I’m often asked by independent school faculty members, “How do you know your courses are any good?” We start out by pointing to data: 96% of our students say that their One Schoolhouse courses are as challenging or more challenging than their face-to-face classes, 85% report gaining greater academic maturity, 83% report being inspired to be creative, and 80% report seeing direct ties between classroom learning and real-world application.
Those data points stack up well in the independent school community, but it doesn’t answer one of the assumptions in the question: that online courses can’t be as good as the courses offered on an independent school campus. We know that a great education starts with extraordinary teachers and transforms students’ experiences. That’s why we start with great teachers. Our teacher training program and teacher evaluation and coaching models are more comprehensive and rigorous than any schools we know, and we recruit our teachers based on recommendations from top independent schools from around the country, where many of them teach.
Great teachers open students’ minds and change the ways they see the world. Stories can get to the heart of those experiences in a way that data can’t. That’s why throughout the spring and summer, you’ll be hearing from our students more and more about what it’s like to learn online with One Schoolhouse. You’ll see these stories arrive in your inbox over the coming weeks, and in case you missed the first three, we want to make sure that you hear from Amanda, Isabel, and Miriam.
“What we're learning in class is actually going to relate to real life,” Amanda says about her economics classes at One Schoolhouse. As a junior, she knew she wanted to explore her interest in business, but the economics course her school offered didn’t fit into her schedule. Instead, Amanda enrolled in One Schoolhouse’s AP Macroeconomics course, and she liked it so much she returned for AP Microeconomics in her senior year. “I also like math,” says Amanda, “so [economics] was a nice way to tie business and math together. And I know economics has a lot of calculus... It was cool to combine my learning from different classes.” In both classes, she says, “I've often seen specific concepts, like opportunity costs, that come up in our lives every day… My favorite thing was being able to relate what I'm learning in economics to the real world.” - Amanda from Laurel School
“I wasn't expecting to actually talk to my friends in the class--I call them friends now,” says Isabella about her classmates in Multivariable Calculus & Differential Equations. Before she began the class, she expected online learning would be mostly watching videos. Instead, she discovered connection and collaboration between students and their teacher. “I meet with Dr. Braun on Skype, usually the week before a test or an exam, or just when I have questions,” she says. Her classmates are also resources: “Sometimes I ask questions, sometimes I help others, so it's a good support system… You get to know so many other people in your class. You're not alone, sitting in front of a computer.” The community of her class has given Isabella confidence when she looks ahead to college, where she plans to study biochemistry. “It's collaboration, how to communicate with your teacher, time management, everything--those are life skills you need whatever you do. I think it prepares me well for college next year.” -- Isabella from Westover School
“Math is one of my favorite subjects,” says Miriam, “and I really want to reach the highest level classes.” As a ninth grader in Algebra I, however, she knew she needed to find a new way to move forward. When her teacher recommended One Schoolhouse, Miriam and her parents spent a lot of time researching the program, looking for a class that would have a strong teacher as a ready resource. Taking Geometry at One Schoolhouse “was one of the best experiences I've ever experienced. Once I had my first meeting with Ms. Boudreau, I felt so comfortable. She offered me advice, she told me to just take it one step at a time... The communication that I had with Ms. Boudreau, and the materials that she gave us, really made it comfortable and made it easy and made it understandable for us.” With an A in her summer Geometry course, Miriam jumped into Honors Algebra II for her sophomore year. Her advice to students considering a summer class: “Take it one step at a time... if you really believe in yourself, you can do it.” -- Miriam from Linden Hall
Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)