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Model Overview

Program Overview

2004
Year Launched
7 - 12
Blended Grades
250
Enrolled

Implementation Q & A

When you first implemented blended learning, why did you choose that particular model? (has your model changed? why?)


ACE is a virtual school that uses online and blended learning so we can deliver flexible, anytime, anyplace learning.
We have evolved over the past twelve years that we have been open.

What was one of your biggest challenges when going blended, and how did you overcome it?


Public perception is one of the biggest challenges.
Lots of media attention was given to our school to help our community understand the role and need of our program.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give to emerging blended-learning programs?


Pick the right staff!

Select up to two focus areas you feel that you demonstrate leadership in, and tell us why here:


We have been very fortunate to receive many visitors from across our state to visit our school. In addition we have won a couple national awards for our innovation. These include:
*Received Honorable Mention from National Association of Alternative Educators in March, 2015.
*Presented the 2015 Award of Excellence at the National Blended Learning Conference in March, 2016.
*2007 National Charter School of the Year

Program Focus

General
Credit Recovery
Dropout Recovery/Prevention

Blended Subjects

Math
English Language Arts
Social Studies
Science

School Overview

The mission of Cabot Academic Center of Excellence (ACE) is to increase the achievement of every student by providing anywhere, anytime learning whether in a traditional or non-traditional educational setting.

Academic Center of Excellence (ACE) has seen a variety of successes since the implementation of the school’s charter in 2004. Our ultimate goal is to help students, despite unimaginable barriers, find success. In order to do this, we provide anywhere, anytime learning both in traditional and non-traditional educational settings. ACE is an alternative learning environment that has continued to see growth in a variety of facets.

Since our 2012 renewal, ACE has experienced intense growth to warrant the need of an additional satellite campus and separate facility for the intensive ALE program. We opened a satellite campus, ACE-North, in the fall of 2014. With a blended learning approach, we have been able to serve another seventy students each year. Students that choose to attend ACE-North are at-risk for dropping out of school due to academic struggles. The smaller learning environment, along with the blended learning model, is a good fit for them. At the same time, they have access to the many career electives that are available at CHS. This has provided a needed option for students and families who desired graduation but felt that wasn’t obtainable.

ACE-North has been a great complement to our original ACE campus. ACE is a virtual school that uses online and blended learning so we can deliver flexible, anytime, anyplace learning. Our students have the luxury of accessing the rigorous digital curriculum personalized for learning for every student’s needs. However, online instruction is only one component of the instructional day. Focus groups in all core subjects provide targeted and intense direct instruction. This flexibility is invaluable for many of these at-risk students who require employment to help support their families. Within this blended learning environment, students have ownership over their learning and progress at their own pace. Students move up to the next assignments when they’ve demonstrated proficiency. This allows advanced students to proceed at an accelerated pace and enables teachers to provide extra attention to those students who need help.

Our population is very mobile with students being assigned to our ALE throughout the year and also students choosing to attend ACE due to changes in their life circumstances. However, when looking at our ACTAAP data for the first three years of this contractual period our proficiency rates were exemplary when compared to other alternative learning environments.

All
Students 2011-2012
Math 2011-2012
Literacy 2012-
2013
Math 2012-2013
Literacy 2013-
2014
Math 2013-
2014
Literacy 3 year

Math 3 year

Literacy
ACTAAP
% Proficient
74.19
73.33
70.27
78.95
58.33
80.49
67.59
77.59

On PARCC and now ACT Aspire, we experienced some dips in areas but had pockets of high achievements. For example:
• 8th grade English --- 78% Ready
• 10th grade Writing --- 61% Ready (above state average)

With the ACT testing for juniors starting in the spring of 2016, we are now seeing more students interested in pursuing postsecondary opportunities. In 2015, we only had twelve of our juniors/seniors take the ACT. With the new testing mandates, forty juniors were able to take the ACT. Many of our students come from situations of poverty and will be the first generation in their family to earn a high school diploma. Hopefully, college will be in the future for these students. Using their ACT results, we are working closely with our current seniors to adjust curriculum, implement strategies, and provide guidance helping them understand that postsecondary experiences are possible for them. We want to see a continued increase in our student’s ACT scores and an increase in the frequency in which they take the test.

We proudly graduated ninety-six seniors this past May through ACE. This is a very successful step for these students. Through our Jobs for Arkansas Graduates (JAG) program, we will be tracking and supporting our alumni in their next steps. We want to ensure that they find success in life. JAG provides support to at-risk youth to encourage them to achieve high school graduation. We had twenty-one seniors benefit from JAG last year and already have nineteen enrolled this year. Along with academic support, JAG also provides work-based learning experiences that will lead them to further education and training and rewarding careers. JAG is designed to assist career and technical students whose ability to successfully graduate from high school and obtain meaningful employment is in jeopardy. These students, very possibly, would have dropped out of school without the flexible schedules available to them through ACE.

The past two years, we have served over 200 students with a current enrollment of 227 students. We have seen an 80% increase in our graduating seniors during current contractual period.

Even with our growing population, ACE continues to focus on the individual student. Every student enrolled in ACE has a student action plan (SAP). This SAP describes a plan for student success which is based on the individual needs of the students which incorporates academic and behavioral data. To enrich these plans, we partnered this year with HeartBridge to provide a Social Emotional Learning curriculum (SEL). We see where SEL becomes part of the glue that helps our students hold their lives together in the midst of shattered situations.

ACE is working hard to help interested families understand the virtual model and the blended model. We want them to make an informed choice so their child will earn a diploma. Like any school, our approach has its strengths and challenges. We are continually adapting to keep up with the rapidly changing educational landscape. We have been honored in several ways over this contractual period. To list a few:
*Received Honorable Mention from National Association of Alternative Educators in March, 2015
*Presented the 2015 Award of Excellence at the National Blended Learning Conference in March, 2016
*Hosted a state-wide Apex Learning Day for online learning April, 2016
*Teachers & Administrators from ACE have been presenters at numerous local/state/national conferences over this contractual period.

In summary, ACE gives the opportunity to many students with a wide range of barriers to receive a public education. It is not an uncommon occurrence for families to choose ACE due to medical conditions, required work schedule, social anxiety, emotional/behavioral placements, drug addictions, bullying, and/or teen pregnancy. We are able to help provide relief from concerns of health and/or safety for the student and their family. Families regularly report that ACE has positively changed the life of their child and provided an option that has allowed a greater opportunity for learning under often unimaginable barriers.

Ratings Source: GreatSchools

Community Rating

GreatSchools Rating

7

out of 10

School Contact

Contact: Michele Evans

Address:
Academic Center of Excellence
21 Funtastic Drive
Cabot, Arkansas
72023
United States

Telephone: (501)-843-3363

Academic Center of Excellence's Website

Demographics

186
Total Students
51%
FRL
--
ELL

Student Ethnicity

State Test Scores Source: GreatSchools

2016

Blended Program Launched 2004