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Taos Academy Charter School, which serves 225 students in grades 5-12, uses a blended learning model to improve student outcomes across diverse measures such as student achievement, career and college readiness, and graduation rate. In a state that consistently ranks near the bottom of most education inventories, our school’s high achievement results over time have drawn notice.
Located in rural northern New Mexico, Taos Academy serves a high-poverty area; our student body is 68 percent economically disadvantaged and is primarily made up of underserved populations.
Flexible weekly scheduling is one of the ways that our small charter school is meeting the needs of our high population of at-risk learners. Through tailoring schedules to meet the needs of our students and their families, we’ve been able to support engagement and encourage ownership of learning.
Our “default setting” schedule has students join us on campus two days a week; middle school students attend on Mondays and Wednesdays and high schoolers attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Taos Academy offers flexible programming options, meaning students spend anywhere from two to five days a week on campus depending on their individual situation and family needs.
The choice seems to be working. At any given moment, over 50 percent of our students are on campus taking STEM classes, receiving academic support or participating in enrichment. Ditching the one-size-fits-all weekly schedule has increased accountability and student ownership. Because students are expected to maintain steady progress and high-grade thresholds throughout the semester, the in-person classes also serves the school as an early warning system. We call it the “Spiderman model”—with great power comes great responsibility.
Read more about building flexible school schedules by Elizabeth LeBlanc at EdSurge.