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Online Programs Policy Manual

Please refer to this manual which, while technically still in draft status, serves as the foundation for management of our online courses. In it you’ll find information about courses, when nto assign certain types of courses, how to report grades, and so on.

Contents

  1. Description of online programs
  2. Intended student audience & registration procedures
  3. Course creation guidelines
  4. Course types
  5. Grading practices
  6. Expectations of teachers
  7. Evaluation of Teachers
  8. Preparation of students
  9. Review process
  10. Exceptions
  11. Special Education
  12. Role of the Online Coordinator

Posted in e2020, General Information.


e2020 Spring 2012 Information

Watch the slideshow at this link for information from 18 JAN’s meeting.

Posted in e2020.


Semester 2 Procedural Change: Course Registration

Our next semester is, I believe, going to go far more smoothly than this one in terms of our usage of and success with e2020. We’ve created more courses, which will give students more options, and are all trained & experienced with using the system – no more learning curves to surmount. There is only one major change that will affect all e2020 teacher next semester, described below.

“CR” Courses: all students who are enrolled in e2020 courses for credit recovery purposes – that is, they did at least some seat time in a course and did not pass it – will be enrolled in the “CR” version of the course they need. These courses begin with a diagnostic exam and then customize a course based on the curricular needs of the individual. Students will only take the portions of the course they need, and not the content they already know. This will enable students to move more quickly through their work. The vast majority of your students will fit this description.

Posted in e2020.


Get better at Google

This is a great article from Edudemic about how to get the most out of Google searches – that is, how to be efficient, effective, and accurate…instead of just guessing & hoping.

Posted in Google, Leveraging Tech for Instruction, Tips for the 1:1 Classroom.


End of Semester Procedures

Please follow this link to a short list of steps that all e2020 teachers will take to finalize grades for their students’ courses as of the end of the semester. These procedures are for the purpose of seeing that grades are efficiently & accurately recorded, and done in a manner that is transparent and consistent.

All e2020 teachers are also responsible, within their own courses, to follow the steps described in the file below, which is also in the Teacher section of the main e2020 page on this blog.

Completing a Course

Posted in e2020.


Carpe Diem Site Visit Report

The text of the report is below, and a PDF copy of the file is linked at the bottom of this post.

Carpe Diem, a 6-12 public charter school in Yuma, operates within a radically unique model of content delivery, teacher-student interaction, and academic and interpersonal relations. Students use e2020 for all their coursework, from core content to electives. Students work individually on virtually all their coursework, with only a few hours of face-to-face interaction each week with other students and teachers. The school’s AIMS scores and graduation rates are all above the state averages, and students reported that they liked the environment and content delivery.

Staffing Details

The school employs only four teachers, who interact directly with students in a very limited fashion. The school also employs two teacher aides, a floor monitor, and a few other personnel in support positions, including a counselor. In addition to a few office personnel, there is also an IT director and the school’s principal/director.

Teaching Model

The 230 students sit in a single, large room that looks a lot like a call center floor, with rows of low-wall cubicles, each with a computer work station. Each student has an assigned seat, and they are encouraged to personalize their space with pictures and semester goals. The high school students sit on one side of the room; the middle schoolers on the other. Each student works independently on their assigned courses, apparently in a manner of their choosing – that is, they are not required to work on one class at a specific time or for a specific period of time.

Teaching assistants and the floor monitor wander the room and assist as needed. The TAs can help students with any user skill issues, and basic content and course questions. The TAs all have at least AA degrees, we were told. The floor monitor, who moves around with a wireless tablet, can do any required course reviews for any students. Additionally, the counselor and some other personnel wander the floor throughout the day, assisting as needed. Overall, however, students are expected to be self-motivated, to work as best as possible to solve their own problems, and to self-advocate when they cannot. Students are expected to make minimum weekly progress in accordance with the e2020 system; however, they are welcome to work ahead. Students, while working on their courses on the center floor, only interact with their teachers when the other personnel cannot solve their problems. Most often this is due to a lack of comprehension. This triage-approach is analogous to the differing roles of EMTs, ER nurses, and ER doctors. An EMT can save a life, and only requires a few months of training; a nurse is needed only when the EMT is not up to the task; and the same is true for the doctor. Carpe Diem follows this model with its TA, Floor Monitor, Teacher intervention ladder (my term, not theirs).

Outside of individual, computer-based coursework, each student attends 5 different ‘workshops’ twice each week. Four of these workshops are for the four core subjects, and the other is for physical education (they have a fitness trainer who comes in to conduct those sessions). These workshops are, ideally, related to the work students are doing in their e2020 courses; however, they are multi-age/grade, and since students can work ahead, there is no clear way to see to it that students, when in these workshops, are all ‘on the same page.’

For example, an 8th-grade student explained that when she goes to her Social Studies workshop, the work they do is related to Social Studies, but not actually directly tied to their e2020 coursework. Additionally, since some of these workshops are multi-grade, there is little opportunity to work, as a class, on a topic or assignment that would explicitly leverage a given student’s current e2020 coursework.

This hybrid model of virtual courses and regular in-person workshops has a great deal of potential, depending entirely on how the teachers – who are the ones conducting the workshops – choose their topics and the extent to which they integrate the workshop time with e2020 coursework. Otherwise there is the risk of essentially two parallel tracks of learning: one, the primary, through e2020; and the other, very much the secondary, through topically-based but content-disconnected workshops.

Implications for Sunnyside

The blended, hybrid model of learning, coupling powerful technology-based instructional tools & systems with quality in-person and online collaborative work, offers a great deal of potential for Sunnyside students of various types. If such a program existed for advanced students, the teacher:student ratio could allow for much larger class sizes, since students who do their foundational learning through e2020 – call it their ‘Bloom’s 1-3 Work’ – and would then spend short, more focused, periods of time in small groups with a teacher, where they would focus only on higher-order thinking on those same topics and subjects – Bloom’s 4-6. Students could get assistance in learning the material while in the lab environment, and then would have the opportunity to truly master it in the high-touch environment of a workshop session.

Remedial students would see the workshop time set aside first for tutoring and support, rather than enrichment. This, I believe, would be a valid and proper use of time. The coursework would still be completed through e2020 – or a similar virtual classroom system – and the personal support, so critical for struggling students, would still be there as needed, from teaching assistants, teachers, and other program personnel.

And there is another opportunity for a customization of this model: a virtual school in which students do their work remotely, outside of a traditional school site, and yet could still interact with other students and staff virtually using any of a variety of digital communication tools. Students in such a program could be required to report, in person, to centers for unit exams and final exams, or periodic counseling and small-group work. The best virtual schools are those that provide the closest analogue for personal interaction, and for students who are in the Tucson area, such periodic meetings could make a big difference in keeping them on track and providing assistance as needed. Such an arrangement would enable the district to reach out to students in the entire Tucson valley, regardless of their actual residence.

Overall, the model offers a great deal of potential for Sunnyside so long as the technology support is there, proper number of licenses are purchased, and the right teachers are chosen, trained, and supported for a specific population of students. Additionally, I believe that we would do well to focus more on in-person interactions between students and staff than it seems is the norm for Carpe Diem.

I believe that a formal committee should be organized, made up of some of the people who went to Yuma, someone from IT, and probably Steve Holmes, to study the possibility of building, literally or figuratively, a program within our district , modeled somewhat along the lines of what Carpe Diem is doing. This committee would conceptualize what the program would look like instructionally, what sort of student population it would attract, and based on those determine technology, staffing, and physical space needs. Ideally, this plan would be tested, at least in part, through an internal pilot program, possibly run for a semester and using students and teachers already in the district.

I also believe that the human interaction aspect of education – a piece that cannot be measured by standardized tests but is doubtless a factor in dropout rates, attendance, and graduation rates – could be addressed by weaving a layer of service learning and project-based learning into such a program. Good service learning takes place when the standards and curriculum are both learned and enhanced through real-world application in a service context. The cohesiveness and deep roots of Sunnyside as a community could help foster a community learning environment that would be very welcoming to and conducive of authentic, standards-based service learning.

As stated, the model at Carpe Diem is compelling; however, it is not one that can be simply duplicated in full. The spirit behind it, and the tools native to it, would need to be changed somewhat to fit our community and district.

Carpe Diem Site Visit Report

Posted in e2020, Leveraging Tech for Instruction.


Google A-Z

This public document contains an exhaustive list of Google resources that you can use in and related to your classroom. Once again: the social web, and the willingness of professionals to share their work benefits the rest of us.

And if you’re wondering how someone could make such a document public, and so easily available, consider learning a little about Google Docs, which enables you to publish anything you create there to a web address. You don’t need to create a website…you just click twice (I counted) and you’ll have a web address at which people will be able to view whatever it is you created.

Posted in Google, Leveraging Tech for Instruction, Tips for the 1:1 Classroom.


Useful Web Applications

Sure, there are a great many apps and online system available for use in and related to the classroom…but how many are actually, immediately useful? Edudemic, a great resource for edtech articles, reviews, and resources, recently published an article listing, and briefly describing, 12 useful online apps for your classroom. Included are presentation apps, collaboration tools, a diagram-maker, and others. If you want your teaching to stay relevant, you need to stay current. Take a few minutes and do your part for the day.

Posted in Leveraging Tech for Instruction, Tips for the 1:1 Classroom.


Quarter 1 e2020 Grades

Teachers: please remember to use the ‘Overall Grade’ for he first quarter course grade on Infinite Campus. I know there are some disagreements over using it versus the ‘Actual Grade,’ however, it is the one we’re going with, and therefore we need to all be on board with using it.

Posted in e2020.


Minor Change to e2020 Page Hierarchy

I added two additional pages with information about e2020: one with the lexile score for each course; and the other with the master list of all e2020 courses the district currently offers. Instead of putting all those things on a single page – which would get quite long – I added the two new pages, to keep things organized and focused. You can access those two new pages by holding your mouse pointer over the e2020 page link at the top of the screen. You’ll see the links to these new pages appear as a drop-down style menu. Incidentally, these are called ‘nested pages’ in a blog, since they are categorized under e2020.

Anyway, I hope that helps keep things clean and easy to access.

Posted in e2020.




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