Flexible Learning Options Provide Continuity Amidst School Disruptions in Alabama

Flexible Learning Options Provide Continuity Amidst School Disruptions in Alabama

Decatur City Schools - Decatur, AL
Anita Clarke
Supervisor of Secondary Curriculum Instruction
8899
Grades 6-12
Courseware
59% Economically Disadvantaged
63% Caucasian
28% African American
31% Hispanic
The Challenge: 

Decatur City Schools (DCS) in Decatur, Alabama, stands firm on the mission to provide an innovative learning community committed to providing academic excellence and meeting the unique needs of every individual student. Presenting an opportunity for students to recover credits ensured that the district was meeting its goal of producing 100-percent college- and career-ready graduates by creating a path for them to stay on track to graduate on time.

 

Decatur City Schools began implementing Courseware as a way for students to recover credits, as well as earn first-time credits through a flexible virtual offering. Beginning in March 2020, COVID-19 added complexity that the district’s already-established partnership with Edmentum was able to greatly support. By the end of the 2020–21 school year, teachers had learned to maximize their partnership with Edmentum, providing continuous learning opportunities no matter if students attended in person or virtually.
How They Did it: 

For more than a decade, Decatur City Schools has partnered with Edmentum to implement Courseware, Edmentum’s 6th to 12th grade digital curricula. Initially, the district was looking at credit recovery efforts for high school students in particular, which then transformed into a virtual component to conduct distance learning, as well as expand course options for middle and high school students.

At the start of the 2020–21 school year, teachers were trained and supported by the Edmentum team, who helped with setting up Edmentum courses based on the district’s pacing guides. DCS teachers delivered the instruction through a variety of learning models.

“By pacing the Edmentum curriculum, those teachers that may have had three virtual classes and three traditional classes were able to stay on pace based on the pacing guides that we built for our district. It did not matter if teachers were doing Edmentum virtually or in the traditional setting with students in the classroom,” said Anita Clarke, supervisor of secondary curriculum instruction at DCS.

Furthermore, the teachers conducted live instruction in order to walk the students through various pieces of the platform, answer questions, and review lessons.

“We wanted to make sure our students performed well no matter their learning environment,” explained Mrs. Clarke. “Whether they were in person or not, we wanted to make sure they were getting a quality education.”  

With so little time, teachers had to learn so many things that would help with maneuvering through the learning environment, including the different reports available within the dashboard to assess student progress.

“I would definitely tell you that our teachers rose to the challenge,” said Mrs. Clarke. “Having resources such as Edmentum and the support of our Edmentum team made our students’ educational process a lot easier during COVID.”

“I just can’t commend Edmentum enough for being so flexible in working with us to ensure that our students were successful because that’s our big piece,” affirmed Mrs. Clarke. “It’s all about our kids and what we can do to be flexible enough to help them be successful in school.”
Anita Clarke
Supervisor of Secondary Curriculum Instruction
Success: 

Even though teachers were new to the platform, Mrs. Clarke says that having the tutorial videos embedded in the instruction is what teachers liked most about Courseware because the students could work independently at their own pace.

“It just afforded the teachers an opportunity to provide the support at a different level,” reported Mrs. Clarke. “They didn’t necessarily have to do a lot of the planning side of it or any of that.”

Because students had the option of engaging in learning traditionally or virtually, Courseware made it easier for students to pivot between their mode of instruction at any time.

“The thing that I’m most proud of is that we were able to, in conjunction with Edmentum support, structure the courses and align the content with what we were doing in our district,” said Mrs. Clarke.  

The district leaders felt confident in course alignment to standards and collaborated with the Edmentum team to tweak any courses in which they wanted deeper coverage for a particular standard.

“If there were standards not covered adequately in the Edmentum platform, teachers voiced the concern with comments such as, ‘Hey, there’s not enough of this’ or ‘This standard is not covered’—when we had those conversations, the correspondence from the Edmentum team was immediate; the fix was immediate,” described Mrs. Clarke.

The Future: 

Decatur City Schools plans on continuing with its virtual program utilizing dedicated in-district virtual teachers for the 2021–22 school year and continuing to offer Courseware for course and credit recovery in the Edmentum lab to students who attend in person.

“We were very fortunate as a district to be able to provide teachers with this resource to educate our students, as well as provide them with all of the technology and everything that was necessary to make it happen,” said Mrs. Clarke.

“I just can’t commend Edmentum enough for being so flexible in working with us to ensure that our students were successful because that’s our big piece,” affirmed Mrs. Clarke. “It’s all about our kids and what we can do to be flexible enough to help them be successful in school.”

For more infomation:

Contact 800.447.5286 or visit www.edmentum.com to learn more about Edmentum's online learning solutions.