One of Orange County’s Catholic Schools has been named to the prestigious Blended Learning Universe index, officially designating it as a Blended Learning Universe (BLU) School. This honor distinguishes St. Polycarp School as one of 560 schools worldwide, both public and private, which have received this designation. Furthermore, St. Polycarp is one of three recognized BLU schools in Orange County and the only Catholic School honored in Southern California.
According to the Clayton Christensen Institute, known for its research in this area, a Blended Learning Universe is defined as a formal education program in which a student learns:
– At least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace
– At least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home
– The modalities, along each student’s learning path within a course or subject, are connected to provide an integrated learning experience
A blended learning approach allows for a more personalized learning experience where all students are given the tools to succeed, based on their individual needs. While blended learning does include both face-to-face and online learning, simply having computers or tablets in a classroom does not constitute blended learning. It must also include some element of student agency over their learning.
St. Polycarp School began its venture into blended learning early in 2015 when two teachers attended a blended learning workshop. Impressed by the format, the teachers returned to St. Polycarp eager to develop and implement a blended learning program at their school. Benefitting from the support of their principal, Alison Daley, these teachers launched a highly effective program in which students are taught in small groups through a station rotation process.