HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op in Colorado’s Douglas County has used a blend of online and face-to-face learning to deliver highly individualized instruction to students, many of whom entered the school at risk of failing. The school’s data-driven approach allows teachers to target instruction to meet each student’s unique needs. This research-based method has helped lower disciplinary problems while increasing student performance on state assessments.
For these reasons, we’ve chosen HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op as our “eSchool of the Month” for May. Here, Heather O’Mara, HOPE’s chief executive director, reveals some of the school’s successes and key practices.
(Editor’s note: To nominate your school or district for our “eSchool of the Month” feature, and to read about past winners, go to: http://www.eschoolnews.com/eschool-of-the-month.)
How does your school use technology to advance student learning?
HOPE Online Learning Academy Co-Op (HOPE) is a public, free, nonprofit K-12 charter school that uses an online curriculum, supported by face-to-face instruction, to increase mastery and learning outcomes for our students. HOPE’s use of technology supports, but does not supplant, high-quality instruction by teachers. At HOPE, technology is a tool to enable individualized learning plans and teaching. By incorporating technology-based curriculum and assessments, teacher instruction is targeted to improve each student’s performance.
HOPE’s use of technology allows teachers to identify the proficiency of each student by grade and subject. From that initial assessment, an individual learning plan is designed to put the student on track for success. The online curriculum benchmarks the progress students make with their plans so that a teacher may easily monitor students’ progress and adjust their learning plans to suit student abilities.
In grades K-12, we use CompassLearning’s Odyssey curriculum, as well as A+ curriculum from American Education Corp. We have seen great success with this research-based curriculum that incorporates a high level of interactivity, audio and video, colorful animation, and engaging graphics. Our rigorous curriculum meets both state and federal standards. Additionally, we incorporate several supplemental programs, including My Reading Coach, Reading Plus, Lexia, Rosetta Stone, and Math HELP to increase student comprehension. Formative and summative assessments such as DIBELS, Acuity, and Accuplacer are used to target instruction to each student’s specific needs.
In the summer of 2011, HOPE’s student services team began to use GoogleDocs to review student discipline and attendance issues prior to enrollment. This practice led to faster response times and increased efficiency across the student services and admissions departments during a busy enrollment season.