Overcoming Curriculum and Staffing Gaps at the Start of the School Year

October 7, 2015

 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 9:00am

A common challenge faced by schools and districts at the start of the new school year is being able to offer courses in which enrollment is low or teachers are hard to find. It may not be cost-effective to offer Japanese, for instance, and it’s always easier to find a social studies teacher than someone to fill an unexpected opening in physics.

By leveraging online and blended learning, schools and districts can sidestep these limitations quickly and reasonably. The wide variety of engaging, online courses, which in many cases are supported by online teachers, enables schools to serve their entire student population and their wide-ranging interests.

The FuelEd catalog features more than 500 courses and titles for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. This constantly updated catalog is designed for online and blended learning environments—in classrooms, computer labs, libraries, and anywhere with Internet access—and allows schools and districts to offer solutions for students of every ability level, from core courses that meet state standards on up through Honors and AP levels.

Online and blended learning can open the door to students interested in Mandarin Chinese, Archaeology, AP® Macroeconomics, or scores of electives that will help them fuel their scholastic and career goals.

The Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver, Washington, found the FuelEd solution to be the perfect fit to fill a variety of curriculum gaps across the district.

“The biggest challenge we were looking to solve is to provide additional opportunities to students,” says Josh Johnson, assistant principal of Cascade Middle School, where world language options were lacking. “We didn’t have a lot of offerings. We’re limited in what we can provide teachers for. This was a way for us to provide multiple language opportunities that wouldn’t be possible. To have four languages in one class with 30 kids is a huge advantage. The success that students are experiencing is beating all expectations.”

Of course, an abundance of quality courses would mean little without available skilled teachers, and many stories in the media this past summer have highlighted the problem of teacher shortages around the country. One article in Education Week noted that the Clark County, Nevada, school district even launched a nationwide campaign to entice both new and retired teachers with hiring bonuses of up to $5,000. Another story highlighted how school districts in California were competing to hire available teachers, where statewide teacher shortages are estimated at more than 21,000.

For years, FuelEd has provided instructional services with our highly qualified, certified teachers to help schools and districts temporarily fill a position or find a more permanent instructional solution. We have hundreds of teachers across the United States who are certified in your state and are highly experienced, power users of our curriculum and learning technology. All our instructors have bachelor’s degrees or higher from accredited universities or colleges, and they all have extensive training in online instruction.

Personalized attention and communication are keys to the success of any online program. FuelEd instructors are in touch frequently with students via e-mail, in online discussion boards, during online class sessions, and by phone or chat.

“FuelEd instructors are terrific. They’re very engaging, and they set a warm tone that helps make our students feel comfortable asking for help,” says Joel Smith, former eLearning facilitator at the Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston, Texas.

FuelEd recently published a guide to using online and blended learning to help fill curriculum and staffing gaps, featuring several schools and districts, called, “Filling the Gaps at the Start of the School Year: Six Solutions to Curriculum Challenges.”

 

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