ARIZONA AND OHIO (Sept. 16, 2021) – After powering through a year or more of remote and hybrid learning due to COVID, a significant share of traditional school districts are returning to familiar in-person models this school year. Even so, the advantages of online learning remain clear, particularly in the event of student quarantines. In Cleveland, one forward-thinking network of schools is offering students and their families a first-of-its-kind solution to keep students up to date with the school content and curriculum they have the potential to miss because of a COVID quarantine.
A new offering called Learning Under Quarantine from ASU Prep Digital, envisioned for Breakthrough Public Schools in collaboration with The 305 Education Group, is now in place. To prevent COVID learning losses, ASU Prep Digital provides online instructors to teach Cleveland-area students who miss in-person learning due to a 10-day quarantine. This innovative approach increases teaching and learning time simultaneously, while providing a practical solution for schools that simply do not have the human or financial resources to operate dual in-person and online models.
During the 2020-21 school year, Breakthrough – one of the highest-performing public, nonprofit charter school networks in Ohio – only operated remotely. However, for the 2021-22 academic year, network leaders knew changes were necessary.
“Our families overwhelmingly wanted their kids back in school buildings this year, and as educators, we believe that in-person education is critically important at this time to address unfinished learning and the social and emotional development of our students,” said Tyler Thornton, COO of Breakthrough Public Schools, which serve kindergarteners through eighth graders. “At the same time, we are conscious that COVID quarantining is a growing reality, and we have a responsibility to keep students engaged and progressing in their education even when they’re unable to attend school in person.”
After vetting potential partners to answer this need, Breakthrough Public Schools partnered with ASU Prep Digital. The online PreK-12 school, developed by Arizona State University, combines easy-to-use technology with a strong curriculum, qualified educators, grade-specific and concurrent college courses, and customizable solutions. Each of these components blend to create one-of-a-kind formulas (or learning plans/models) that are customized to meet the needs of schools and students, helping them to succeed and advance academically.
“We implemented the Learning Under Quarantine Model for Breakthrough Public Schools to assist their reopening framework, so that quarantined students could continue learning, while also alleviating the burden on teachers and parents,” said Julie Young, Managing Director of ASU Preparatory Academy and ASU Prep Digital.
The Learning Under Quarantine model, which started this month, operates at Breakthrough’s network of 12 Cleveland schools to engage with and teach students who must stay home from school due to a 10-day COVID quarantine policy.
“Many schools are searching for an approach that lets them effectively teach in this still unpredictable COVID environment,” said Young. “At ASU Prep Digital, we have the advantage of a proven online program that gives schools and students the option to excel in a non-traditional way. Through an extensive collaboration process, we created this new Learning Under Quarantine model to meet the needs of Breakthrough’s student population. We look forward to customizing this offering to fit the needs of more schools that could use this same type of quality teaching assistance.”
Learning Under Quarantine is customized by grade level and extends far beyond packets sent home for students and their families to navigate independently. Quarantined students at Breakthrough can expect two hours of daily, live, one-on-one or small group instruction, in addition to asynchronous learning activities. Thanks to communication between the student’s teachers and ASU Prep Digital, all material is aligned to the network’s curriculum and content, allowing students to transition back into the classroom seamlessly — all while alleviating the burden on teachers and parents.
The Learning Under Quarantine curriculum is heavily focused on math and English Language Arts — two areas where student performance is closely tracked, but also foundational subjects that are the basis for all other learning. While parental supervision is expected, particularly with the younger students who may need an initial introduction to basics like logging in, it is not the parent’s role to oversee the education; ASU Prep Digital’s educators are on deck to fill that role.
“When students miss school, valuable learning opportunities are lost; it can be difficult to catch up to your peers after an extended absence,” said Thornton. “Learning Under Quarantine makes the transition back to the classroom easier for students, and it allows the entire class to continue progressing at a solid pace through the year.”
Thornton and Young both point out that the advantages are not strictly academic; continued engagement while out of the classroom helps students maintain social connections and interaction, which is severely limited during quarantine. Learning Under Quarantine also keeps students in the habit of learning and discovering new things, so they are better prepared to acclimate back into to the classroom.
“Ultimately, this innovative offering can help to prevent learning gaps and losses for not only students in Cleveland, but for students in schools across the country and globally that face similar challenges,” said Young. “Staying engaged and learning while in quarantine amounts to an easier, more successful transition back to the classroom.”
While Learning Under Quarantine is currently operating to support quarantined students at Breakthrough Public Schools, it has the potential to expand to additional school districts throughout the country. ASU Prep Digital has plans underway to adapt the Learning Under Quarantine model to more school districts, including one in Arizona.
Although Learning Under Quarantine is the first model of its kind, forging partnerships with local school districts is hardly a novelty to ASU Prep Digital. To date, ASU Prep Digital has established working relationships with more than 1,338 schools and school districts across the country and globally. For more information about Learning Under Quarantine, send an email to: email@example.com.
About ASU Prep Digital
ASU Prep Digital is an accredited online K-12 school that offers a single online course or enrollment in a full-time, diploma-granting program. Because it is part of Arizona State University, ASU Prep Digital offers an accelerated path toward college admission and the chance to earn concurrent high school and university credit. For more information, visit asuprepdigital.org.
About Breakthrough Public Schools
Breakthrough Public Schools is one of the highest-performing networks of free, public charter schools in Ohio, serving nearly 3,600 students in grades K through 8. Breakthrough is a nationally recognized nonprofit network of 12 college preparatory schools throughout Cleveland, with campuses in Glenville (2), St. Clair – Superior, Lee Harvard, Union Miles, and Cudell. For more information, visit breakthroughschools.org.
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