Saturday, September 17, 2011

Barresi Congratulates Norman Public Schools on Digital Learning Pilot

OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi today congratulated Norman Public Schools for being named as one of only four school districts across the nation to participate in a groundbreaking digital learning pilot program.
The three-year pilot program pairs Norman Public Schools and three other school districts in the country with a national leading digital learning provider to boost graduation and college-readiness rates among students. Chosen by America's Promise Alliance as part of the organization's Grad Nation Campaign, Norman Public Schools will use the pilot to create opportunities for course recovery, remediation and original credit courses. 
NPS will also use the pilot to expand blended learning offerings. Blended learning uses a mix of digital and traditional face-to-face instruction. America's Promise will underwrite the entire cost of software, assessments and professional development for the school district.
"This is the sort of innovative thinking that Oklahoma needs as we move forward into the 21st Century. Blended learning empowers students and gives them control over learning at their own pace," said Barresi. "I look forward to seeing how this model develops. I congratulate Norman Public Schools, and Superintendent Joe Siano is to be commended for his leadership."
Barresi said the Norman pilot's focus on college readiness also lines up with a refocused mission for the Oklahoma State Department of Education around the same core theme.
Barresi said she has seen firsthand the promise of blended learning, when she visited the nationally-known Carpe Diem school in Yuma, Arizona, earlier this year. In a recent speech given to the Norman Rotary Club, Barresi talked about the potential for blended learning and gave highlights of her visit to Carpe Diem in Arizona. The Yuma-based school utilizes a blended digital learning model for students in grades 6-12 and has emerged as one of the state's top schools, attracting attention from reformers across the country.
Digital resources and training for the Norman pilot will be provided by Apex Learning based in Seattle, Washington. The other three participating districts are Miami-Dade Public Schools (Miami, Florida), St. Mary’s Public Schools (Leonardtown, Maryland) and Cross County School District (Cherry Valley, Arkansas).
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