Tailored Learning Experiences Define New Online Middle School
Adrian, Michigan — In the 1980’s and 1990’s, a particular series of books called Choose Your Own Adventure® captured the attention of hundreds-of-millions of young people all over the world. The books were written in such a way that the reader could direct the story by choosing a response to the scenarios facing the story’s main character. It is impossible to estimate the effect that these popular books have had on today’s global culture, but in one case, the childhood literary adventures influenced developers of an entirely new learning experience for students.
Lenawee Christian Academy (LCA) is a new, online middle school based in Lenawee County, Michigan. Based on their child’s God-given gifts and talents, parents configure a “Learning Adventure” that the LCA online education system uses to deliver time-tested coursework to students. The framework is driven by proven content delivery methods using the latest tools in technology. “In typical schools, content is delivered by a teacher to a group of typical learners who will understand the basic idea, to achievers who may be driven to investigate further, and to struggling students who should ask for help,” said LCA Head of Academy, Chris Nelson. “In many cases, the students who struggle do not lack the ability to understand. They may just learn in a way that the teacher doesn’t use in the classroom. For example, if a learner is visual, and the teacher uses lecture, that student may not perform as well as the audible learner.” Nelson continues, “Our goal is to deliver the content to the learner in a way that maximizes their mastery of a subject and motivates them to dig deeper because of the achievement systems built into our online services. In the end, we provide information to students in a way that they are able to understand and that motivates them to keep exploring.”
LCA’s model incorporates adventure elements for parents, students, and even teachers. Using the analogy of a treasure hunt, the student is a treasure hunter, the teacher is an experienced guide, and the parent is a coach and encourager. “Our teachers are adventurers too, so they have built their courses to engage students and motivate them to enjoy the discovery process,” explained Amanda Keibler, Coordinator of Family Relations. “Each course has three levels of achievement to be able to exhibit mastery. Students who achieve the bronze level can go back into the course and dig further in order to enhance their level of mastery. As students improve, they can achieve higher levels of recognition at the silver or gold levels. The coursework also contains secret items. When they are found, we can all celebrate the achievements of the students who made these rare discoveries.”
The entire education system at Lenawee Christian Academy is tailored to each learner. To build that custom experience, parents are presented with questions that will inform LCA’s team on the best way to address their child’s learning preferences, state laws, and the goals that parents may have for their child. These answers provide a custom learning configuration which applies to each of the five primary areas of study: math, science, english language arts, social studies, and Bible. “We have found that many parents would rather serve as a coach and encourager than a teacher,” explained Director of Marketing, Jeff Jameson. “Our parent partners simply answer a few questions, creating a customized plan for each subject area that aligns with their child’s abilities and interests. We also provide a visual progress chart so parents can track and encourage students as they journey through the material.” The customized plan for the coursework, called mySequence℠, paired with the Learning Adventure information, delivers a tailored scope and sequence, or the “what” and the “when”, for each child’s LCA education. This novel approach to online Christian education gives parents the ability to encourage their child to have fun and explore, while a certified teacher guides the student toward mastering each subject area.
Another element that defines LCA’s approach to education is flexibility. “Our content is time-tested based on more than forty years of research in actual classrooms,” said Amanda Keibler, Coordinator of Family Relations. “We deliver the content through our online system whenever the student is ready to sign on. If they want to start their school year on January 1, that’s great. If a family is on vacation and they choose to start school at 10 a.m. today and skip tomorrow, it’s totally up to our parent partners. Our system affords that flexibility.”
As people who once experienced the joy of choosing their own adventures when they were children, the team at Lenawee Christian Academy is excited to launch a new approach to online Christian education that provides a learning adventure tailored to each student. LCA is now enrolling middle school students who would like to begin as soon as September, 2020. The LCA team plans to add a program for high school students in 2021.
Lenawee Christian Academy (LCA) is an innovative and engaging online middle school for students in grades six through eight. Our aim is for students to belong, grow, and succeed during these mysterious and wonderful years. Through our proven curriculum, parent partnerships, tailored education plans, learning flexibility, and a Christ-centered, nondenominational approach, we provide a complete education solution that delivers adventure to learners and peace to parents. Learn more at https://LenaweeCA.org.
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