Four Smart Solutions to Ensure Success in an Independent Study Program

Independent study in K-12 schools can be a challenging and isolating experience if not delivered with ample support and accountability. Throughout my years working within independent study, the need for personalized tools and instruction is as critical as ever. Expecting students, parents and teachers to be successful within an independent study modality is unrealistic without a variety of instructional practices and effective tools.

At Method Schools, we've developed a comprehensive and integrated virtual system that integrates personalized tools and accommodates instructional practices to ensure student support throughout their independent study journey. This system includes a complete student information system, streamlined and automated enrollment portal, learning management system that contains an entire K-12 course catalog along with a self-serve portal for transcript delivery.  

We've the found the following to be especially effective in generating overall student, parent and teacher success:

 

1. Self-paced


Supporting students to work at their own pace can be a key factor to success in independent study. Many students come to independent study for that reason- to not only work during times of the day that best suit them, but to work at a pace that works for them, with no interruption in progress for others in the classroom. Along with instructional guidance, this can enable the student to make more progress than otherwise possible. Students are able to work in our online curriculum at any time and can progress accordingly.


2. Data-driven

 

Providing each and every student with curriculum and instruction that meets them at their instructional level can only be achieved when current, relevant academic data is available for each student. Generating current data on an ongoing basis and using that data to inform direct lessons, instructional sessions and interventions is critical to ensure students are being met where they need it. At Method, our online curriculum can deliver specific lessons based on standards not yet mastered by the student, ensuring the student is receiving content they need.   


3. Intervention-based


Providing interventions on an ongoing basis is essential for students working in any modality. Our learning management system and courses have a variety of alerts for teachers, student and parents to ensure all are aware when a student is struggling with a certain topic or overall in a particular course. There alerts empower teachers to get to the student as quickly as possible and intervene while they are struggling so that that they can continue to build skills in order to master a certain concept or overall course.


4. Regularly required personal meetings


Independent study requires persistent and ongoing progress monitoring along with consistent meetings to ensure they are receiving the instructional support they need and are attending all supporting instructional sessions. For K-12 schools, this can be a challenging and isolating experience if not delivered with ample support and accountability. Throughout my years working within independent study, the need for personalized tools and instruction is as critical as ever. Expecting students, parents and teachers to be successful within an independent study modality is unrealistic without a variety of instructional practices and effective tools.

Allowing independent study students to go on without consistent intervening, feedback, and personal support is a sure recipe for failure. Along with our comprehensive online tools, we require students to meet with their homeroom teachers on a weekly basis to check in and monitor their overall progress, connect them to interventions where needed and provide them the overall guidance and encouragement to be successful.

 

Developing our own solutions to serve our diverse and unique model has empowered our overall community to be the best we can at serving students effectively and with the ultimate attention to the details that truly help students and grow and be successful. We look forward to continuing to develop these solutions to empower as many students as possible.

 


 

Working at Method is different. It doesn't feel like a typical teaching or other education-related job. Because it isn't. We know all students learn differently, and no two are alike. Teachers are the same way. We provide a flexible setting, a results-driven mindset and a blank canvas. You do the rest.

As Method has grown, more positions have been required. We've gotten bigger. We've figured some things out. Started some new ventures, and quit some others that didn't work. Just like students, we're all learning and getting better everyday. If you have a growth mindset and a vision for what you think you can do do make education more personal, more individual, and more custom...we have a place for you.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT WORKING AT METHOD

Dr. Jessica Spallino
Dr. Jessica Spallino
Jessica has a demonstrated track record of building schools that are forward-thinking, high-performing, and often unconventional. She is particularly experienced at building online and blended learning charter schools, and has a passion for improving K-12 education through new and innovative models and concepts. She’s regularly asked to speak on change management and building positive and innovative cultures in schools and in the workplace. Jessica holds a BA in English, an MA in Educational Leadership, and holds PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University.
Comments
Supporting students to work at their own pace can be a key factor to success in independent study. Many students come to independent study for that reason- to not only work during times of the day that best suit them, but to work at a pace that works for them, with no interruption in progress for others in the classroom.
Jessica Spallino
CEO, Method Schools

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