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Edmentum Partner Spotlight: Capac Virtual Education Program, Capac, MI

Edmentum Partner Spotlight: Capac Virtual Education Program, Capac, MI

Sometimes, it only takes the right teachers with the right tools to foster lasting change in students. Such is the case in the rural village of Capac, Michigan, where Capac Community School District’s virtual education program is helping students in 6th through 12th grades realize their goals and find the value in education success. We recently caught up with the head of the Capac Virtual Education Program (CVEP), Tami Zimmer, to find out how it uses Edmentum Courseware and EdOptions Academy virtual courses to provide students with opportunities that would not be available otherwise. She brought her best practices and her knowledge of Edmentum products with her from a previous district.

“I expect a lot out of my kids, and from my previous experience I knew that [Courseware] and EdOptions [Academy] offered a higher standard of rigor than our existing curriculum,” Mrs. Zimmer said.

Personalization plays a pivotal role in the work of CVEP, not only in the work the students accomplish but also in the attention they receive. About two-thirds of the students complete their coursework online from home, while students who prefer the structure and accountability of in-person learning can come into CVEP’s lab facility at any time.

Students are assigned a mentor who is responsible for helping them set goals, schedule classes and modules, and stay accountable. Students sign a contract that stipulates a minimum amount of weekly contact with their mentor, either electronically, in person, or through text messaging.

With the help of their mentor, students have the opportunity to replace sections of their personal curriculum with a project-based learning product. They can propose a project that reflects their interests or make a selection from a portfolio of previously approved products.

“One learning style is not enough to reach every student,” Mrs. Zimmer explained.

Although it is too soon to see the impact of CVEP reflected in the district’s graduation rates or other wholesale measures, some data points are already showing the program’s transformative effects. Course completion rates have doubled in the program since Courseware and EdOptions Academy were adopted, and last year, CVEP’s 8th and 9th graders scored more than 100 points higher on their PSAT exams than the district average.

“Alternative education has an unnecessary stigma attached to it, but alternative just means a different method of delivery,” Mrs. Zimmer commented.

The wealth of options provided to the Capac Virtual Education Program through Edmentum’s blended learning solutions has enabled Mrs. Zimmer and her staff to meet the needs of more students, offering increased flexibility and course offerings than is typically available for small, rural districts.

Thinking about starting a virtual program in your school or district? Download our free workbook Virtual Learning: Exploring the Options for Expanded Student Opportunity for helpful planning resources and best practices!

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Scott Sterling

Scott Sterling is a former English teacher who worked in Title I middle and high schools in St. Petersburg, Florida who is now a freelance writer who focuses on education. He is also a stay-at-home dad to his 4-year-old daughter Lily, who will soon be starting her own educational journey.