Submitted by Chris Florez, Blended Learning Analyst
Note: The information in this profile represents school year 2013-14 unless otherwise indicated.
This is Aspire Public School’s first K-8 blended learning school in the Achievement School District in Memphis, TN. By combining its California-based College for Certain model with a focus on computer coding, Aspire is offering Memphis students a rich STEM-focused education, individualized learning on technology, and explicit instruction in computer coding skills, so that students can better understand the digital world around them, think logically, be creative, learn to find and fix their own problems, and feel empowered.
Blended Learning Program
Program model: Station Rotation
The classroom-based, station rotation model allows teachers to provide targeted small group reading and math instruction. Additionally, the model provides opportunities for all students to engage in personalized, online content, independent practice, and collaborative activities connected to academic goals.
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 at least seven hours on campus each school day. Students use the computers for at least two 30-minute intervals each day.
Briefly describe the offline components of this blended-learning program.
Offline components of the blended-learning program include more frequent and individualized small group reading and math instruction. Additionally, students engage in independent practice and collaborative activities to reinforce and apply their learning. The school administrators feel that small group instruction is core to their instructional model and really moves the needle when it comes to student achievement.
How does this blended-learning program fit into the rest of the students’ school day?
Students participate in two daily rotations: one rotation includes personalized, online English language Arts (ELA) instruction. The other rotation includes personalized, online math instruction. Small group instruction and classroom rotation are already a part of the highly-successful, instructional model. With computers in the classroom, students have opportunities to utilize software that adapts to meet their academic needs, while also providing real-time feedback.
What are the teachers’ roles and responsibilities in both the online and offline components of this blended-learning program?
Teachers are responsible for effectively managing the classroom rotation. Teachers are also responsible for understanding student reading levels and preparing personalized learning plans (PLPs). Lastly, teachers are responsible for having knowledge of student progress on the instructional software as a data point to inform targeted, individualized instruction.
What other adults are involved in this blended-learning program (e.g., paraprofessionals, learning coaches, counselors) and what are their roles and responsibilities?
CODE Aspire has a blended learning teaching assistant who is responsible for supporting teachers and students with rotations; troubleshooting technology-related issues (e.g., software, log-in, peripherals); and accessing, analyzing, and sharing student achievement data with students and teachers. There is an instructional coach who also supports small group instruction and classroom management.
Briefly describe the set-up of physical space for this blended-learning program.
Computers are configured along one wall or corner of a room. The school uses long, narrow tables with privacy partitions to minimize the impact on the existing classroom configuration.
How are students grouped within this blended-learning program?
Student groups are dynamic. The teachers provide responsive instructional practices that best support students’ academic needs. Various data points are utilized throughout the day, week, month, and year to determine student groups, including opportunities for project-based application.
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 element of control over the pacing of their learning. The school utilizes adaptive software that provides diagnostics and self-paced learning opportunities. Additional, offline supports (e.g., teacher-led instruction, independent practice, and collaborative activities) connect learning modalities and diverse application of new skills and knowledge. Teacher-developed, benchmark assessments are used to ensure student progress.