Blended Learning Success: Positively Impacting Every Student

May 5, 2016

Contributor: 
Amanda Cunningham
Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 8:15am

In its new series, “Research: Outcomes of Blended/Online Learning Programs,” the Evergreen Education Group takes an in-depth look at successful blended and online programs across the nation to examine the best practices that have created tangible results. We are pleased to share with you some highlights from the Crater Lake Charter Academy case study.

Blended Learning Success

In only their second school year in operation, more than 200 students are currently enrolled at Crater Lake Charter Academy (CLCA), a blended learning comprehensive charter school located in Eagle Point, Oregon, serving grades K through 12.

Six months after opening its doors, CLCA began the accreditation process through AdvancED, an accrediting agency that conducts onsite external reviews of pre-K–12 schools and school systems. As part of their accreditation survey, they questioned CLCA elementary and secondary students and their parents. Below are the especially positive results from the survey where 94 percent of elementary and secondary students agreed that “teachers help me prepare for the next school year.”

The Crater Lake Academy Story

Following a one-year virtual academy pilot program, called D9 Online, Crater Lake Charter Academy was opened in September 2014 as a blended learning program for grades K–12. In September 2015, about 70 new students enrolled for the fall 2015 semester and CLCA was able to move into a new, open-spaced facility that more than doubled their instructional space. This fully renovated facility is brightly lit and furnished to be well suited to CLCA’s blended learning model.

As of fall 2015, CLCA has more than 200 students with 3.75 teachers and four support staff in their open-spaced, blended learning environment.

Methods for Success

CLCA offers both on-campus and virtual programs and of the 200 students enrolled:

  • 150 of them come to campus four times a week for six hours each day
  • 40 students come to campus less often but are still engaged in the on-campus program
  • 10 students are enrolled in the virtual program and study online from home

In the new facility, CLCA teachers are in the learning center every school day from 8 AM to 4 PM and most of the students spend significantly more time in this center than the required 30 minutes per week. While in the learning center, teachers answer any questions that students might have and personalize instruction to address their individual needs; students may use this center anytime it is open to work on their own.

For elementary and middle school students, CLCA teachers and aides create weekly pacing guides to help keep students on track and at the beginning of every day, students receive a personalized learning plan that includes printed packets, books, and other offline materials. 

"I get more help from my teachers here than at my other school [traditional brick-and-mortar].” CLCA student

Each on-campus school day has a set block of time for math, language arts, science, and social studies. For example, the math block is from 8 AM to 9:30 PM, and during this time students may study math online in the learning center, study math topics from their learning plan packets, work with a teacher one-to-one to clarify topics, attend a small classroom lecture, discussion, or choose another instructional activity focused on math.

CLCA high school students (grades 9–12) can create their own schedule. They generally study online from home with the exception of some courses with mandatory attendance dates in the CLCA learning center.

All CLCA students may attend a traditional district school to take any art, physical education, or science classes. Virtual students also come to the campus periodically to meet with their teachers, complete instructional activities such as laboratory experiments, and participate in social activities.

Crater Lake Curriculum

CLCA uses FuelEd courses as their primary curriculum for all students, and CLCA teachers are the teachers of record for all courses with the exception of a few electives.

Crater Lake Charter Academy, a K–12 public charter school in Eagle Point, Oregon, has met their mission to positively impact every student every day by providing the ultimate flexibility in a blended learning environment so students can chart their own personalized learning path.

To see Crater Lake Charter Academy in action, check out these videos on the FuelEd resource page or these corresponding articles.

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