Creating a Better Denver, One School at a Time
What does it take to prepare students for the 21st century marketplace?
At several DPS schools, these innovations in teaching are now available thanks to generous community support. Grant Beacon is one of six Janus Blended Learning Labs in DPS, thanks to a multi-year commitment from Janus – their second gift since 2008, totaling more than $5 million in support. Blended Learning is defined as the coupling of teacher-led instruction with online curriculum. This approach allows students to individualize the pace of their learning, while providing teachers with actionable real-time student data to inform their instruction.
When you walk into a classroom at Grant Beacon, you’ll find groups of students working simultaneously in different formats – some complete assignments on their laptops, while others work together in small collaborative groups, while others receive one-on-one instruction from their teacher.
“The technology allows me to track each of my students individually and instantly, so I can see exactly where they’re answering a question wrong or getting stuck on a problem,” said Jeff Kurtz, a teacher at Grant Beacon. “I used to have to wait until I got home to grade assignments to have a clear picture of where specific kids in the class were struggling. Blended Learning has given me the tools to individualize instruction to the students who need it – and allow others to move ahead at their own pace. It’s truly changed how I’m teaching.”
Changes Taking Hold
The progress is already evident. The number of Grant Beacon students scoring proficient or advanced increased by nine percent in reading and by 15 percent in math the first year of Blended Learning. What’s more, this fall, Grant Beacon moved from a “yellow” to a “green” rating on the School Performance Framework, the state’s scorecard for how schools are meeting the needs of their kids. Principal Alex Magana says Blended Learning has been instrumental in this progress. “It’s a game-changer in terms of how we’re educating our kids.”
Read more about Blending Learning in a publication by Janus.