Bend-La Pine School District, OR - 2013 Transformation Award Winner

Mary Kate Appel

Transformation Award: For taking a comprehensive, open approach to serving students across the district, effectively providing a "School of One" to meet students' individual needs.

When Bend-La Pine School District launched its online charter high school nine years ago, its initial goal was to provide supplemental online courses for struggling students and advanced learners. In response to community support and demand for more online options, in 2012, Bend decided to aggressively expand its online programs, integrating online learning into all of the district’s K–12 schools, with the goal of using online options to meet the needs of each student in the district—essentially offering a "school of one." 

When Bend-La Pine Schools launched its expanded online curriculum program last year, administrators thought it would initially serve an additional 50 families. To date, the district has more than 250 families enrolled and more are inquiring about the program and enrollment each month. In addition, up until 2012, the online program was purely supplemental for students in grades 9-12, who were allowed to take one to two courses at a time. Today, the district serves students from pre-K through 12th grade.    

Bend-La Pine provides full-time and part-time online programs, as well as credit recovery and supplemental programs, in a variety of learning environments. For example, the district has created a blended learning environment that allows students to take online courses at home or in their “flex café,” where instruction is provided by an instructor in a flipped or rotation model within their flexible learning environment. 

Bend also provides students a broad range of curriculum options, scheduling flexibility, and teacher support that helps personalize learning to meet each individual's needs. The district has implemented policies that allow families to customize learning for their children, such as the flexible course timeframes that match the pace of the course to the student’s level of understanding—and Bend uses online learning to individualize the path of instruction across a wide range of courses. Further, Bend implemented a policy that keeps enrollment open all year, removing yet another barrier to truly meet students’ needs. Today, Bend-La Pine serves more than 2,000 students annually through its online programs.

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