Introduction

Great things are happening in Ohio schools. Our teachers care deeply about their students, our pupils truly want to succeed, and our district and school staffs are setting examples of resourceful, visionary leadership for all of us. The State Board of Education’s Education Spotlight program challenges board members to identify outstanding districts, schools, teachers and students in their state board districts and showcase them at monthly board meetings. We think you, too, will be inspired!


September 2018

dacc.jpgEvery student is different and will realize success in a variety of ways. Delaware Area Career Center (DACC) leadership knew this when they began a transformative redesign of their school. With a goal to create a dynamic and personalized learning environment tailored to the needs of each student, school officials had an exciting story to share with the State Board of Education as part of the Education Spotlight Award.

In response to the school’s poor academic data and the realization that today’s Generation Z students might benefit from a new model of learning, DACC didn’t just add more remediation, more support or more intervention. Instead, DACC completed a total overhaul of their academic program and created a school that meets the needs of 21st century learners. Their staff engaged in multiple book studies about blended learning and visited several schools with individualized learning opportunities, including Hilliard’s Innovative Learning Center and High Tech High in San Diego. They reimagined a school with flexibility as its central tenant. Students at DACC enjoy flexibility in the spaces they learn, the pace at which they learn and the support they require from teachers.

DACC’s academic space is modeled to have the look and feel of a coffee shop or college student union. Students have a variety of choices, from tables to couches to clustered seating. They can work independently or in groups as they tackle their coursework, which is available to them in a Google Classroom. Students follow a schedule with dedicated time in each class, but how teachers and students use that time is flexible and allows for a lot of creativity and innovation. Teachers can plan mandatory or optional mini lessons and labs, or co-teach to targeted groups of students or all students. They can also pull groups of students for remediation or enrichment and use a mobile white board to transform any space into instructional space. Students also have a lot of flexibility in how they tackle their coursework. If students complete their work, they are free to return to the commons to work on other subjects or seek help from another teacher. The teachers use a collaborative approach, so they can make connections across disciplines and provide basic help to students in any subject.

Students like this model, with 98 percent reporting the blended model has been good or great for them.

“I am better when working at my own pace,” says Allen H., a DACC student who was featured in the school’s presentation. “Some classes I fly through so I can get ahead in them and am not held back. Others I need to spend more time on and, while there are due dates, the teachers understand I need a little more time.”

In addition to increased general satisfaction with the approach, the model is working. DACC has seen a 71 percent decrease in math failures and a 62 percent decrease in ELA failures. These decreases are a direct result of the flexibility in their program, and 90 percent of the students reported they can get more support from teachers in this model.

DACC’s model is meeting its goals and providing students with opportunities for deep learning and practical skills development in a truly 21st century environment.

Last Modified: 9/18/2018 2:33:14 PM