Portraits in Partnership: Blended Learning in Fulton County, Georgia

Portraits in Partnership: Blended Learning in Fulton County, GeorgiaWe’re sending congratulations out to our partner district, Fulton County Schools (FCS), in Georgia, on receiving an Innovation Fund grant to bring a unique blended learning program to students and staff in the district.

The Innovation Fund is a statewide competitive grant program that provides funding to school districts, schools, post-secondary institutions, and non-profit organizations in the following areas:

  • Applied learning and STEM education
  • Development and replication of blended learning models
  • Teacher and leader induction and development
  • Development and replication of innovative resource management models

Blended learning combines online and in-school learning, leveraging technology and teachers both to personalize an instructional path for students to foster growth and advance achievement.

Different Models of Blended Learning

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement uses the implementation models articulated by the Clayton Christensen Institute to identify approaches to blended learning. These include the rotation model, wherein students rotate between different learning modalities; the flex model, where students spend the majority of their time taking online courses but also attend school “in the real world”; the a la carte model, where students complete both online courses, often to supplement programs available in the schools; and the enriched virtual model where students take predominantly online courses from a preferred location, with some face-to-face instruction.

Starting with Math in the Middle School

Fulton County is a geographically dispersed district serving nearly 95,000 students that rings the Atlanta area. As a focus of its Innovation Fund initiative, FCS settled on Bear Creek Middle School, which serves 966 students. 92% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Data from 2014 identified math intervention as an area of need, so the team joined forces with New Classrooms and Kennesaw State University iTeach Center  to bring in Teach to One.

This year, the school will use the funds to transform its traditional classrooms into an innovative open learning space equipped with laptops, flexible furnishings, and other technology to support the blended learning model. The school’s math teachers will then get professional development in the New Classrooms methodologies. The school will become an observation site for other schools in Fulton County, as well as 38 middle school teams from around the state. We’re proud that MAP will be used to help measure student growth in the program.

Congratulations, Fulton County!