Monday, August 26, 2013

FAQ about Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Private Boarding School

Being a private high school, as teachers we get a lot of questions about how we do school at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Private Boarding School.  Social Studies teacher, Kimberly, tackled some of the most frequently asked questions about our blended learning model.

Is Cedar Ridge Academy an accredited high school?
We are an accredited high school that focuses on assisting students to move forward towards graduation by assisting with credit recovery and competency.  All teachers require a grade of 80% to complete a course, and work with students to achieve this goal.

What mode of learning does your school use?
We have a blended learning model, which allows for students to work at their own pace.  As parents and educators, we understand that students learn differently, just like we all have unique qualities. Some students do not fit into the traditional public school model easily, whether they are a behavior distraction, need more time to complete and process work, or need to increase their learning. By allowing students to work at their own pace, the students have more control over how long they spend on the material.  

Unexpected learning moments.
We achieve this individual-based learning with an online curriculum supplied by Edgenuity (formerly named Education2020 and Park City Independent). Their curriculum is also accredited, and over the last year that I have been using it is a great help to students who learn in different modes and in different ways.  A lot of educators will use the terms: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic to describe students.  This curriculum assists students in learning in all three ways.  They provide visual PowerPoints and audio lectures for each lesson material.  This also assist students who process a little bit slower because they can pause the teacher and take their notes.  Kinesthetic learners enjoy the games that are used to reinforce the material.  The assignments also require students to really dive deep into the text with short answer and essay questions along with multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and true/false questions.

However, not every student learns the material with just the online resources.  All students need review and practice to really get the material down and that is my main role as a teacher at Cedar Ridge Academy. I assist students when the material does not make sense as we pick apart a story together in English or I am reviewing a person in history to help fill in the gaps in their learning.  I also plan interactive lesson plans for direct instructions so that students can work together in groups, participate in discussions, and complete hands-on-activities.

But if it is all online, why should I send my student to your school?
The online curriculum is just the mode in which students first tangle with the material along with completing and submitting their assignments.  I still grade everything that they are doing, which is a great way for me to know how they are doing in their classes.  Teachers call this formative assessments, but we form a picture of what the student is learning.  When I read a student’s assignment, I understand what they learned from the material and see where they might be struggling still.  In addition, a computer can’t figure out what a student still needs help with in the class and that is where I come in.  Teachers call this differentiated instruction, but it basically means tailoring it to each individual student. Overall, that’s why I love teaching here—I teach the students each individually.

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