U.P. Blended AcademyProvides Options for All Students
Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Thisfall students in the Upper Peninsula will have the choice to complete theirhigh school education 100% online or in a blended learning environment. DeTour Artsand Technology Academy, a Public School Academy (PSA) chartered by LakeSuperior State University, is expanding across the Upper Peninsula as the U.P.Blended Academy. The Academy is currently accepting enrollments for grades6-12.
The U.P. Blended Academy is different than other CyberSchools and online programs being advertised. The Academy is based in the UpperPeninsula and employs caring, Highly Qualified teachers and staff that live andteach in the U.P. and they care about the progress of each student. TheAcademy’s goal is to meet the needs of all learners and to provide additionaloptions for students in the U.P. that small, rural districts may not be able toprovide. Online Learning Coordinator, Heather Luoto said, “The Academy’s intentis not to entice students away from other districts, but to provide a learningoption for students who’s needs are not being met by current options. Thisincludes home-school students and students that are not currently attendingpublic school.”
The unique thing about this program is that students maytransfer to the DeTour Arts and Technology Academy, or their local district maychoose to keep the student enrolled at their district and have the Academyoversee student progress in the online courses. Districts have a variety ofoptions for both courses and levels of student support. The ability to offerthese options gives small, rural schools and out of formula school districtsthe opportunity to provide additional courses to students in a cost-effectiveway and will allow the student to graduate from their home district.
What is blended learning? Blended learning combinesface-to-face learning with online or digital learning. Research suggests thatstudent achievement increases when blended learning is used. There are avariety of blended models currently in use throughout the world. In the U.P.Blended Academy model students will have some control over the time, pace andplace that they do their online learning and they will receive face-to-facesupport in a brick and mortar building at least once a week. Students that areable to make adequate progress 100% online will not be required to attendlearning labs. At the start of the school year, each learning lab will offerface-to-face support in a 3-hour block at least one day a week. If studentsneed or want more support, the learning lab hours will increase. Academystudents will also be required to attend learning labs if they are not makingprogress on their own, to take standardized tests (MEAP, MME, PLAN, etc.) andto take quarterly assessments.
The U.P. BlendedAcademy learning model is student centered. It utilizes pre-testing to createan individual learning path and creates a custom graduation plan for eachstudent. Courses from a variety of vendors including: ODYSSEYWARE, Compass Learning, MichiganVirtual and locally developed Moodle courses gives students many courseoptions. Dual-enrollment options, where students may earn both high school andcollege credit, are also available for advanced students.
The U.P. Blended Academy is very flexible and providesvendor, pace and course options for students and all online courses areavailable 24 hours a day. This flexibility is beneficial for working students,teen parents and competitive athletes. Students also have the choice to work ata faster or slower pace than in traditional school. This enables off-trackstudents the opportunity to recover credit quickly and motivated students tograduate early. Struggling students alsolike the choice to work on only one course at a time at an accelerated pace.
Here’s what some studentshad to say about the program:
"This seat time waver program hasbeen helping me keep up with my academics and earn a high school diploma withouthaving to go to public school, especially because of my severe allergies. I'vehad a great sophomore year and I can't wait to be a junior in thefall."--Charlie E.
"Theflexibility of the seat time waiver program allowed me to stay at home with mydaughter and earn credits to graduate." -Heather L., 2013 Graduate
"I like that I can get work in while Istay home with my kid and that I don't have to wake up and worry about findinga babysitter :)" -Sasha G.
“You guys are great for not giving up on astudent.” – Taylor C., 2013 Graduate
This is not a G.E.D. program; students in the Academy arerequired to meet the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC) requirements like allother Michigan public school students. Students that complete the MMCrequirements (16 or 18 MMC credits depending on graduation year) will receive aregular high school diploma. Studentsare also required to pass the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate SchoolDistrict’s quarterly assessments (or an equivalent) to earn course credit.
First Semester classes begin Tuesday, September 3rd. For an enrollment packet, please callthe DeTour Arts and Technology Academy at 906-297-2011 ext.217. Enrollment forms may alsobe downloaded from the school website https://detourata.eup.k12.mi.us/Page/61. High School Principals and Counselors shouldwatch their mail for an informational brochure and may direct questions toHeather Luoto, Online Learning Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.