With the unique student body we have, one that is comprised primarily of students who play high level soccer, it was evident that Friday was emerging as a day where many students missed class. We attribute this in large part to our student-athletes traveling to soccer tournaments. At SLA we strive to have no more than 15-22 students in a class.
When a small class is missing a lot of students, it is hard for learning to take place. Facing this challenge of how to solve the Friday attendance issue, an outside the box solution presented itself. Friday will now be a day of flexible, blended learning.
It means that our students will have the option of coming to campus, learning from home, or learning on the road. All of the instruction for the day will be placed online in the class Canvas account.
Canvas has several options available to facilitate learning from a distance, and as an added bonus is the platform being used by a vast majority of colleges.
Salt Lake Academy currently uses 1:1 technology, providing every student with a Chromebook. This push towards using technology in the classroom has always set SLA aside as a forward thinking school, and now makes a move towards a blended learning model a natural progression.
We think that the future of our students as college bound young men and women is one of blended learning. College campuses nationwide have moved forward with an emphasis on online classes and remote learning opportunities.
We believe that our Flexible Friday blended learning model reflects how education is evolving.
Our second unique class schedule component is the combination of a traditional schedule and a block schedule.
More and more studies are showing that 90 straight minutes of instruction is not the most effective method for a majority of students; however, for some classes and in some situations it IS the best way to cover a certain topic. So at SLA High, we have decided to implement the best of both worlds.
Monday we will run a traditional schedule where the students attend all 8 of their classes. This gives them to opportunity to see every teacher and go over what was learned from Friday until then. This touchpoint with our students will set them up for success moving forward, and will intervene early for those who may have gotten off track over the weekend.
Tuesday and Wednesday the students will get a chance to have a 90 minute class in two days of block scheduling. This allows the teachers to cover topics in greater depth, to work on projects, it facilitates classes with labs to get those accomplished, and in general will be an exciting time to extend instruction. The students will be sharper and more focused as they only have two days of these 90 minute blocks.
Then on Thursday, the students will again go through all 8 classes and get important instruction not only on the day, but get set up to succeed Friday-Sunday.
We are so grateful for our outstanding staff and supportive board. A small charter school such as ours has the ability to move deftly and quickly when faced with an issue. To have such a dedicated and intelligent staff further allows us to come up with these types of solutions and implement them quickly and efficiently.
We have no doubt that our groundbreaking schedule changes will be a model to follow for future schools. During the COVID outbreak, our school was looked to as the template for every other school to follow and we navigated this tumultuous time in our nations history as uniquely prepared to continue to offer a quality education with little hassle, and limited frustrations.
It reflects the type of learning that goes on at the college level and perhaps even more importantly it serves our student body in the best way possible. It gives our students and staff a flexible, blended learning platform and it recognizes the need of today's young person to not be contained in a room for 90 straight minutes. Yet brilliantly, by having the school open and staffed on Fridays, we also accommodate those students who DO learn best by being in a brick and mortar school. We accommodate those students who may not have internet in the home or who may need the stability of attending and being at our physical school 5 days a week.
We couldn't be more proud of our agile response to a unique challenge. Our goal is to serve our students with 100% commitment to their success. Anybody with questions about this model, or who just want to learn more about our school are welcome to come and visit campus and take a tour - Schedule Tour.
Salt Lake Academy is designed for students of the 21st century. Salt Lake Academy encourages students to choose their path of study and their pace of advancement through individually crafted curriculum, college preparatory classes and state-of-the-art online curriculum within a small, cohesive educational community. Our school's mission & vision define how we go about the policies, programs, goals, and curriculum at our school.