For the Small School Administrator
Many schools that serve traditional, home school, and TCK students are faced with unique challenges year to year, and often the solutions to these challenges must also be unique. One such solution that several overseas are now looking at is the online learning solution where the course, the instruction, and the tutoring come to the local school via the Internet.
NorthStar is an online school that offers grade 4 -12 programs and is currently serving students in 70+ countries. The courses are accredited academic programs. Schools and home school students can use NorthStar Academy for just one course or for a full-time student’s course needs.
NorthStar Academy has been effective in helping Christian schools in the following four scenarios:
- Teacher recruitment shortfalls and teacher attrition: NorthStar courses can be used on a "just-in-time" basis for those courses whose teacher has either resigned or is not able to be replaced. School growth: many schools offer grades K-8 but can not offer high school grades and so the students are forced to consider boarding school or some other scenario. With NorthStar courses, a school can add grade 9 and 10 and use NorthStar courses to expand their services so that their students may look forward to remaining at the local school for the duration of their academic preparation.
- School expansion: Many schools are able to offer high school grades but do not have the resources to offer a variety of electives or Advanced Placement level courses. These schools can use NorthStar courses to augment their existing course offerings.
- Resource allocation: In smaller schools, there is often student interest in a particular subject, but there may be only two or three students who are interested in that subject. The school cannot afford to allocate a teacher to teach a class for only two or three students, so the students are forced to either go without or find a second choice replacement class. With NorthStar Academy courses, the school may provide these students with the desired course without having to allocate a teacher to teach the course or needing to select second choice replacements.
- College Preparation: If your school wants to do all it can to prepare students for their next educational experience, these students need to have the opportunity to take courses online. All students matriculating to college or university will in some way interact with their class online or take the class fully online. Prepare them now by giving them this opportunity.
NorthStar Academy delivers the course(s) to the student(s), complete with lessons, assignments, rapid feedback, student-to-student-to-teacher interactions, etc. while owning the responsibility of providing up to the moment grade reports and transcripts for these students. Teachers post their lessons and assignments in NorthStar's Learning Management System (LMS), lead group discussions, evaluate student assignments, and engage in most of the same teacher-student interactions that occur in traditional classrooms. Students complete their assigned work using printed material and software provided to them as part of the program. Completed assignments and exams are graded and available for student review through the LMS.
Students "attend" school through the LMS via an internet browser. Once the student has logged on, he will see the school graphically represented on the screen. Each subject area will have its own symbol or link, and the student simply clicks on this link to get to his classroom. Within each classroom, the student will see assignment and lesson folders, complete with classroom discussions and teacher instructions. Students also have access to a variety of social areas including the ability to have live conversations with students and teachers. Each student and supervisor has his own mailbox for school-related communications. NorthStar Academy has a parent community and a student council, each with their own "meeting place"!
I hope that the scenarios have helped to give you ideas of how a local school can utilize our online courses and integrate them into the existing school program. Please let us know how NorthStar can help you.