Increased consistency and access for students with Odysseyware® digital curriculum. The A3 Virtual Academy program provides courses and opportunities for credit recovery for a range of students---including struggling and homebound learners.
St. Tammany Parish Public School System
The St. Tammany Parish Public School System (STPPS) boasts an “A” grade from the state’s department of education, as well as numerous honors and recognitions that reflect its academic success with students. Nevertheless, the STPPS still faces many challenges. With a large number of high school students expelled for behavior problems a year, it was necessary to find a way to ensure these learners could obtain the credits they needed to graduate with their peers and go on to college and careers. Customizing the learning pathways for a large number of students in Special Education programs had been a difficult and time-consuming task for teachers.
The A3 Virtual Academy program was created 12 years ago to assist with the credit recovery of secondary students districtwide. Today, Odysseyware digital curriculum, course consistency, and online access maximize teacher time and give students better learning options.
With 24/7 online access to courses, the Virtual Academy students have the flexibility to complete activities at times convenient to them and can accelerate completion from 18 to nine weeks. “Students are tech-savvy and engaged,” says Rich. “With this online one-on-one solution, behavior problems and socialization are no longer issues.” Students especially enjoy the videos in Odysseyware, PowerPoint explanations and the ability to choose the text-to-speech voice that best suits them. The dramatic impact of the credit recovery program is reflected in its 88 percent passing rate within a district where the overall graduation rate is 80 percent. This has allowed many formerly at-risk students to “walk the stage” with their graduating peers.
Students who are sick or homebound because of physical impairments or other reasons can also keep up with their classes through the Virtual Academy’s online class offerings.
According to current Virtual Academy Coordinator, Toni Rich, the Virtual Academy program has undergone growing pains, including teachers tasked with crafting a whole new digital curriculum for the subjects they teach. “Individual teachers were cobbling together their own online resources and the result was a somewhat inconsistent quality,” says Rich. Three years ago, the Virtual Academy began implementing Odysseyware, which solved the problem of inconsistency across courses. All students now receive the same curriculum in English, Social Studies, Science, Math, College and Career readiness and other areas.
Beginning in the fall of 2017, the district will be expanding its use of Odysseyware to offer a customized, blended learning solution to more than a thousand high school students in Special Education. This initiative will personalize learning for students as well as assist them in accelerating their individual progress. Odysseyware gave coordinator Toni Rich the tools and flexibility to address the learning challenges of:
- 500+ students a year
- Homebound learners
- Students in special education with customized & consistent learning
DISTRICTSt. Tammany Parish School System
LOCATIONSt. Tammany Parish, LA
- 38,681 students
- 44% economically disadvantaged students
- 24% students served by Special Education