The blended learning model allows educators to employ today’s technologies to make material accessible and engaging to all students. In blended learning scenario, learning takes place in a student-centered classroom, while student interaction, communication, and collaboration are prioritized. This approach to learning is grounded in the following principles:
• Students play an active instead of a passive role in learning.
• Deep learning and understanding are valued and emphasized, thus quality must be paramount to quantity.
• Students will have an increased responsibility and accountability in the learning process.
• Learners will develop an increased sense of autonomy and independence. Choice is central to effective learning.
• Curriculum will be customized and differentiated to better meet the needs of all students.
• Teachers honor different learning styles and appeal to student interests to effectively engage them.
• Teachers and students take time to reflect on the teaching and learning process.
The online courses that will be used, APEX Learning, are fully aligned with the Michigan Standards of Learning and the Common Core State Standards. The courses offered fully align to and incorporate the instructional intent of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) including rigorous instruction, active learning experiences, and meaningful assessment. Students passing these assessments will ensure their preparedness for successful graduation and a post-secondary experience.
The curriculum also allows students to acquire soft skills so necessary for the world of work: communication; networking; enthusiasm and attitude; teamwork; problem solving and critical thinking; and professionalism. Soft skills cannot be taught in a vacuum nor can they be acquired simply because the goal of a lesson plan indicates it shall be so. Rather, they will be introduced, developed, refined, practiced, and reinforced. Pathways Academy is committed to providing the Detroit youth with resources regarding soft skills in a way that is useful, creative, hands-on and fundamentally beneficial for all types of learners. Both the Apex Learning course content and the materials used to develop soft skills have instructions and extension activities in Spanish if needed. If students are reading below their respective grade level, they will be required to take the Literacy Advantage Courses as part of a remedial process during which they will receive extensive literacy support at all times. Also, students that transitioned unprepared from middle school to high school will be assigned course content from the Apex Foundations course series.