Our Learning Process
The Spring Quarter 2021 issue of AmeriSchools Perspectives, the quarterly printed voice of the AmeriSchools organization, reported in detail on the genesis and development of the AmeriSchools Academy Online learning process. The following is a summary of content from that issue. For a more detailed examination of this topic, please see the original articles (“Innovating Beyond a Pandemic” and “Students Soar Securely with Cloud-Based Learning”) in the Spring Quarter 2021 issue of AmeriSchools Perspectives, which may be requested free of charge from this link:
AmeriSchools Academy Online is AmeriSchools’ newest initiative to deliver effective, online, customized, and secure instruction to AmeriSchools students anywhere within the state of Arizona. Here, we will describe the basic aspects of the AmeriSchools Online learning process, concentrating on the two main areas of academics and technology.
AmeriSchools’ prompt, effective response to the challenges of educating children remotely during the pandemic of 2020 was highly praised by parents, staff, and students alike. If anyone had any doubt about the quality of an AmeriSchools’ education, it was quickly dispelled with the strong demonstration of innovation, caring, and a “can-do” attitude by the AmeriSchools organization.
What most did not realize at the time was that AmeriSchools decided, to not just survive the incredible pandemic challenges, but to innovate for the future. And from that decision, AmeriSchools Academy Online (AAO) was born.
What may have begun as a response to the negative aspects of a crisis, quickly transformed into an action plan to embrace and leverage the opportunity the crisis presented. To seize this opportunity for learning innovation both academic and technical factors had to be developed, refined, and integrated.
AmeriSchools Academy Online: Academics
- In-House, Customized, Standards-Aligned Curriculum
AAO curriculum was designed in-house, is aligned with Arizona state standards, and is customized and further customizable to accommodate both teacher and student requirements.
- AAO Student Profile
AAO should be a serious consideration for parents not satisfied with ‘traditional school.’ With AAO, self-motivated students will thrive with a level of support customized to the student.
- Types of Instruction Used at AAO
A blend of asynchronous (no live, online teacher interaction; student completing assignments from the online learning system and utilizing selective Internet resources) and synchronous (live, online, teacher-directed learning activities) instruction is provided by AAO. The amount of each is teacher determined according to the needs of the student.
- Online Instruction Advantages
AAO takes advantage of the unique strengths of the online environment to provide a superior online learning experience. Technology-enabled student performance monitoring provides a valuable tool to assist teachers in evaluating student performance and readiness.
- Academic Testing of the AAO Learning System
During the 2020-21 timeframe, the AAO system was tested, tweaked, and refined using groups of actual AmeriSchools students. AAO’s learning system is not a theoretical concept but has been confirmed through actual student learning.
AmeriSchools Academy Online: Technology
- Upgraded, Secure Technical Infrastructure
A technology plan was developed and rolled out to accommodate the requirements of AAO. This technology supports the delivery, ease of use, and critical security aspects of the AAO system. It also provides teachers with real-time access to student educational data.
- Secure Student Learning
A key technical consideration for AAO was online security. Shifting educational delivery from classrooms to hundreds of offsite students and teachers connecting through an unsecure Internet, with little standardization or control, presented a security challenge. AmeriSchools’ technical team has taken advantage of a cloud-based data storage environment with a seamless integration of software and hardware to provide effective and secure online education for AmeriSchools Academy Online students.
- Laptop Computers for Student Use
- Specially configured laptop computers are provided to AmeriSchools Online students for their use in accessing their online education. These laptops are outfitted with software enabling remote and complete teacher control and monitoring of student computer usage.
The standardization in AmeriSchools-provided student computers not only enables online security concerns to be much more capably and effectively managed, but also allows for a more robust, effective, and customized educational experience to be delivered, directly to each student.
The Gift of Choice
The potential benefits of AmeriSchools Academy Online to Arizona K-8 students are apparent in many areas. Parents are being offered the gift of choice by AmeriSchools in the means of educating their children, by considering the needs of the student and parent. State-of-the-art, technologically enhanced online learning with AmeriSchools Academy Online, or traditional, yet innovative and exceptional, classroom learning, the choice is yours.
AmeriSchools Academy Online is just another example of the indomitable spirit of caring, vision, and innovation which “stacks the deck” in favor of AmeriSchools being the school of choice, online or in-person, for Arizona parents and their children, today, and into an exciting, dynamic future.