The power of partnerships between schools, districts, companies, and programs to reach students learning goals does not go unnoticed on the Blended Learning Universe (BLU). A few months ago, I was perusing our BLU Directory to uncover the kinds of partnerships schools and districts were forging to bring blended learning into classrooms. I came across the Hybrid Learning Institute, which I had noticed a few years back, and decided to call them to learn more about their school programs. I discovered that the Institute has since become a new company called LearnSTEMic. With the help of LearnSTEMic’s Director of Learning, Clare Coupe Scott, I was able to learn more about how three districts in central Pennsylvania are using LearnSTEMic’s solutions to implement Station Rotationblended-learning models and achieve student success.
LearnSTEMic brings blended learning into districts with a four-part, integrated approach:
- A solutions framework
- On-demand professional learning
- Expert support
- A measurement dashboard
The LearnSTEMic solutions framework is developed based on a district’s existing organizational system, curriculum, technology, and professional development. With this, the blueprint is created to target specific educational goals, outcomes, and measures.
LearnSTEMic provides various professional development opportunities with multiple levels of rigor for all stakeholders: administrators, coaches, and teachers. However, this professional development is not a one-time resource – LearnSTEMic coaches follow the district on their blended-learning journey both online and in-person. These coaches organize modules and embed custom learning objectives in stakeholders’ learning pathways throughout implementation.
Finally, LearnSTEMic’s measurement dashboard tracks progress and outcomes throughout the school year; the data managed in this dashboard includes academic reports, surveys, and observation feedback.
Millville Area School District’s model: Creating Station Rotation coaches
In 2015, Millville Area School District – a small rural district consisting of an elementary and junior/senior high school – teamed up with LearnSTEMic to pilot a Station Rotation model in their 3rd and 5th grade classrooms. First, a LearnSTEMic coach gave a three-day training session for the staff on blended learning in general and Station Rotation in particular. This laid the groundwork for Millville’s blended-learning model, which uses a three-station rotation: one station of direct instruction, one of collaboration, and one of independent study. Throughout the year, the LearnSTEMic coach followed student and teacher progress with classroom observations, teacher surveys, and data analysis. After observing noticeable growth using the measurement dashboard, the LearnSTEMic coach has trained three staff members to be “hybrid coaches” who can more directly and frequently help math and ELA teachers with their Station Rotations.
Conrad Weiser Area School District’s model: More than devices
Seventy-seven miles south, Conrad Weiser Area School District set up a similar program in their middle and high schools. When the district implemented its 1:1 device program in 2015, they knew that they had to pair this technology with instructional change in order to hit their goals of increasing student engagement and choice, increasing academic interaction with peers, and building time management and problem solving skills. So they started working with LearnSTEMic to set up their three-station Station Rotation. Teachers at CWASD use the LMS Schoology to manage all of their self-created curriculum; this content is used in the independent and collaborative stations, and the data collected on Schoology inform student groupings, as well as what teachers should be focusing on in the direct instruction station.
Gettysburg Area School District’s model: Multiple models
On the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, Gettysburg Area School District is also bringing Station Rotation to its students in high school, middle school, and three elementary schools. They chose this blended-learning model because by delivering lessons in small groups and using data to differentiate instruction, students are at the center of their learning. In addition to a Station Rotation, Gettysburg High School also implements an Enriched Virtual model for some English, Social Studies, and elective classes. This is another way that Gettysburg ensures that students are at the center of their learning, thanks to a flexible and responsive learning environment that allows them to move at their own pace based on content mastery.
Is the program driving outcomes?
Thanks to its measurement dashboard, LearnSTEMic can track the development of all of its programs. In January, they released program results for the 2016-17 school year, which includes data from district benchmark and state assessment results, teacher and student surveys, and classroom observations of all 23 school districts with whom they work. This report is unique in that it gives a high-level overview of all LearnSTEMic schools, including schools in their first year of blended-learning implementation, as well as veteran schools who have been blended for four years or more.
Regarding academic growth, students in LearnSTEMic schools grew an average of 102% on math benchmark assessments and 23% on ELA benchmark assessments. Comparing state assessments with similar student cohorts at traditional districts, LearnSTEMic students outperformed in almost every category: Elementary school students demonstrated 17% greater growth in math than traditional students. In ELA, middle school students’ scores advanced at a rate 25% higher than traditional students. And at the High School level, students in personalized-learning classrooms passed at a rate 22% higher than students in traditional learning environments.
Academics isn’t the only metric that schools want to measure. Using parent, teacher, and student surveys, LearnSTEMic was able to capture how blended learning can help improve student collaboration, critical thinking, engagement, and more. According the surveys, 90% of teachers said that utilizing personalized-learning strategies improved student participation and engagement, and 61% of students reported that a personalized-learning environment met their individual learning needs. The results have been positive enough that 91% of teachers said if given the choice, they would continue teaching in a personalized-learning environment versus returning to a traditional environment.
Ultimately, LearnSTEMic’s holistic and personalized approach for each district shows promise in bringing students to the center of their own learning. To see more examples of schools and districts using LearnSTEMic’s blended-learning approach, check out their profiles on the BLU, including the former Hybrid Learning Institute’s partner schools.
And while this article primarily focuses on schools who have adopted the Station Rotation model, LearnSTEMic works with schools using various personalized-learning approaches. In addition, LearnSTEMic is expanding their solution to include a STEM framework and professional learning curriculum.