Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAS), CA - 2014 Transformation Award Winner

Mary Kate Appel

Transformation Award Winner: For providing students a fully online personalized learning program enabling outstanding achievement on state exams.

The California-based Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAS) provides students in kindergarten through grade 12 a school experience like no other. With more than 90 online courses from which to choose, students enjoy a personalized, full-time, fully online program tailored to their goals and abilities that has helped them achieve outstanding results on California state exams.

Students use FuelEd and K12 curriculum to work at an individualized pace, and teachers supplement their lessons with live, virtual sessions and office hours.

In addition, teachers serve in multiple roles—as mentors, homeroom teachers, and content teachers—to help students be more successful and support their learning coaches.

The AAS program requires that teachers remain in constant communication with students and families. At least once a week, teachers call or e-mail families to check in with students and discuss progress, concerns, and successes. Teachers are also required to return work with quality comments within three days of submission. This strict grading policy is in place to ensure that students receive the feedback they need to grow and improve.

According to parent Randi Fine, “The amount of personal connection between teacher and student has made the difference in my son's academic success."

On average, 80 percent of AAS students return to its program annually. Through word of mouth, student enrollment has increased at a rate of 20 percent or greater over the last several years. Enrollment nearly doubled for the current school year with the addition of four new schools to the AAS program.

The program has also experienced strong academic results. AAS’s California High School Exit Exam scores have increased to a 95 percent pass rate, and the number of students that are behind or at risk has significantly decreased.

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