Explore School Models
In today’s educational landscape, there are very unique approaches to education. All models accomplish the outcomes of learning but in just a slightly different way. Many schools combine various approaches while some schools are very focused on one. Every charter school has a culture that is unique in it’s own way. However, there are some common approaches to learning that can be found across the state.
A blended learning environment combines face-to-face classroom interaction with computer-mediated activities. This approach to education allows for students to receive more individualized support in comparison to a traditional classroom lecture model. A blended learning environment’s success is dependent on the teacher’s ability to integrate technology appropriately as a support mechanism for curriculum delivered face-to-face initially.
Character education is a method of building the whole child by teaching kids the proper way to act. Character education programs often instill a sense of leadership in kids as they build confidence in themselves and build respect among others for their actions. Topics under character education can include life skills education, violence prevention, critical thinking, ethical reasoning and conflict resolution. Most schools have a character education program threaded within their culture. It’s often recognized by an acronym such as PRIDE or RESPECT.
Dual enrollment is when a student in high school is also enrolled in college level classes. Dual enrollment allows a student to satisfy both secondary graduation requirements while earning college credit. Some schools are based on this model and ensure that students graduate high school with an Associate’s Degree in college. This allows a student a head start in college towards pursuing a higher level degree and/or being prepared to enter the work force.
Some schools offer extended hours in the school day and/or Saturday classes in order to give students more time for learning. In most cases, extended school day structures do not require homework but rather time is allowed for work to be done in school under the supervision and guidance of a teacher. Extended school days provide a safe environment with resources such as internet access and computers to allow students to access resources that may not otherwise be available.
Some schools provide a strong integrated arts program to support the core curriculum areas. While shrinking budgets often preclude schools from offering the arts specific classes such as art, music, dance and drama, arts focused schools have integrated the arts into each classroom. Studies show that participating in the arts can actually boost student achievement in other academic areas. Further, for students who are interested in the arts, this integration provides for greater engagement in subject areas in which a child might typically struggle to find interest.
Mastery level learning refers to the ability to progress at an individual’s own pace within a subject. Mastery learning moves the focus from grade level to actual knowledge and empowers teachers to differentiate the instruction to each individual’s needs. An environment focused on master learning can support kids in subject areas in which they are behind traditional grade level expectations as well as excel students in subject areas in which they have found great success. Mastery level learning keeps the student as the main focus.
Some schools provide a curriculum applying greater focus on mathematical and scientific approaches to learning. Students who enjoy the subjects of Math and Science may find greater success in other areas through the overall engagement of education. Schools with a focus in math and science, do not focus any less on traditional standardized testing elements.
Project based learning is an approach to education that is built upon activities that engage student interest and motivation. These activities are designed to answer a question or solve a problem. Problem based learning is an approach that allows for more in-depth learning. A well-designed project forces students to investigate root cause of the problem and creatively design solutions.
Ratios are often presented in different ways from school to school. The official representation of a student-to-teacher ratio is the number of qualified teachers in a classroom as compared to the number of students. However, as schools have begun to implement technology and differentiated instruction techniques into classrooms, often times a student-to-adult ratio is reported. An adult in the classroom could be a paraprofessional, a volunteer parent, etc.