Located in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, 225 students along with the faculty and staff of the Village Green Virtual Charter High School (VGV) have been pioneering the school of the future—advancing individualized education and family choice by maximizing technology, creating community, reshaping teaching, and redefining school.
Opened in September 2013, VGV draws students statewide by a blind lottery. Since 2013, VGV has increased its urban student population from 75 to 85 percent and increased its “free and reduced lunch” population from 88 to 94 percent.
This Blended Learning Model is Working
In spite of these challenging demographics, the data supports a disruptive school model that is working. In its first four years of existence, VGV has posted the highest gains of any of the state’s high schools in the assessed content areas of ELA, math, and science and consistently outperformed its sending urban school districts.
VGV has a 97 percent graduation rate and a 100 percent college acceptance rate to schools including: Johns Hopkins, MIT, Xavier, Spelman, Sarah Lawrence, Wheaton and Savannah College of Art and Design.
VGV is the “come-to-fruition” vision of Founder and Superintendent Dr. Robert Pilkington who was asked by RIDE in 2011 to create a “brick and mortar” charter high school with a fully virtualized curriculum using Edgenuity e-courseware.
VGV is the first RI school designed from Day 1 to be a competency- and equity-based, personalized blended learning model. It’s “competency-based” in that students can only progress through their lessons after demonstrating proficiency.
It’s “equity-based” in that all students have access to the e-coursework that will prepare them for college and career; and, all students have the opportunity to take college courses for college credit on a local college campus for a true college readiness experience before graduating from VGV.
It’s “personalized” in that diagnostics along with historical student performance data are used for pathway/course placement decisions, pace of learning is optimized for the student’s needs, courses are built and can be customized for the individual student providing remedial interventions to close skill gaps where needed and providing opportunities for motivated students to accelerate their learning (14 percent of VGV students complete high school in three years); and, students have a voice in a portion of their coursework such as selecting career interest electives potentially earning a credential for completing a sequence of coursework in a career domain.
By definition, “blended learning” means that students learn at least in part through online learning with some degree of control over time, place, path and/or pace and at least in part at a supervised brick and mortar location away from home.
(Next page: A day in the blended learning life for students and teachers)
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