I love August because we get to be problem solvers for schools at One Schoolhouse. As schools get ready for the academic year to launch, challenges bubble up. Issues arise with student schedules. Students return from the summer with new passions they want to pursue in the school year. Students need greater flexibility than a traditional school day would allow for. Teachers leave unexpectedly or have unexpected constraints on what they can teach. And, in a final review of course offerings, schools sometimes realize that they are better served by not having low enrollment courses on campus.
August 1 hits and we have conversations with schools and parents about these issues every day -- just yesterday I had four such conversations. The exciting thing is that we can help schools solve problems, while giving students the high quality, high touch academic program that students and parents expect from their schools.
Let’s hear from some of the students who we helped in these situations last year:
Allow an athlete to pursue her passion
“My entire life since elementary school, I've been balancing,” says Katie, an elite skater and high-achieving student from Miss Porter’s School. In the fall of 2017, she decided to devote more time to skating, traveling to Dallas to train intensively. “It was an incredible experience… I never had the opportunity to test out what that lifestyle would be like. Doing the One Schoolhouse courses and having that flexibility gave me the opportunity to try that out.” By taking three courses with One Schoolhouse while she was away from school, Katie says, “I found classes I was really interested in and passionate about.” Her AP Comparative Government class inspired her to take an international relations course at Miss Porter’s after she returned to campus. When she got back to a more typical school experience, we asked her, ”Would you take another online course?” Absolutely, says Katie. “You can learn anywhere and connect with people around the world--that's the future.”
Make room for everything in a student’s schedule
When Lauren looked at her senior year courses at The Madeira School, she knew she wanted to challenge herself by taking AP Latin, but she didn’t have enough room in her schedule. Taking AP Latin online with One Schoolhouse let Lauren pursue her love of classics without giving up any of her other goals. While she describes herself as a “face-to-face learner,” she sees how online discussions and collaboration “stimulate my brain in the same way.” Lauren says her “phenomenal teacher… is dedicated to anything I need,” but learning online has reinforced her independence as a learner: “I know in college the classes will be much larger and the professors aren’t going to be making you do the homework or making sure you’re studying. It’s up to you how you do. You have to be that person for yourself.”
Offer flexibility when the unexpected happens
The summer before her senior year, Amelia moved from China to Puerto Rico, and became a student at SESO, a co-ed independent school on the island. She and her school discovered One Schoolhouse when she was searching for a program that would let her continue studying Chinese. What she didn’t expect was that a few weeks after the start of the school year, two major hurricanes would sweep across the island, upending life for the entire community. “I’ve been in the middle of a hurricane and trying to work through that,” says Amelia, and her One Schoolhouse class has “been very, very, accommodating.” When she looks back at the experience, “The best part has been the interaction with my teacher… I just feel like she’s a constant resource.” The flexibility and independence of learning online has helped Amelia continue to excel in her AP Chinese class: “It’s more focused, more personalized… and I think that’s been really useful for me.”
Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)