Submitted by Nicole Tempel Assisi, Principal
Note: The information in this profile represents SY2012-13 unless otherwise indicated. View Da Vinci Schools Organization summary here.
Blended Learning Program
Program model: Enriched Virtual
Students at Da Vinci Innovation Academy only attend campus as often as three days per school week, the rest of the time students are learning remotely using online delivery of content with assistance and support from the curriculum and parents.
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 usually spend two days per week on campus and have another optional day on campus for electives. While they are on campus, students receive a combination of project-based learning and learning in a blended station-rotation model. During the rest of the school week, students are learning remotely using online content and instruction and usually the support and guidance of parents as well. Students are learning online for at least 60 percent of the school week. Three days during the school week, students are learning remotely and entirely through online delivery of content and curriculum. The other two days, students are on campus, where they occasionally receive additional online content, although most online learning occurs remotely while students focus on project-based and group learning when physically present on campus.
Briefly describe the offline components of this blended-learning program.
The school is fully committed to project-based learning so when the teachers are putting their students through a blended station-rotation model, students are usually engaged in project-based learning. The school describes project-based learning as students actively working towards solving real world problems, culminating in the creation of a real world product that is then presented in front of a real audience. Students also receive more traditional instruction including face-to-face learning with the teacher, text book readings, and pencil and paper exercises.
How does this blended-learning program fit into the rest of the students’ school day?
At the Da Vinci Innovation Academy, the school is blended, not just a program within the school. Two or three days per week, the students spend their school day working through their online curriculum from their homes or a different remote location. When the students are on campus, the school day starts with morning meetings and might progress into station rotations which then progresses into a block of time for project-based learning. From there, students would go back into station rotations in the either Math or English Language Arts and then the afternoon is usually reserved for project-based learning again.
What are the teachers’ roles and responsibilities in both the online and offline components of this blended-learning program?
In addition to traditional teacher responsibilities such as creating lesson plans, guiding face-to-face learning, and helping students work through their projects. Teachers are responsible for tracking student progress, monitoring and managing student data and holding parent-teacher conferences if needed.
What other adults are involved in this blended-learning program (e.g., paraprofessionals, learning coaches, counselors) and what are their roles and responsibilities?
In addition to the teachers-of-record, the school also has additional highly qualified teachers that help support the student learning and manage the stations during the rotational period of the day.
Briefly describe the set-up of physical space for this blended-learning program.
The students are in classrooms but the rooms do not have a set way that they are supposed to be arranged. Students are encouraged to work from wherever they might feel comfortable as all the desks are movable and students carry laptops so they are able to work everywhere from the floor to the reading loft.
How are students grouped within this blended-learning program?
Students are grouped together based on their learning readiness which the school determines using MAP data from the NWEA. But groups are fluid based on student progress and learning success and the school tries to change up the groups every quarter.
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 a lot of control over the pacing of their learning and can set whatever pace they want for their learning. The school has some students who are at least three grade levels ahead in their coursework because the students’ ability to work from home gives them flexibility in their learning. In many cases, parents can choose the pacing of their student’s learning and can choose the grade level and standards for the curriculum.
What have been the biggest obstacles in implementing this blended-learning program? What has needed adjustment along the way?
The online curriculum is not necessarily well-suited for a school that is so committed to being project-based. Online content providers don’t provide data in a singular source, so comparing student data from different sources and getting the important data out of those systems has been challenging for the school.