Digital Curriculum | News

America's Promise, Apex Learning Provide Free Digital Curriculum to 4 Districts

America's Promise Alliance and Apex Learning have partnered to provide free digital curriculum to four school districts over the next three years.

The partnership is part of the alliance's Grad Nation campaign, a ten-year initiative with the goal to improve graduation rates in the United States to 90 percent by 2020.

The districts, Norman Public Schools in Oklahoma, Miami-Dade School District in Florida, St. Mary’s School District in Maryland, and Cross County School District in Arkansas, will use the Apex Learning curriculum in various ways.

Miami-Dade, for example, will be using Apex curriculum in Algebra I classes at three high schools. In the past, Algebra I has had a high failure rate in the district, and this year students will be required to pass an end of year assessment in order to graduate. The curriculum will be used in the classroom with a teacher present.

Cross County will be using the curriculum to for credit and unit recovery, to provide supplemental resources for teachers in the classroom, and to increase enrollment and exam scores in advanced placement courses among other things.

St. Mary's will likely use it for summer school offerings next year, and will be using the curriculum primarily for credit and unit recovery in one of its three high schools in the meantime.

Norman plans to expand its distance learning program, Norman Net, and increase its blended learning options, among other things. Students will be able to enroll in online courses that will be supervised by a district teacher and attend classes either on campus, or virtually in addition to their traditional course load.

"Students have different needs and learning styles, which should drive the way we instruct," said Norman superintendent Dr. Joseph Siano. "Grad Nation is providing us an unprecedented opportunity to develop a sustainable, blended learning model for 21st century students, and we are excited and honored to be one of four districts in the nation to be selected."

Though there are no plans to extend the program into other districts, the four already involved will be able to expand their use of the Apex curriculum into other programs and schools during the three years.

Apex is providing the curriculum as part of an in kind donation, estimated at $600,000 per school over the three-year life of the program, that also includes professional development for educators who will be using the resources and a longitudinal efficacy study centered around digital curriculum.

Cynthia Rogan, vice president of marketing at Apex Learning said that the districts were chosen because they had "a strong leadership team at the district level with a vision that would support digital curriculum and assessment programs, like end of course assessments, or a benchmark assessment program so that we would have a third party measurement tool" to track the outcome of the program.

Rogan said that there are currently no plans to extend the program beyond three years. "One could imagine that we would continue [the program]," Rogan said, "but there's been no commitment or discussions."

America's Promise Alliance was founded in 1997. It includes more than 400 corporations, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, and religious organizations. More information can be found at americaspromise.org.

More information about Apex Learning's digital curriculum is available at apexlearning.com.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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