Note: The information in this profile represents SY2010-11 unless otherwise indicated.

School/organization overview

Name White Hat Management
Type Charter Management Organization
Headquarters Akron, Ohio
School locations Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio
First year of operation
Grades served 9-12
% FRL 55%
% Black or Hispanic 72%
Per-pupil funding Varies by state

Blended-learning program

Name LifeSkills Centers
Focus Dropout prevention/recovery
Year launched
Outside investments/grants
Blended grades 9-12
Enrollment 8,000
Blended subjects
Math, English Language Arts, History/Social Studies, Science, Electives
Content Apex Learning, Achieve 3000
SIS PowerSchool
Independent LMS None
Independent gradebook PowerSchool
Independent assessment None
Professional development

Program model

Program model: Flex

Model description
Students learn through self-paced, online curriculum. On-site teachers and support personnel offer help as needed.

Program background

History and context
White Hat Management is an education management organization that contracts with charter schools to run their operations. To date it operates 46 schools in six states under the auspices of three separate programs. DELA (Distance & Electronic Learning Academies) schools are state virtual schools for grades K–12, where students study completely remotely. HOPE Academies are charter schools that serve K–8 students in the state of Ohio. LifeSkills Centers are alternative education charter schools catering to students between the ages of 16 and 21 in Ohio, Florida, Colorado, and Arizona and between the ages of 16 and 19 in Michigan. This report focuses on the LifeSkills Centers, as they are home to the blended-learning aspect of White Hat’s operations.

Blended model
White Hat renovates old buildings and storefronts, such as Rite Aids and CVSs, to use as LifeSkills Centers. Each renovated building features a front desk with a receptionist and behind that, a large lab space with computer workstations for 35 to 40 students. White Hat serves students who have dropped out of high school or who are at-risk of dropping out. Often social service agencies refer them to the program. The school day is only four hours long. Students can choose between the 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. session and the 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. session. Some schools offer a third session at night.

When they first enroll at a LifeSkills Center, students spend two to four weeks in a “transition lab,” where they complete social and learning surveys, do activities on the Web-based Achieve3000 reading program, and meet with a psychologist, social worker, employability teacher, math teacher, reading teacher, and special-needs teacher. From there, they transition into the large lab space and begin their for-credit courses and rely on the individualized learning roadmaps that the team created for them during the transition period.

LifeSkills Centers use Apex Learning curriculum for all content delivery. Their own face-to-face teachers provide the flexible teaching support instead of online Apex teachers. White Hat uses Apex because it has found that Apex offers challenging curriculum that is easily customizable for each student. Two certified teachers are on hand in the lab to provide flexible support during all hours the school is open. Most students complete one half-credit in one-and-a-half months. Students can take up to two courses at a time.

LifeSkills Centers draw funding from the per-pupil allocations that each state provides. They also apply for federal funding, such as Title I grants. The centers report their results on a state-by-state basis through PowerSchool.

Notable results
White Hat says that it is successful with 50 to 60 percent of the students who enroll. It served 8,000 students in 2010. Since 1998, has graduated approximately 10,000 students altogether.

On the horizon
Kerry Jupina, vice president at White Hat who oversees the LifeSkills Centers, said that White Hat plans to expand the program beyond the five states that it currently serves. She said that the biggest obstacle to rapid expansion is that charter school boards typically want to see immediate results, but that the dropout population of students requires patience and time to get back on track.


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