The general overview of Blended Learning was a district mandate. Each school was able to adopt the model that best suited their needs. Starbuck adopted a whole-part-whole model that each teacher was then able to modify for their specific class/subject. In 2015, only the blended learning "champions" were required to teach using a blended learning model. At the start of the 2016 school year, all teachers were expected to teach using a blended learning format in at east one class per day. The model looks different based on the individual teacher's needs, but it is required to follow the whole-part-whole format.
The biggest challenge was getting staff to buy-in to the new model. Once staff member started to teach this way, other staff members were able to see it in action. This made some staff members more willing to try it in their own classrooms. The second major issue was learning to manage student behavior in a rotational setting. The teacher cannot possibly be at every station and students initially used this as a time to focus on things unrelated to their school work. Starbuck Middle School is in a primarily urban school district. The student behaviors can be extreme at times. With consistency, support from the administration, and teachers who never gave up, the students began to adapt to the new learning methods.
You are going to experience failures. Not everything is going to work exactly as you have planned. If you are going to fail, make sure to fail up. Look at blended learning with a growth mindset. Ask what worked well and grow from those areas.
Getting started with blended learning was a challenge for me. As an 8th grade English teacher, I was accustomed to a teacher-led classroom. While I was excited to start blended learning. I approached it with my students by talking to them about the new class structure and asking what they would like to try. When I proposed it as a team effort, my students became very receptive to the idea. We would try things and then reflect on how effective the lessons were. The student input was invaluable to making blended learning a success. I was also able to see the lesson from the students' perspectives. Not every lesson was a success. It was the honest dialogue that I had with my students that made the transition to blended learning as smooth as it was.
I was fortunate enough to have tables when I started blended learning. The classroom design was haphazard the first year. We tried several classroom design models and then created our own. This year, I have blended learning, wedge-shaped desks. The classroom has zones for each station. This has made blended learning run more seamlessly in my classroom. This year's students like to tease me about the level of organization in the classroom, but they rarely have to ask where to find something. This has allowed for additional time at each station because students are not looking for supplies or being distracted by crossing back and forth across the room for supplies and materials.
Located in Racine, Wisconsin, Starbuck Middle School is an urban school that serves roughly 650 students. The students traditionally perform below the national average in reading and math. The Racine Unified School district implemented blended learning in select classrooms throughout the district. Starbuck had exceptional success in those classes and has decided to implement blended learning in all classrooms during the 2016-2017 school year.
Contact: Heather Hinze
Starbuck Middle School
53405 United States
In 2014-2015 Wisconsin used the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), which includes the WKCE and WAA, to test students in grades 4, 8 and 10 science and social studies. The WSAS is a standards-based test, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Wisconsin. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level. In private schools, only voucher program participants are tested.
The Badger Assessment is a statewide Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) standardized exam. The exam was given to students in grades 3 through 8 and measured student achievement in two subject areas: English language arts (ELA) and mathematics.