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A (SOMEWHAT) INTERESTING IDEA

Filed at 7:23 am under by dcobranchi

but it ain’t homeschooling.

Hybrid Schools – Double School Capacity
A Possible Solution to WCPSS Growth and Facilities Challenges

A High Level Proposal for: Wake County Public School System

By:
Elizabeth Granai
Cary, NC

January 10, 2007

Purpose: To propose an outside-the-box, creative approach to addressing the current challenges faced by the WCPSS – rapid growth of student populations and the lack of available school facilities. Also, to propose an alternate or an additional option to the mandatory conversion to year-round schools – one that is far less costly than building new schools and one that will be better accepted by the community of parents opposed to mandatory year-round.

Note: This proposal does not attempt to cover every facet of the creation of and conversion to the hybrid school concept, but it does strive to put forth a new idea for consideration.

What is a Hybrid School?
A Hybrid School is a school that combines traditional public school education in public school facilities with WCPSS-hosted online learning that is self-paced for the student and parent-facilitated. It also incorporates less formal, parent-led home schooling for subjects such as physical education, music, language, art, etc. Hybrid schools would fall under the magnet school category; however, would be distinct from typical magnet schools.

How would Hybrid Schools Work?
General: Hybrid schools would provide an abbreviated school day and curriculum at public school facilities for all students. The remaining daily instruction is obtained via WCPSS-approved technology based learning and parent-led lessons each school day. Technology-based solutions would require a scalable, web-based Learning Management System, Learning Content Management System, content development tools, blogs, wiki’s, discussion forums, etc. – all of which are being provided today by various eLearning companies.

Students: All students would attend either morning or afternoon half- day sessions at the Hybrid School facility which would run from 8:00am-1l:30am and 12:30-4:00pm. There would be no lunch facilities needed and no time allocated for lunch. Lunch is the parents’ responsibility and happens off-site either before the pm session or after the am school session. There will be time allocated for healthy snacks brought from home for both morning and afternoon sessions.

Teachers: All teachers would instruct in either morning or afternoon sessions with a 45-minute break for lunch and with additional hours (as needed to meet work schedule requirements) spent contributing as needed and assigned to support of the Online Learning Environment. Instructional design, curriculum development, test development, materials management, email support and discussion forum leadership, Q&A, FAQ development, blog support uploading and maintaining of files, etc. are all examples of potential deliverables outside of traditional instructor-led, classroom teaching.

How would Hybrid Schools Address Extreme, Rapid Growth in Wake County?
By combining Half-Day Public School Education with technology-based, curriculum based home schooling, each school that converts to a Hybrid will be able to serve double the number of students served. For example, if a school can hold 1,200 students in a traditional school calendar, by converting to a WCPSS Hybrid School, it can then support 2,400 students – also all in a traditional calendar school year.

Is there a Market for Hybrid Schools? How many Students and Families
Market research would need to be conducted to answer this question for certain. However, it is reasonable to expect that many local families, particularly affluent families with flexible work arrangements would find this option not only attractive as an alternative to year-round conversion but also highly desirable.

Would there be Special Requirements for Hybrid Schools?
Absolutely. There would be technology requirements at WCPSS and at each student’s home, there would be parent involvement and commitment requirements, and perhaps even parental education requirements.

Each classroom would be shared by 2 teachers and 2 groups of students –one in the am and the other in the pm. Some creative physical space solutions will need to be implemented to allow teacher and class autonomy and personalization in Elementary classrooms.

Are there other Benefits to Hybrid Schools besides addressing the Overcrowding and growth issues?
Yes. This would be WCPSS’s foray into the future of education. It’s time to embrace what is here today and leverage technology as much as possible to reduce costs associated with building more facilities. It would also give WCPSS the opportunity to implement compelling curricula that is proving effective for school aged children in other areas of the country. Citizens, the media, academics, parents, students and teachers are all very critical about education today and how it desperately needs to be re-invented. Evaluation of use of curricula such as Core Knowledge (www.coreknowledge.org ) or other suitable methodologies would be possible – in an instant.

From parents and families perspective, those who wish to have more involvement in their child’s day and their education would now have a excellent option that enables this. Some might choose this option and truly find that it offers the very best of all worlds…the best that public schools provide, the best nurturing learning environment at home and the best use of today’s powerful learning technologies.

Thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Granai
A Cary Resident who would opt for a Hybrid School Education

I don’t see this as anything close to a workable alternative to going to year-round schools. Right now, HEKs comprise approximately 2 percent of the school-age population. Could a “free” curriculum draw as many as another 2 percent? Perhaps, but in states that have formed online charters we’ve seen HEKs being pulled back into the system. So this proposal might be able to serve somewhat under 2 percent of the kids currently in the g-schools. In order to fill up her 1200 student school, she’d need to pull from a student population of 120,000. [Math error in original post fixed]

Wake Co. enrolls approximately 125,000. [Tip credit: Toni]

UPDATE: I heard from the author of the proposal. She’s going to delete references to homeschooling in future drafts. I wish her luck.

4 Responses to “A (SOMEWHAT) INTERESTING IDEA”


Comment by
Nance Confer
January 14th, 2007
at 9:51 am

It’s not just the curriculum though, is it? It also includes a half-day at the school building.

Practically speaking, does this free up enough time in the day to allow Mom to get that part-time job or does it allow Moms working full-time to go to part-time? And still pay the bills?

Probably not.

Nance


Comment by
Unique
January 14th, 2007
at 12:59 pm

Where’d you get that thing, Daryl? How whack.

Besides – she picked the stuff to send home that really needs to stay in school:

“… such as physical education, music, language, art, etc.”


Comment by
christine
January 15th, 2007
at 10:31 am

I don’t think it’s “whack”. New ideas are what the schools need. Obviously, what they are currently doing isn’t working so well. It would get them back to basics, it would save the taxpayers a huge sum of money. Currently they are cutting those programs due to budget constraints and desperation to meet NCLB standards anyway. I don’t know how much parental support they would get, but it’s something worth a try as a magnet school. It’s not something that would work for everyone,


Comment by
Unique
January 15th, 2007
at 2:33 pm

It is whack. Half day schools for everyone?

Many, many, many – MANY people can’t afford before and after school care – how in the world could they afford even longer hours of *gee the kids aren’t in school – who is caring for them care*?

Or maybe the age children are allowed to be home alone should be lowered.

And what about this part:
“There would be technology requirements at WCPSS and at each student’s home, there would be parent involvement and commitment requirements, and perhaps even parental education requirements.”

technology requirements at WCPSS AND at each student’s home – meaning what? Every home needs a computer? Who’s buying?
Parental education requirements? And if – just if, mind – a parent isn’t “qualified” what’s the back up plan?