In 2020, the focus in education for many shifted to help students (and educators) adapt to an online learning model resulting from to the ongoing pandemic. And 2021 is already forcing educators to tackle a different kind of beast—bringing students back into the classroom. One district in St. Louis has seamlessly transitioned its students from a fully virtual classroom to a hybrid learning model by offering flexible, customized learning for all students.
St. Louis’ Affton School District has been utilizing Edgenuity’s online learning curriculum and courses in their schools for nearly 12 years to provide virtual opportunities for students. And now, this curriculum is helping students safely transition to hybrid learning. Lauren Widmer, Affton School District’s Director of Academic Options, sat down with us to share the district’s success in integrating students back into the classroom.
Helping Students Safely Transition to Hybrid Learning
With an entirely new direction for education in 2021, the big question is how can students begin to safely transition back into the classroom? By enriching their middle- and high-school classrooms with online learning tools and curriculum, educators in St. Louis have helped students maintain their academic goals and success through this tumultuous school year.
“The flexibility of getting a multitude of digital resources to students in real-time, in a format that is easy for students, parents, and teachers to navigate has been a true lifesaver,” Lauren says. This has ensured that students not only have rich relationships with district teachers but also access to flexible, engaging curriculum.
Through Edgenuity, students can watch concept topic videos, participate in virtual labs, and complete assessments that are aligned to school and Missouri state standards, which has been extremely beneficial as students safely transition to hybrid learning.
Flexible Scheduling for Students and Counselors
With Edgenuity Instructional Services, administrators in Affton SD can enroll their students at any time in the semester and also customize the start and end dates for courses to meet their district’s academic calendar.
Students also have the opportunity to begin a course when it’s convenient for them, and course content can be customized to match the district and state requirements. This also provides high-achieving students with the flexibility they may need to take honors and AP® courses or other unique course offerings.
Affton’s school counselors now maintain a functional, in-person master schedule. With students taking courses like personal finance, health, PE, and fine arts electives online on their own time, this master schedule helps administrators avoid scheduling conflicts, and promotes a safe environment for in-person learning.
The flexibility of getting a multitude of digital resources to students in real-time, in a format that is easy for students, parents, and teachers to navigate has been a true lifesaver.
Course Customization Tools for Any Student
With the online curriculum, educators can customize each student’s courses to reflect their current standing before transitioning back into the school building.
“Because we are a relatively small school district, it allows us to maintain an academically rigorous, challenging, and engaging path through high school for all of our students,” Lauren shared when discussing their customized course offerings.
Plus, learning supports like translation features and guided notes enable teachers to get real content to students regardless of their language proficiency—and this is essential in Affton, which has a very diverse student population.
Focus for Summer 2021
To address the learning loss resulting from school closures, administrators in Affton are determined to offer as many credit-earning opportunities as possible to students who are trying to catch up or graduate.
This summer, students—including those participating in the Missouri Options Alternative Pathway to Graduation program—can take courses that are not normally available to them during the break so they can make up any credit they need to meet their academic goals.
Providing these additional opportunities to earn credits is important, but the main focus for the Affton staff is to help students safely transition to hybrid learning so they don’t experience any more disruptions of their learning—which means they may see a different school year come the fall.