Flexible Curriculum Led to Blended Learning SuccessJuly 29, 2022
A Teacher’s Success Story
Mrs. Megan Evander
Schools across the nation are faced with unfortunate and unique challenges such as elective courses being eliminated, diverse student demographics from year-to-year, and evolving educational mandates. With these changes, teachers and administrators are looking for flexible solutions that can effectively meet the needs of student, district, and community demands.
Common educator questions that arise include:
- How can we change-up the course offerings for students in CTE as school and community demands continually change?
- Are there alternative ways to avoid eliminating elective courses?
- And, how can we make those offerings flexible enough to meet the needs of various student populations in blended learning environments?
Mrs. Megan Evander, a CTE and Business Technology teacher, and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Advisor for Winlock School District in Winlock, Washington, sought answers to these questions when she was looking for CTE curriculum for her students. As a teacher within a small, rural, and 100% Title 1 school district with high poverty rates, Megan was challenged to find an engaging and flexible curriculum that could support a blended learning environment for her high transient, migrant, and ELL student populations.
In addition to needing to adhere to two specific district goals, Megan began her curriculum adoption journey with four primary objectives.
First, she wanted a curriculum that allowed her to continue having control of what courses she offered and allowed her to create her own content. She had always excelled at both and knew that due to the size of the district, she didn’t necessarily want to give that up. “I really liked that I could use eDL’s courses and just supplement some of the inbuilt projects with my own projects that I’ve done that were really successful.”
“It’s important that we provide opportunities for [students] so they don’t stay in the cycle of poverty … We try to give them as many opportunities that we can. That’s why for me, eDynamic Learning has been great because it gives us so many options that we can tap into.”
Secondly, Megan was on a mission to implement a blended learning strategy that would support the challenging district needs as well as support a diverse population of learners.
Third, Megan sought to provide an alternative option when the school needed to eliminate an elective course, that would still pique student curiosity and an interest in learning hard and soft skills around topics that would allow for immediate employability after high school.
For example, Megan wanted to do some sort of entrepreneurship course. She found that eDynamic Learning has a Restaurant Management course that she could use for the first semester, and then use the Hospitality course the next semester. “That’s a really popular class because we don’t have a culinary program or home economics, so students are able to learn the business side of the industry and get the culinary skills information too.”
Lastly, as the demographics and student needs became more diverse, Megan knew that she was going to have to offer new and exciting courses every year or so since a lot of the same students cycled through her classes every year. “When I was searching for a curriculum, I noticed, wow, there is a ton of resources here. With all the courses that eDynamic Learning offers, I knew I could do that.”
At the district level, Winlock High School takes a dual prong approach at the school level, to engage and attract student ‘buy-in’ with their education, as well as provide as many skills possible to their transient student population. First, the district knew there were certain skills that they absolutely wanted their kids to have when they left school. One was having Adobe Suite knowledge under their belt. “We also want them to be proficient in the Microsoft Office Suite, and Google Suite so that they can have that ‘triple threat’ when they leave here and are able to get a job.”
The other big district initiative is to always allow students to have a stake and input in their learning, including their interests and future goals.
The district asks CTE and elective students questions such as, “What do you want to learn about? What kind of skill sets do you need to be successful when you leave here? We really want our kids to have buy-in, so we give them choices.”
With the unwavering support of her school administrator and adoption committee colleagues, Megan knew that adopting eDynamic Learning curriculum would meet her and the district’s requirements – and the results have been wonderful.
Due to the size of the district, Megan had a lot of freedom with what kind of curriculum she could choose to meet her personal goals, the district’s goals, and students’ interests. With the eDynamic Learning curriculum, she was able to pull from high-quality, sequenced lessons, units, assessments, and projects, and leverage them in a blended learning environment.
As an example, Megan has really taken her entrepreneurship classes to the next level by adding in Shark Tank videos in her Friday activities. She adds in whole group and partner discussions and evaluates various entrepreneurship topics. She encourages her students to draw upon the knowledge and skills they learned from the eDL business lessons to make informed decisions when answering entrepreneurship questions that she’s created in the project.
“I’m getting more sequence to the lessons, units, and even courses. I’m able to customize and use the eDynamic Learning course content in blended learning strategies, including customizing it to meet the needs of my Shark Tank Fridays.”
Due to the various opportunities discovered through utilizing the eDynamic Learning curriculum, the district’s middle school teachers have also found success tapping into the different courses offered in eDynamic Learning’s extensive course library, including the World Culture course. Teachers are able to select from the lessons they’d like to incorporate into their own blended learning curriculum.
All teachers have found high amounts of success through the use of eDynamic Learning’s exclusive end of unit podcast summaries. “The podcasts are helpful because if we don’t have students that can read on the level of the content, the audio helps support their learning and understanding without having an adult read the curriculum to them. We don’t have a lot of para pros in our classrooms, and I have primarily freshmen through seniors most of the time, so there is a huge range of ability. It helps me to differentiate for those students who would otherwise struggle with vocabulary.”
Because student buy-in and ownership of their learning was such a key component to both Megan and the district’s goals, making sure that students were receptive of the curriculum was highly important to determining its future use beyond the initial adoption. Megan was happy to learn that the students were, in fact, engaged with the lessons and viewed them as highly accessible and consistent. “They also like that the lessons are not super long and they know what to expect.” Megan also appreciates that she can adjust the settings to allow for multiple quiz attempts and even customize questions to best meet the needs of her students.
Megan is a testament to the successful use of eDynamic Learning’s extensive course catalog and meeting the needs of a diverse student population and school district initiatives. eDynamic Learning curriculum lends students choice and voice in a blended learning environment, and assists them in preparing for their future, whether they choose college or career.