After receiving feedback from the Executive Board of the ECESC and other superintendents, East Central Educational Service Center has been researching an educational solution to assist schools with hard to fill classes across the region. The model below is a product of research gathered from conversations with area superintendents, curriculum leaders, technology directors, CELL/RECN, the Small and Rural Schools Association, and multiple collaborative programs that maintain a similar scope of work. While we recognize each model has significant obstacles, this vision developed seeks to provide the best student experience possible.
Plenty of online programming through a variety of vendors is available to districts. What does not exist is a synchronous model of instruction and, additionally, a program that supports local teachers. Many of our small and rural districts struggle to fill certain vacancies yet have programs they can offer. How can we leverage the collective strengths across districts and our region?
To take a class this program would include:
ECESC would procure a “master schedule” of available courses across the region.
Possible offerings: “0” hour, after school, summer school, teacher prep (possibility of streaming regularly scheduled courses in the future with additional barriers to be solved)
Courses would include live streaming, synchronous content at a minimum of 3 days per week in 45 minute sessions allowing a bit of flexibility for the student/instructor. Additional content may be recorded or asynchronous. (In certain cases, in-person supplemental instruction could be offered.)
ECESC would charge districts a per student fee of $300 to enter an available class.
The “home district” will receive progress reports and the teacher will report final grades back to their school to be entered in the SIS. It will be up to the “home district” to award credit and ensure all student transcripts are accurate.
If the student needs additional support (accommodation, modifications), it will be the responsibility of the home school to offer that support and ensure that student needs are being met.
Decisions on supervision during course time will be the decision of the home school.
Classes would remain intentionally small. It will take a minimum of 10 students for a course to run and not have more than 20 students.
Teachers would become independent contractors of the ECESC and be paid stipends for their work.
It would be the responsibility of the school district to ensure that the stipend is allowable under all teacher contracts and meets all legal requirements (teacher would not be “double dipping”).
Based again on contracts and local decisions, it would be up to the district what periods they would offer to the consortium.
An MOU would be approved with the ECESC and participating districts.
The benefit to the district allowing a teacher to teach with us and earn the stipend increases the likelihood of retention.
By collaborating across the region, the most highly effective and innovative teachers would be available to more students.
Districts do not lose students due to lack of available programming.
We collectively create more learning opportunities for students.