Nassau BOCES runs Online Learning Academy Summer School Pilots
The Nassau BOCES Online Learning Academy launched several pilots for alternative Summer School programs in Valley Stream CHSD, Westhampton Beach UFSD and the Springs UFSD in Easthampton. All three programs were aimed at assisting students in succeeding in these courses during the school year or for credit recovery.
Students at the Springs School in East Hampton took credit recovery courses facilitated by virtual ‘Teachers of Record’ (TORs). The TORs met with students at various times through live virtual meetings during the onsite session. There was also a site-based mentor who provided onsite support to the students. “We truly appreciated the program. The kids did great as it was differentiated for them based on content,” said Eric M. Casale, Principal, Springs School.
Eighth-grade ELL students in the Valley Stream CHSD took a Pre-Algebra course as part of a new initiative through the “VirtuELL” program. This is very helpful for supporting ELL students since the online content is translatable into many different languages. The teacher reviews the main idea with all students as a group. Students then work on their own or help one another as they practice their new skill or concept. Students then completed online assessments to provide feedback on their level of understanding. This class was offered to better enable the students to succeed in their fall, credit-bearing courses.
Jennifer DiMaio, Director of Instructional Services, Valley Stream UFSD, praised the program and stated that “this pilot was a very successful program that provided students with technology that was motivational and provided individualized instruction. The support of the teacher who modeled strategies and steps for them allowed the students to feel confident and comfortable in the classroom. The students were very motivated to open the laptops each day and begin the day’s lesson. They liked the structured approach to the curriculum but also appreciated having an on-site teacher to guide them through the learning process.”
In order to attend regional summer school, students from Westhampton Beach UFSD have had to travel about one hour each way. This year the district ran a pilot with 18 students taking 11 courses.
All the students worked in online courses delivered through blended learning environments. Blended learning combines traditional face-to-face instruction with online learning.
This initial pilot was successful on many fronts. Attendance at all sights was exceptionally high and the dropout rate for all three pilots was zero. Students enjoyed the instructional format that included both group instruction and individualized work in their online courses. Students felt that having an onsite teacher, as well as live streaming meetings with their Teacher of Record, were essential to their success.
The Center for Online Learning (COL) team will continue to work with district administrators to improve, investigate and plan for future alternative summer school models. “I am thankful to the district administrators willing to ‘go the extra mile’ and to take the risks involved in piloting new programs. The COL team is pleased with the success of these pilots and looks forward to growing these programs based on what was learned,” said Elisa Maggi, Supervisor for the COL.
The COL seeks to add alternative models to the existing traditional summer school classrooms. These models help small districts with populations too low to run summer schools, the opportunity for students who do not thrive in traditional classroom settings, allows for quality and consistency of course content and instruction and gives specialized support to the growing immigrant population.
About Nassau BOCES Online Learning Academy
The Online Learning Academy (OLA) enables school districts to provide a variety of courses for which in-district faculty or facilities may not be available and to add alternative models to the existing traditional summer school classrooms. It also provides an excellent, cost-effective program for homebound students. The OLA fully prepares your K-12 students for college and career by enrolling them in the courses they need. Many Online Learning Academy courses are facilitated by members of the Nassau BOCES Virtual Teacher of Record Team.