LIVE @ ISTE 2024: Exclusive Coverage

blended learning

Why this school is thriving after implementing a 100% blended learning model


Village Green Virtual Charter High School has a 97 percent graduation rate and a 100 percent college acceptance rate to schools thanks to its innovative blended learning model.

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)

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.

Physical Spaces

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 Tech

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.

The Community

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).

Sign up for our K-12 newsletter

Newsletter: Innovations in K12 Education
By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.

New Resource Center
Explore the latest information we’ve curated to help educators understand and embrace the ever-evolving science of reading.
Get Free Access Today!

"*" indicates required fields

Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Hidden
Email Newsletters:

By submitting your information, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

eSchool News uses cookies to improve your experience. Visit our Privacy Policy for more information.