doors to college and career options. London Academy in Casablanca, Morocco, serves students from 19 different nationalities in three different languages. Through its partnership with Edmentum, London Academy is able to provide students with access to AP® and elective courses that are hard to find outside the U.S., differentiating both instruction and the academy’s value proposition.

How They Did It:

London Academy administrators knew that online learning could be an effective solution to the challenges the school faced—but only with the right partner.

“We needed a program that would provide our students with qualified teachers, strong and rigorous content, and a diploma accredited by a recognized agency,” Ms. Arigoni-Mesfioui explained.

Partnering with Edmentum’s EdOptions Academy met and exceeded those requirements, and it has proven to be a strong fit.

The students of London Academy spend Mondays through Thursdays working through their EdOptions Academy courses with the help of the program’s qualified virtual teachers and the school’s own staff. Fridays are reserved for students to receive additional English-language instruction and to get any extra support they need in their virtual courses. This can take the form of open “virtual office hours” facilitated by EdOptions Academy teachers, in-person tutoring with school staff, or meetings with parents to create action plans for students who need to catch up. By engaging students’ complete academic support networks, London Academy can quickly identify struggling students and take steps to get them back on pace.

“The EdOptions [Academy] system allows students to feel in control of their learning,” said Ms. Arigoni-Mesfioui. “They are the ones choosing the electives they want and are interested in. In addition, the students like the fact that the platform is adaptive, and they can go at their own pace. Some accelerate, while others take their time and are paced by the teachers.”

Partnering with Edmentum has allowed London Academy to offer its students opportunities that can be found at few schools outside the U.S.

“The program allowed us to offer a range of courses that we couldn’t provide because we are located internationally,” Ms. Arigoni-Mesfioui reported. “It is difficult to find AP teachers and hire them for all the AP courses. Now, we have a full range of electives, honors courses, and AP courses.”

The consultative, highly responsive approach that Edmentum and EdOptions Academy take has also been a difference-maker for the school. Every implementation is different, particularly an implementation with the unique goals and many intricacies of London Academy. Even across time zones and an ocean, London Academy’s Edmentum representatives are in weekly contact with the school, working collaboratively to find answers to challenges that have arisen and to adjust the implementation as needed.

“The communication between the student, parents, London Academy Casablanca teachers, and the EdOptions Academy teachers is topnotch,” said Ms. Arigoni-Mesfioui. “This high level of communication allows for strong partnerships to form and guarantees a high student success rate.”

The EdOptions [Academy] system allows students to feel in control of their learning. They are the ones choosing the electives they want and are interested in. In addition, the students like the fact that the platform is adaptive, and they can go at their own pace.

Angela Arigoni-Mesfioui, Principal

Success:

In the past two school years, students at London Academy have accomplished something that most high schools aspire to—all students who applied to college were admitted to their first-choice schools, with acceptances to top-ranked schools in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Morocco, China, Jordan, and Italy. Additionally, London Academy presented its Casablanca program at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) Conference in Norway in 2019 and Morocco in 2020 to top researchers, policymakers, and practitioners looking to transform education.

“I think if we look at the data of students passing courses from last year to this year, we will find that our student success rate has increased,” Ms. Arigoni-Mesfioui reported. “Right now, all students are graduating on time. We have yet to have a student not graduate on pace. We have several students that have earned trust and work on an honor system that are graduating one year earlier than expected.”

The Future:

As one can expect, a school as unique as London Academy has come through its online learning experience with lessons to share.

“The advice I would give is to have a vision of how, what, when, and where you will run your program,” said Ms. Arigoni-Mesfioui. “You need to hire teachers that believe in the program and share your vision.”

Advanced Placement® and AP® are trademarks registered and/or owned by the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product.

Introduction to Edmentum & Calvert Learning

Calvert Learning provides full US curriculum for grades K-5 in the core subjects. Watch the video below which is recorded by International Project Manager, Gareth, to find out more.

If you’d like more information about Calvert, you can also contact us.

Projects and Calvert Learning

How to Support Your Students During School Closures

Derek Devine, our International Business Development Manager, is discussing how you can support your students during school closures and limit any disruptions to their learning.

What’s in the webinar?

This webinar includes:

  • Information on ways we can support students during this time.
  • Considerations when planning for school closures.
  • How Edmentum can help schools, including teachers, students, and parents.

For more information on Edmentum International and our solutions, take a look at our page.

Providing Flexible Credit Options in Middlebury, IN

It’s safe to say that blended learning is opening up doors to innovative opportunities that weren’t available just a few years ago. For students in need of flexibility in credit attainment, one middle school has found a way to create instructional options that are keeping students in the district who might otherwise have been leaving for homeschooling or a virtual schooling option outside of the district.

Northridge Middle School (NMS) in Middlebury, Indiana, has created a special home for students in its blended learning lab, led by teacher Lauren Bailey. NMS identified a need to supplement its existing curriculum by offering more online options for a student body with diverse needs.

 

 

“We realized that Edmentum could also serve to provide our current students with hundreds of additional course offerings and meet some of their own unique learning needs,” said Dr. Robby Goodman, assistant superintendent.

NMS was also seeking to provide an alternative for students who have trouble finding success in the traditional classroom environment, including those who have severe anxiety, those who are homebound, and those who require alternative scheduling.

“We really focused on where students were going and targeted how to get them here, while thinking how to collaborate with their worlds and expectations for learning,” said Bailey.

 

How They Did It

After intensive research and a successful pilot, NMS decided on implementing a suite of Edmentum solutions – Academy to provide virtual courses that are otherwise unavailable in the school’s existing curriculum, Edmentum Courseware to provide curriculum for students who are more successful in an online environment, and Study Island to provide remediation support and standards reinforcement in math.

“Our model of blended learning allows a great deal of flexibility,” explained Bailey. “A lab is available, and some students come every day for a certain time period away from their other public school classes. Otherwise, students may come a few days a week on a schedule that meets their family needs, and some students come in as support is needed.”

With so many tasks going on in one location, monitoring student success is also crucial. For that, Bailey finds the data available in Edmentum’s teacher dashboards to be invaluable. “I watch my students’ performance daily as they are completing work, then communicate that info weekly with families, students, and administration,” said Bailey.

Success

To date, NMS’ blended learning initiative has provided over 150 high school credits to middle school students to help prepare them for the next step in their studies. Because of the diverse options it offers, NMS has also become the school of record for 25 students from other districts or online academies, providing added revenue for the school and district.

The success of the Edmentum implementation is recognized not only by Bailey but by other school staff as well. Pam Shenk, the blended learning guidance counselor, believes the blended learning classroom has opened up doors for students at NMS.

“We have seen success with our gifted students who are able to be challenged in high school level courses,” said Shenk. “They work at their own speed and aren’t limited to the pacing of a traditional classroom. Our general education students are also successful because they are able to slow down the pacing of a unit so they really understand the material.”

Another benefit the blended learning implementation has provided for NMS is the ability to offer a program other local schools were not, therefore becoming attractive to out-of-district families currently looking for other options. Once students enroll in some sort of virtual or online learning option, they also become eligible for athletics, academic teams, and other activities through the school. Bailey notes that with this draw, “Nine times out of ten, we find that once we get those kids involved in some way, they find success, and we find ways to get them here more.”

Bailey credits the NMS blended learning program with meeting a long list of student needs, even unanticipated ones. It has served students who have been in crisis, students who have lost a loved one, and students who have disabilities.

“We are able to provide one calm environment where students can take any number of courses with the support of a classroom and digital teacher,” said Bailey. “The flexibility to work from home when anxiety is too high is also powerful and alleviates stress from families without accumulating excessive absences.”

The Future

Northridge Middle School will become a one-to-one school beginning in the 2018–19 school year, and educators are currently vetting additional Edmentum solutions to see if they can provide an online environment that all students will soon have access to.

Additionally, the blended learning lab will continue to serve students with unique needs and interests. To date, Bailey is able to determine which courses to offer based on student interests, such as art or photography. Based on the number of students with a particular interest, she can decide if it is best to find a teacher for that subject using digital curriculum from Edmentum Courseware, or if the need is better met with a virtual teacher from Academy. Either way, supporting these students will continue to be made possible with the school’s Edmentum partnership.