Student and Teachers
Students attend VGV every day, spending 60 percent of their learning online and 40 percent in classrooms for face-to-face learning with certified teachers. VGV challenges the notion of traditional schools who typically utilize an exclusively teacher-led and paced curriculum.
With Edgenuity as the primary curriculum delivery system, the VGV teacher’s role is now part skill gap interventionist and part data analyst as they support students maneuvering and progressing through the rigorous Common Core aligned Edgenuity e-courseware.
The school is comprised of new and re-imagined physical spaces. Each student has a partitioned workspace in large Learning Centers closely simulating an adult working office environment. Students attend Chromebook-outfitted Workshops that hold a maximum of 12 students. Throughout the year, students rotate through the Design Space—a “makerspace” for hands-on STEAM related projects such as drone designing and building.
In the fall 2017, the school opened its Rhody Campus—RI’s first autonomous micro-school based on a co-working concept (think of “Starbucks like” open space with flexible seating and internet access) located in a historic building adjacent to the VGV main campus.
The technology infrastructure and curriculum delivery system deployed in VGV is the most “hi-tech” of any school in this part of the country with VMware system specs comparable to those designed for small regional banks or large-sized engineering or architectural firms.
In VGV’s four plus years of existence, there has never been a lost instructional day due to technology problems. Technology in the classroom should never be a distraction. Teaching and learning is what is important—the technology is just a tool!
There is no IT person on staff—there is no need as the system components have been highly reliable. Students have access to their coursework 24/7 – 365 days. VGV has a 1.5 to 1 device-to-student ratio.
In the Classroom
There are no text books in VGV as the school uses the Edgenuity e-courseware platform for its entire curriculum delivery system. Edgenuity is a provider of online and blended learning working with more than 16,000 schools nationwide. VGV was chartered to specifically develop Edgenuity for a full high school program of study as Edgenuity is primarily used by a vast majority of customers for credit recovery, home schooling, summer school, and medically fragile students.
The Edgenuity Version 5 platform is crucial to VGV meeting students where they are at. The product allows for building courses from the bottom up including pulling lessons across content areas and changing order of lessons. For example, this flexibility enabled VGV to create four new science courses aligned exactly with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) by pulling the lessons from a number of different science courses.
All of VGV’s stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, administration) have access to student performance data on Edgenuity 24/7 making it highly unlikely for any student to “fall through the cracks” and making it one of the most transparent student and teacher accountability systems in existence.
RIDE has awarded VGV a rating of “Exceeds Expectations” for Educational Research and Dissemination—a rating justified by VGV’s publication of three unprecedented contributions to the educational research literature: Inventing School; Knocking it Out of the PARCC; and, A Personalized Learning Framework for Non-Thematic Pathways. Taken in totality, the works comprise comprehensive insight into challenges faced, lessons learned, and the school’s numerous innovations—blueprints for others to follow!
There is compelling evidence that VGV’s model is generalizable in some form to traditional high schools (e.g., school within a school).