For nearly 90 years, Maryknoll School in Honolulu, Hawaii, has been one of the state’s premiere private schools. Since 2007, every single graduate of Maryknoll has gone on to higher education. Nevertheless, the leaders of the school recognized that education is changing rapidly. The status-quo education will soon no longer produce students who are prepared to compete in the 21st century economy
According to the school’s virtual learning vision statement: “Through Edmentum, Maryknoll seeks to provide differentiated instruction to a wide range of students in various programs, ranging from hybrid/blended to distance learning. Some classes will be taught in traditional classrooms, while others will be taught in learning commons—‘classrooms without walls.’”
At the core of this innovative vision are the school’s new Mx Scholar Programs, beginning with a STEM and aerospace program in partnership with the Civil Air Patrol and technology-related business partners.
“We wanted a program that was unique and entrepreneurial that empowers students to speak up and be the bridge builders of tomorrow,” said Maryknoll president Perry Martin in a recent interview with Hawaii Business.
“We were looking for a differentiated and engaging curriculum that could be taken anywhere and not be confined to a classroom setting,” recalled Maryknoll director of virtual curriculum Stephanie Frank. “We vetted a number of online solutions based on curriculum, assessments, analytics, collaboration, parental involvement, flexibility, usability, professional development, and pricing. Overall, Edmentum rated highest.”
At the front of the minds of Maryknoll’s administration was accommodating a student body that tends to advance more quickly than a standard curriculum. This requires flexibility. “Edmentum allows these students to go as fast as they desire and also allows them to be exempt from materials they already know,” said Frank.
Maryknoll’s first Mx Scholar Program is STEM & Aerospace. Future programs will focus on additional subjects. The goals of the programs are high. The unique flexibility of online learning for accelerated students allows time for real-world, project-based activities that will make up the majority of the school day.
The Mx Scholar Program for STEM & Aerospace will be housed at the Civil Air Patrol’s newly renovated station at the local airport. In addition to their core coursework, students need time to participate in flight lessons, robotics workshops, and mentoring opportunities with local STEM-related businesses, which is why differentiated pacing is so paramount. Through Mx STEM & Aerospace, it will be possible for students to earn a pilot’s license before a driver’s license.
“Learning happens electronically, in a group or individually. It can be delivered anytime; learning doesn’t stop at 3:30,” said Martin to Hawaii Business.
Also key to the program are the school’s partnerships with local and national businesses and organizations. In particular, the defense, aerospace, and security company BAE Systems helped Maryknoll design a curriculum that reflects the needs of a 21st century aeronautics firm. To date, 10 other partners have signed on, ranging from engineering firms to organizations that offer drone operator training. The businesses involved can also participate by mentoring individual students, which eventually could lead to potential professional opportunities.
However, Maryknoll’s adoption of technology is not limited to the Mx Scholar Programs. In fact, it crosses the Pacific Ocean. Students throughout the main campus will avail themselves of a flexible, differentiated curriculum that melds to the needs of the individual student, including core curriculum materials, test preparation, and programs outside of regular school hours. Maryknoll’s partner schools in Wuhan and Shanghai, China, will also access this curriculum remotely to make sure that their exchange students stay on track. In each setting, the learning is adaptive and might include an entire class or a few students working in a “classroom without walls.”
Outside of Maryknoll’s Mx Scholar Programs, the school has found success in implementing Edmentum products, such as Plato Courseware and Edmentum Assessments, in other areas of learning as well. For instance, the beginning Spanish class has already seen its pre- to post-test average increase over 40% as a result of implementing these solutions. In addition, Maryknoll has also seen a significant increase in teacher-student communication, which has doubled since utilizing Edmentum’s innovative collaboration tools on the learning platform.
Maryknoll's Mx Scholar Program for STEM & Aerospace opens in the fall of 2016 and is looking to welcome 90 student-leaders who will solve for "x" – the unknown challenges of the future.
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