Oakland Unity High School


Dec 19, 2012

Submitted by Kallie Berg, Math Teacher
Note: The information in this profile represents SY2012-13 unless otherwise indicated.

School/organization overview

Name Oakland Unity High School
Type Charter School
Locale Urban
Headquarters Oakland, California
First year of operation SY2003-04
Grades served 9-12
Enrollment 275
% FRL 74% (SY2011-12)
% Black or Hispanic 92% (SY2011-12)
Per-pupil funding $7,850 (SY2011-12)
Website http://unityhigh.org/

School/organization background

History and context
Oakland Unity High School was struggling to get students college-ready in mathematics in part because students were entering the school with large gaps in their mathematical history. The blended-learning program allows the school to fill those gaps while simultaneously preparing students for college-level math.

Blended-learning program

Name N/A
Focus General
Year launched SY2011-12
Enrollment 270
Blended grades 9-12
Blended subjects Math
Content Khan Academy, ALEKS
SIS PowerSchool
Independent LMS None
Independent gradebook None
Independent assessment  None
Professional development None

Program model

Program model: Station Rotation, Lab Rotation

Model description
In math, students rotate on a fixed schedule between in-class stations that include small-group instruction, whole-class or small-group mini-lectures, and online learning. The ninth-grade students have an additional math period in a learning lab.

Program description

How much time do students spend on campus in this blended-learning program? How much of this time do students spend learning online or with educational software?
Students spend one class period a day, about an hour long, in the blended-learning math class, with the exception of our 9th graders, who have an additional class period a day in a learning lab. All math homework is through the online program, so all work done at home is done online.

Briefly describe the offline components of this blended-learning program.
Offline components include mini-lectures (to the whole class or just to specific groups), and whole-class warm ups that students complete on paper, and the teacher reviews on the board.

How does this blended-learning program fit into the rest of the students’ school day?
This blended-learning program replaced the traditional math classroom for all students.

What are the teachers’ roles and responsibilities in both the online and offline components of this blended-learning program?
Individual teachers are responsible for tracking student data in the online programs (we use Khan Academy for Algebra and Geometry, and ALEKS for Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus), as well as for deliving a mini-lecture or warm up. Teachers are also responsible for checking in with students during online work time, and for teaching or re-teaching concepts students are struggling with in the online forum. Teachers are also responsible for creating and grading quizzes, tests, and benchmarks in order to measure student learning progress.

What other adults are involved in this blended-learning program (e.g., paraprofessionals, learning coaches, counselors) and what are their roles and responsibilities?
Tutors are made available after school to students who are behind and need help catching up, or for students who need extra assistance to get the required work done (exercises for Khan Academy, hours for ALEKS).

Briefly describe the set-up of physical space for this blended-learning program.
Students sit two to three to a table in a class size of 23-28 students. The classes currently take place in portables. Students use either laptops or tablets to access the online website.

How are students grouped within this blended-learning program?
Students are grouped by the math class they are taking. The only exception is the freshmen Learning Lab, which all freshmen must take, and is made up of a mixed group of students who are primarily taking Algebra and Algebra Readiness.

Do students have some element of control over the pacing of their learning? Are students tied to a semester-based course schedule or can they complete courses at any time? Briefly describe any requirements or benchmarks in place to ensure student progress.
Students are tied to a semester-based course schedule. However, students are allowed to move ahead as quickly as they are able. Students take teacher-created unit tests as well as quarter benchmarks. These tests/benchmarks determine student mastery.

Describe the academic results of the program, using quantitative data where possible.
Our school was in the 76th percentile for Algebra CST scores in the 2010-2011 school year. We were in the 94th percentile for the 2011-2012 school year. In 2011 we had zero students score advanced on the Algebra CST, in 2012 we had almost 20% score advanced (and zero in far below basic). In 2011 we had just over 30% of students score proficient on the Algebra CST, and in 2012 we had 45% score proficient. Since we piloted the program in only our freshmen (Algebra and pre-Algebra) classes last year, we currently do not have data for the results of our blended program in our other math classes.

Describe any other distinctive characteristics of this blended-learning program if they have not been captured above.
One of the keys to our current blended program is the accountability measures we have put in place. Both Khan Academy and ALEKS allow our teachers to know which students have completed their work, and which have not. Students who have not completed their work for the week are required to stay after school. This gives us an opportunity to help students who need extra help, but more importantly it puts emphasis on students taking responsibility for getting the work done, and serves as a natural consequence of not doing so. Students do not have the ability to say “I’ll just take the zero and not do the work.”

For more information, see:

Contact information

Name: Kallie Berg
Title: Math Teacher
Email[email protected]