Every summer we get phone calls from Academic Leaders stuck in staffing limbo. “I’ve been trying to hire for this position since March,” they say, “but we can’t find a candidate we feel confident about. Do you have room for…?” and then they ask us about six, or fourteen, or forty students, who need to enroll in courses like AP Calculus BC, or three different levels of Mandarin Chinese, or Anatomy and Kinesiology.
In situations like these, our first goal is to articulate the elements that create a successful online partnership between schools and supplemental programs. At One Schoolhouse, successful partnerships rely on clarity, communication, and shared understanding.
We know there are three things Academic Leaders can do from the start of our partnership that will set their students up for success.
Stand behind your decision
Online learning may not have been your first choice, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. However, once you’ve made the decision to move a course online, you need to communicate that it is your best choice, and your school is fully behind this partnership. If Academic Leaders use language like “regrettably,” “last resort” or “experiment” (and we’ve seen all of these!), they communicate that their school lacks faith in the partner. Instead, be sure to communicate that your online partner is trusted and expert. At One Schoolhouse, we provide schools with information like a college matriculation list, a list of our consortium schools, and information about our teachers. All of these help to convince students and families that we share their school’s commitments to creating challenging courses, hiring expert instructors, and engaging with students.
Open all your communication channels
When a school moves a course online, our first move is to urge the school to schedule an informational webinar for students and families. In the meeting, we explain what online learning looks like when it’s purpose-built. We walk students and families through our weekly learning cadence and explain course competencies and objectives. We also answer their questions about online learning, how we’ll work together with their school, and how we support students if they run into challenges. Over time, we’ve noticed that students whose schools do webinars tend to do better than students from schools who decline our offer.
Stay in touch with our Student Success Team
Acclimating to an online course is a bit different from settling into a traditional class. Students have a lot of experience in physical classrooms. They’ve worked with different teachers and a wide range of resources. When they run into a challenge, they know there’s another way to do things. Online, however, when students hit a snag, they tend to assume that the problem is not specific to an assignment or topic, but instead inherent to online learning, and they follow that reasoning to the conclusion of “I can’t learn online.” They’re wrong! Everybody can learn online… they just need to learn a few new strategies. Our Student Success team–Delinda Hyde and Charnelle Lyles–are experts in working with students and schools. If students are struggling or frustrated, contact the Student Success team right away. We can provide you and your students with information and strategies that can support progress and boost performance.
Want to know more about enrolling students in One Schoolhouse courses? Contact our office at 202-618-3637 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)