Blended Learning at Florence Crittenton High School in 2019-2020 School Year
Senior Abigail works on her Chromebook, which allows her to access schoolwork remotely Florence Crittenton High School (FCHS) is always working to find creative and innovative learning solutions to meet the unique needs of our student…
Florence Crittenton High School (FCHS) is always working to find creative and innovative learning solutions to meet the unique needs of our student population and to help our teen moms succeed in their academics. For the 2019-2020 school year, the high school experimented with a Blended Learning model into a few of its classrooms with a few teachers. “This type of learning involves both online components using technology and in-person engagement with the teacher,” explains Principal Michelle Wright. “Materials and learning tasks are available on a learning management platform so students can access those materials at any time and at their own pace. When working directly with the teacher, most of that time is spent with the teacher guiding the student, providing feedback so that the student understands what she needs to do to succeed on tasks.”
FloCrit teen moms face various hurdles that often make in-person attendance difficult, so FCHS decided to start using the Blended Learning model to make learning more accessible. Teen moms who had been absent were returning to class and were not able to engage in learning because the class had proceeded without them. As a result, the learning needs of many of our young moms were not being met, and they were being increasingly penalized for not attending school regularly, thereby getting further behind in their academics. The Blended Learning model provides access to curriculum, materials, and tasks online so that young moms can access them anywhere, at any time. “FCHS is a MyTech school, so we had Chromebooks available for every student,” says Wright. “If a teen mom has been absent for an extended period of time, she can log into the platform when she returns and continue her learning where she left off, thereby removing the attendance barrier to learning. This was not possible in a traditional classroom model.”
Staff members who piloted the model had to create an entire course, with all tasks and materials, ahead of time, so that they would be ready and accessible to students on day one. This took a lot of upfront planning for teachers. They also had to learn how to organize the course on the learning management platform so that it was clear to students what to do. Teachers did not have to change their curriculum – they only had to make sure all learning tasks were available online.
When schools closed in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most FloCrit teachers already had coursework and tasks available on Schoology. “Students also had experience accessing coursework on Schoology and so they did not need to learn how to do that when school closed,” says Wright. “The Blended Learning model FCHS already had in place made it easier to avoid the “implementation dip” that we otherwise would have faced had teachers and students not been familiar with an online learning platform.” FCHS teachers and students were better prepared to make the transition to remote learning because they had already been using Schoology and the Blended Learning pilot during the school year. Many teen moms were able to engage and transition successfully due to that familiarity with the system. No matter what school looks like at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, FCHS will continue to use the Blended Learning model to help our teen moms access academics successfully. This coming school year, due to promising results from the pilot, FCHS is expanding the approach to all classrooms.