Submitted by Romain Bertrand, Academic Facilitator, New Teacher Coach
Note: The information in this profile represents SY2012-13 unless otherwise indicated.

School/organization overview

Name Ranson IB Middle School
Type District School
Locale Urban
Headquarters Charlotte, North Carolina
First year of operation Before 2000
Grades served 6-8
Enrollment 1100
% FRL 80% (SY2011-12)
% Black or Hispanic 90% (SY2011-12)
Per-pupil funding

School/organization background

History and context
At Ranson IB, we believe we can utilize our computers and our resources differently. Helped by Project LIFT and Public Impact, we embraced a different approach to utilizing digital learning and we started piloting it this year with our 6th grade math team. The idea is simple: give the team of 6th grade math teachers a computer lab with 35 computers and a full-time learning coach assigned to working with the students in the computer lab every day. Why? So that teachers can, based on different assessment data, assign activities to subgroups of students within their class every day. A group of students from each teacher’s classroom then goes to the lab every day and under the guidance of the learning coach complete the activities. The teachers meanwhile work with a smaller group of students on specific concepts the data says they need to work on.

Blended-learning program

Name 6th grade math blended learning program
Focus General
Year launched SY2012-13
Enrollment 350
Blended grades 6
Blended subjects Math
Learning device(s) Desktops:PC
Internet connection Wired, Wireless
Content Compass Learning
SIS NCWise, PowerSchool
Independent LMS OdysseyWear
Independent gradebook Thinkgate
Independent assessment  Discovery Education
Professional development Discovery education

Program model

Program model: Lab Rotation

Model description
Students rotate to a computer lab every day under the guidance of a learning coach. Each teacher in the math team sends a group of about 10-12 students to the lab every day, while providing small group interventions in the classroom.

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 currently spend 70 minutes a day two times a week in the lab. In the future, when the lab will be fully equipped with 50 computers, students will spend 70 minutes a day four times a week in the lab.

Briefly describe the offline components of this blended-learning program.
Teachers engage students in small groups instruction offline. This includes higher-level thinking questions and enrichment activities for the group doing online instruction in the lab and small-group interventions and remediations for the other group of students.

How does this blended-learning program fit into the rest of the students’ school day?
Students spend their biweekly math period in this blended-learning model.

What are the teachers’ roles and responsibilities in both the online and offline components of this blended-learning program?
Teachers create common interim assessment and long term plans, create daily lesson plans and create six-week action plans to address gaps seen on interim assessments as well as new content.

In relation to students’ online learning, teachers analyze student achievement data and assign activities on Compass Learning and are responsible for monitoring and analyzing daily data from the lab to modify groups, lessons or support.

What other adults are involved in this blended-learning program (e.g., paraprofessionals, learning coaches, counselors) and what are their roles and responsibilities?
A STEM facilitator and instructional coach supervises the implementation of the model, and provides feedback, coaching and training. This individual also works with small groups of students from the lab when data indicates specific needs not met in the lab.

A learning coach/lab monitor supports the student learning in the lab every day and is responsible for maintaining expectations set by teachers. The learning coach is also involved in weekly data talks and planning meetings.

Briefly describe the set-up of physical space for this blended-learning program.
The computer lab accommodates 35 students. The five math classrooms are equipped with smartboards and three additional computers. Additionally, a laptop cart is utilized two days a week to allow students to work on Compass Learning within the classroom in addition to in the computer lab.

How are students grouped within this blended-learning program?
Students are grouped based on achivement data from both lab activities and common interim assessment. Groups are as follows:
High group: Online instruction in the lab on Monday and Thursday; HLTQ and applications in class Tuesday and Friday
Low group: In class with teacher on Monday and Thursday for delivery of instruction; in the lab on Tuesday and Friday for applications and remediations based on data from previous assessments. Additional support is provided in the lab on Tuesday and Friday.

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 have some elements of control as they can at times choose to consolidate concepts that Compass Learning data show as not mastered. Most of the activites are assigned based on common interim assessment data and Compass Learning data.

Describe the academic results of the program, using quantitative data where possible.
The model has been utilized for only 3 months. However, between the 1st and 2nd interim assessment, which corresponds with the implementation period of blended learning, 65% of students have shown growth. Our highest performing students are seeing their learning power unleashed and several of them are working on materials one or two grade level ahead. Students and teachers love having more small-group instruction as opposed to whole-class.

What have been the biggest obstacles in implementing this blended-learning program? What has needed adjustment along the way?
The biggest challenges have been finding the best ways to maximize student engagement in the lab and supporting ESL students and EC students in the lab.

For more information, see:

Contact information

Name: Romain Bertrand
Title: Academic Facilitator, New Teacher Coach
Phone: 704-724-2151


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