The Commonwealth Education Connections instructional method is designed around each student from the ground up, with the daily routine driven by data about his or her learning and activities designed to maximize both academic performance and social/emotional growth. Key instructional design elements for Commonwealth Education Connections include:
Unique Blended Learning Model: Commonwealth Education Connections utilizes a cutting?edge blend of face?to? face and online instruction, digital and hands?on curriculum, individualized and team? based learning to provide an engaging and effective educational experience for each student.
Technology?Facilitated Curriculum: Commonwealth Education Connections intends to use a high?quality, proven? effective curriculum consisting of hundreds of technology?delivered but teacher?driven courses. This comprehensive program offers multiple levels of core academic coursework
– Advanced Placement®, Honors, Standard, Foundations, and Credit Recovery – plus a dozen foreign languages, cutting?edge technology electives, and engaging arts courses. Throughout the flexible school day and beyond, students access this entire curriculum via their school?provided tablet computers, which allow them to work anywhere, anytime – and produce a rich stream of learning data to guide every instructional decision.
Personalized Learning Plan: Developed collaboratively for each student by the staff with input from parents and students, this plan guides the tailoring of both curriculum and instruction to meet that student’s needs. Special attention will be paid to meeting the needs of students with disabilities and English Language Learners, whose Personalized Learning Plans will reflect necessary modifications and accommodations but who are otherwise fully integrated into the daily learning routines of the school.
One?to?One Computing Resources: All students at Commonwealth Education Connections will be provided with a mobile computing device (laptop or tablet) which they will use throughout the school day to access their powerful and engaging online curriculum, and may take home to continue their work beyond the school day. The school also intends to make use of students’ own smartphones and other computing devices they may bring to school.
Flexible Use of Space and Time: Rather than rows of forward?facing desks and teacher lectures, Commonwealth Education Connections provides a combination of comfortable team rooms and inspiring subject?specific classrooms where students and teachers meet in small groups and one? on?one. The school day maximizes flexibility so that students who need more intensive intervention and direct instruction will get it, while students who are ready to move ahead can do so. Commonwealth Education Connections also allows time and space for special focus activities such as foreign language immersion, college courses, and internships.
Data?Powered Instruction: As students work through their engaging online curriculum, they generate rich streams of performance data that teachers and school leaders use to maximize student performance.
Dynamic Differentiation: Teachers use data on student performance to dynamically group students for intervention, enrichment, project work and individual study within the classroom, formulating new groups every one to two weeks. Students with disabilities and
English Language Learners will be fully integrated into these groups.
Small School Design: The Commonwealth Education Connections program will be implemented in a school setting that is small by design – with a total of 300 students at scale, radically more intimate than any other college?prep?focused public high school in Indianapolis. Recent research on small schools shows significant positive impact on graduation rates when the personalization of an intimate learning environment is coupled with a strong mission focus and careful attention to continuous program improvement.
Nexus Teams/Team Rooms: To ensure personalized attention for students throughout their school day and year, Nexus assigns each student to a “team” of about 40 with a special area of the school facility to call its own. Within their team, students will participate in daily meetings focused on sharing successes and working through challenges; attend advisory sessions; collaborate on projects; and work on their online courses. Teams are expected to stay intact throughout a student’s high school career, and may engage in friendly competition with one another regarding achievement, college applications, and graduation records.
A Success Coach for Every Student: In addition to certified teachers in every subject, Commonwealth Education Connections will employ specially selected and trained paraprofessionals known as Success Coaches who will work with students individually and in teams to facilitate both mastery of curriculum and effective planning for college/career.
Fit Bodies, Fit Brains: Commonwealth Education Connections also acknowledges that exercise helps ensure academic and emotional success for students while laying the foundation for lifelong health. An on?site fitness center staffed by a dedicated Personal Trainer ensures an exercise plan for every student while bringing in a rich array of fitness options from martial arts to spinning to yoga.
The very design of Commonwealth Education Connections ensures that the school will be more effective than traditional high schools, especially for today’s learners. Commonwealth Education Connections will provide its students with everything they need to thrive in a 21st century blended learning environment: top?quality curriculum; specially trained, appropriately certified teachers; personal mobile computing tools for every student; a powerful digital education platform; and very real connections linking school, family and community.
The Commonwealth Education Connections Personalized Performance Learning® approach, which has been tested very successfully with urban “strugglers and strivers” in Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Prince George’s County, Maryland, before launching in the Commonwealth Education Connections blended charter schools, combines excellent face?to?face teachers with the power of technology such that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The school is staffed with a combination of on? site/face?to?face and online expert teachers – but unlike a traditional classroom, the Commonwealth Education Connections teacher does not stand in front of the classroom delivering “one size fits all” instructional content to a whole roomful of students with wildly divergent learning needs. Rather, as students work through their engaging online curriculum generating rich streams of performance data, the teachers use that data to dynamically group students for intervention, enrichment, project work and individual study. Instructional support in the form of one?to?one and small?group tutoring, “unsticking,” and grading services allow the teacher to maximize