4 tips for online learning success in schools

Our school has been using online learning since the mid-1990s when we became one of the first to sign up for VHS Learning. Since then, we’ve expanded our use of the program and involved more students.

Here are four tips for success that I’ve learned along the way, and that other schools can use to get the most out of their online learning partners:

1. Involve all types of learners. Online learning isn’t just for high-performing students who want to earn more credits or expand their learning horizons. We use it for learners of all levels, and it can serve as a successful alternative for struggling students, allow students to explore specific areas of interest not offered at our school, and for those who want to take more Advanced Placement (AP) courses than we offer on campus. I always have several students who are interested in AP classes that we don’t offer at our school, but I also make sure that I keep half of the online semester elective courses open for students who are interested. I want to make sure that students at different levels have an opportunity to learn online as well.…Read More

Don’t wait to start helping students ace their AP exams

Students across the country take AP exams in hopes of earning high exam scores that help them opt out of college prerequisites and ultimately save money on tuition. Unfortunately, as many as 40 percent of students who take AP exams will earn a 1 or a 2 on those tests, which will not help them test out and earn those coveted college credits. 

As a former high school teacher and current content author for AP History and Social Sciences, I’ve learned several key strategies to help your students earn the AP scores they need to assist them in their academic careers—and retain the material that they have learned.

1. Start talking about the test on Day 1.…Read More

Chicago students can take up to 5 mental health days

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

This story was produced as part of the Medill Media Teens journalism program for Chicago Public School students at Northwestern University. The writer worked under the mentorship of Medill graduate Anandita Bhalerao.

With working 25 hours a week at her minimum wage job at an ice cream shop, juggling a stressful workload with AP and honors classes, and dealing with anxiety, sometimes Jones College Prep sophomore Meghan Cuddy just needs a break. …Read More

New Collegiate Partnerships with Central High School Advances Student Learning Opportunites

Phenix City, Ala.— In the upcoming school year, high school students will have a selection of dual enrollment courses offered by new collegiate partnerships. Phenix City Schools partners with five colleges for the 2022 to 2023 school year: Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Auburn University, University of Alabama, Troy University, and Alabama State University.

These partnerships create additional learning opportunities for students interested in getting a headstart on earning college credits and seeking more challenging academic experiences. Some of these options are also open to Central Freshman Academy. Along with the new dual enrollment courses, students can enroll in new Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Central High School now offers 12 AP courses, such as AP World History, AP Environmental Science, and AP Macroeconomics. Teachers new to teaching AP courses will be AP-trained and receive three Continuing Education Units (CEU) or 30 hours of professional learning credits.

These new courses and learning avenues to Central High School’s curriculum joins a long list of classes and extracurricular activities. Central High School currently offers 14 Career and Technical Education classes in its CTE Academy and over 40 clubs and organizations. …Read More

Major equity gaps persist in access to AP science learning

Despite students saying that STEM courses are their favorite subject areas and that they aspire to go to college, Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds continue to be excluded from crucial learning opportunities available through AP STEM courses, according to a new report from Education Trust and Equity Opportunity Schools, Shut Out: Why Black and Latino Students are Under-Enrolled in AP STEM Courses.

This new research highlights that a positive and inviting school climate plays an important role in getting more Black and Latino students in advanced courses that would nurture their aspirations and interests and position them to thrive in college and future careers.

“Students who are ready and eager to take advanced placement courses at their schools shouldn’t be shut out because seats are not available or they don’t feel welcomed in these courses,” said Dr. Allison Socol, assistant director of P-12 policy at The Education Trust. “District and school leaders must lead efforts to build more welcoming and inclusive learning environments that ensure students who are interested in STEM professions are able to enroll and succeed in AP STEM courses.”…Read More

5 steps to building a robust online CTE program

For more than 16 years, my goal has been to help students discover their passions and see their potential through career and technical education (CTE). From when I taught math and programming in a brick-and-mortar school, to creating and designing CTE courses, to teaching AP computer science and the foundations of programming at Florida Virtual School (FLVS), to now researching, developing, and maintaining the FLVS CTE program alongside my incredible colleagues, CTE has never been more important to me. 

You may be asking yourself, why are you so passionate about CTE? The short answer is that during my teaching career, I quickly learned that some students do not want to go to college. Rather than forcing them to do something that their skills sets, talents, and desires don’t align with, I encouraged them to explore their passions to see if they could turn it into a career later in life. All students deserve the opportunity to do what they love, and it’s our jobs, as educators, to help them get there. 

Additionally, according to the U.S. Department of Education, eight years after their expected graduation date, students who focused on career and technical education courses in high school had higher median annual earnings than students who did not. There are also 30 million jobs in the United States that do not require a bachelor’s degree that pay median earnings of $55,000 or more, further highlighting how CTE programs can set students up for success. …Read More

Blackbird Announces First-ever Purpose-built Middle School Coding Education Platform

Created to Address the “Middle School Gap” – Blackbird Teaches Real-world Computer Science Skills, Aligned to Educational Standards

PORTLAND, April 14, 2021 – Blackbird, creators of the world’s first educational version of JavaScript, today announced the official launch of the Blackbird education platform. Successfully trialed in middle schools and coding academies throughout the country, Blackbird’s offering was built from the ground up to address the middle school gap in coding education – in a platform that can be administered by non-technical and technically minded teachers, instructors and parents. Based around Blackbird’s proprietary educational version of JavaScript, Blackbird provides students, even those who have not been drawn to STEM or coding, with an understanding and aptitude in one of the most commonly used programming languages on earth.

“Before Blackbird there were no tools available to bridge the expanse between elementary school block-based introductions to coding, and high school’s more advanced text-based coding, leading to frustration and a well-documented drop-off in computer science when students enter high school,” said Ness Blackbird, cofounder of Blackbird. “Based around our unique educational version of JavaScript, Blackbird enables middle school students to learn real-world, applicable coding skills in a platform that can be administered and led by even non-technical teachers and educators.”…Read More

The College Board Partners with PBLWorks to Train Teachers for New AP Courses Rooted in Project Based Learning

PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for Project Based Learning (PBL), has partnered with the College Board to offer a new PBL-based professional development program for Advanced Placement (AP) courses in Environmental Science and U.S Government and Politics. The new courses use a Project Based Learning method of teaching and are based on powerful new breakthrough research just released by the Center for Economic and Social Research at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, that found PBL coupled with high-quality professional development significantly improves student performance when compared to students in non-PBL classrooms.

Specifically, the research demonstrated that high school students in AP classes who engaged in hands-on, inquiry-based projects with real-world applications performed higher than their peers on AP U.S. Government and Politics and AP Environmental Science exams. In year one of a randomized controlled trial in five U.S. cities they scored 8 percentage points higher, and in year two of the study they scored 10 percentage points higher – and they were more likely to earn a qualifying score of 3 or above which could increase their chance of receiving college credit and saving on tuition.

“We’ve seen the impact of PBL firsthand in our work with schools and now this research provides proof of its impact on students who are taking AP classes,” said Bob Lenz, CEO of PBLWorks, “That’s why we’ve partnered with the College Board to support new project-based AP courses that are relevant, authentic, and engaging.”…Read More

Vernier Software & Technology Launches New Wireless Probe for AP and College-Level Chemistry

Ideal for Advanced Placement® (AP) Chemistry and college-level general chemistry, the affordable and durable Go Direct Platinum-Cell Conductivity Probe from Vernier Software & Technology helps students determine a solution’s conductivity or the total ion concentration with high accuracy and chemical compatibility.

“Our new probe has an epoxy body and platinum-cell sensing element that notably provides greater chemical compatibility. This probe enables students to measure the conductivity of strong acids, strong bases, and non-aqueous solutions during experiments without any risk of damaging the sensor,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “The durable Go Direct Platinum-Cell Conductivity Probe automatically adjusts its conductivity range in response to the concentration of the given solution to provide students with the most accurate readings possible.”

Go Direct Platinum-Cell Conductivity features a wide 0 to 20,000 μS/cm range that ensures optimal precision during various experiments, such as exploring the base hydrolysis of ethyl acetate under various conditions and other common environmental tests of aquatic samples.…Read More

UWorld Launches New Tools to Support Educators in Fostering AP® Success

UWorld, the worldwide leader in online learning to prepare for high-stakes exams, today announced the launch of AP® (Advanced Placement®) Learning Tools, a new College Readiness solution to help educators enhance instruction, improve student performance, and effectively prepare for AP exams. The tools save teachers time while enabling students to achieve their academic goals.

Forty percent of students who take AP exams only earn a score of 1 or 2, but studies show that students who score a 3 or higher are more likely to be successful in college and graduate. AP Learning Tools uses College Board®-level questions and clear, concise answer explanations to help students understand why they got an answer wrong, retain information, develop critical thinking skills, and deepen subject-area knowledge.

“Some 1.24 million students took an AP exam in 2019, and that number is predicted to grow year-over-year—and yet educators have little access to AP instruction and exam prep resources that are particularly effective in distance and hybrid learning environments,” said Chandra S. Pemmasani, M.D., UWorld’s founder and CEO. “With our AP Learning Tools, educators have access to progress and performance tracking that helps them identify gaps, modify instructional approaches, and support students—all from their computer.”

All of UWorld’s College Readiness solutions are developed using research-based educational strategies that support instruction, improve engagement, and build critical-thinking skills so that students have the knowledge and confidence to succeed. The answer choices used in AP Learning Tools are updated weekly to ensure alignment to current AP courses and exams. An easy-to-use assignment tool allows educators to customize assignments and integrate content into lessons. Plus, reporting tools provide meaningful insight into student AP performance at the classroom, school and district level.…Read More