Leading examples of digital learning in private schools

A previous post described characteristics of digital learning in private schools. Below we describe some of the examples of leading private schools and programs, in some cases put into categories. The Online School for Girls

The Online School for Girls (OSG) is a consortium of 83 schools, including a dozen schools that were founding members. In SY 2013–14, OSG offered seven summer courses and 20 school-year courses; all courses were developed by OSG. It provided 872 semester enrollments to 420 unique students, 90% of whom live in the U.S., with an annual growth rate of 41%. OSG also provides extensive professional development, and had 589 enrollments in professional development programs in SY 2013–14. Both student courses and professional development courses are not limited to member schools; about 5% of student enrollments and 50% of professional development enrollments come from outside of the consortium. OSG is piloting the Online School for Boys during SY 2014–15.

The Global Online Academy

The Global Online Academy is a consortium that offers online courses to 53 member schools representing 24 states, and nine international schools. It was started in 2011. In SY 2013–14 the consortium had about 500 course enrollments, a number that is expected to more than double in SY 2014–15. About 80% of course enrollments are from U.S. schools. Teachers who are employed by consortium schools developed its 32 online courses.

Providers that are mostly focused on public schools, but also work with private schools and private school students

Three providers of online public schools and courses (Connections Education, The Virtual High School, and K12 Inc.) offer courses or schools to private school students. Virtual High School offers supplemental online courses. Connections Education and K12 Inc. operate private online schools that serve both supplemental online courses and full course loads to private school students, and are able to grant diplomas.

Bay Area BlendEd Consortium

The Bay Area BlendEd Consortium is a group of five independent schools in the San Francisco Bay Area working collaboratively to offer 10 blended classes available in school year 2014-15. Developed by teachers from each school, the courses are designed to combine online instruction with several face-to-face meetings throughout the semester. The initial Consortium courses are electives that tap into the unique learning resources available in the Bay Area.

Oaks Christian Online School

Oaks Christian Online School (OCO) provided online courses to about 600 part-time students and 100 fulltime students in SY 2013–14, and is growing at about 35% annually. About 15% of all students live outside of the U.S. OCO develops about 80% of its courses and uses an outside provider for the others, but uses its own teachers for all courses. OCO partners with the Oaks Christian School, although each school issues separate diplomas. Students often take online classes while attending the physical school, or sometimes take a full load of online courses while away from the physical campus for a semester. The physical school uses the same learning management system and some of the same course content as the online school.

Foundations and nonprofit organizations

Foundations and nonprofit organizations are playing an important role in funding and/or helping private schools adopt digital learning. BOLD Day Schools, which is funding five Jewish Day Schools in a shift to blended learning, is a cooperative project of the Affordable Jewish Education Project, The AVI CHAI Foundation, and the Kohelet Foundation. AVI CHAI is also supporting a handful of new schools that are being created based on a blended learning instructional model, and working with existing schools to adopt digital content and tools in the DigitalJLearning Network. Catholic education has a similar effort. The Phaedrus Initiative of Seton Education Partners is working with several schools, including Mission Dolores Academy in San Francisco and St. Therese Academy in Seattle, to reduce costs while improving student outcomes by increasing personalization using digital learning.

For additional information see pages 23-26 of the Keeping Pace 2014 annual report.