Accel Online East Virtual Instruction Program (VIP)
Accel Online East LLC, a subsidiary of Accel Schools, features an innovative and flexible and interactive curriculum, capable of serving the needs of all students. The curriculum is housed within the Accel Management Platform (AMP) for Education. The AMP system includes state of the art technology that embeds vendor coursework seamlessly, keeping content that is fully aligned to Florida state standards at the fingertips of instructors. Once verification of curriculum alignment is completed, identified gaps are targeted with additional supplementary instructional materials to support mastery of each standard. Using a system with multiple vendors provides Accel with the flexibility to assemble the strongest curriculum choices for their partner school students.
The curriculum is rigorous, research-based, and can be custom-tailored to students’ unique skills and interests. It includes world class content and college preparatory skill-building, as well as access to fine arts, world languages, and career-focused electives. The school’s curriculum and instructional framework is guided by national best practices in K-12 online learning models. The curriculum design methodology uses principles of Universal Design for Learning, ensuring that both the curriculum and the instructors provide multiple opportunities for engagement, representation, as well as action and expression to ensure that students will repeat their encounters with the same topics throughout their career, each time increasing the complexity in order to reinforce previous learning, and also to reteach concepts one-on-one and in small groups to ensure mastery.
The curricular offerings were selected as a curated holistic approach to instruction. Each vendor aligns with the instructional methodology of the school by embedding the pedagogy of personalized learning and backward design principles in all courses. These methods are research-based and imperative for the leaders of tomorrow. According to iNACOL, (now Aurora Institute) personalized education is “critical for raising achievement for all” and “allows students to build a strong foundation for success” (Worthen, Frost, & Gentz, 2016).
Accelerate Education is the course provider for grades K-5 along with credit recovery courses. The company was founded in 2011 and is an accredited, leading vendor providing standards-based core curriculum courses in original credit, credit recovery, and independent study formats for all grade levels. Accelerate Education courses meet the needs of both at-risk and high achieving students in need of a personalized education that was not provided to them in a traditional classroom setting. They also provide the opportunity for remediation and intervention through the IDEAL learning library, giving teachers the ability to assign specific courses to students as needed and allowing students to fully navigate goals at their pace. In this way, Accelerate Education’s curriculum provides individualized learning paths for all students to offer a unique experience for academic success.
Accelerate Education partnered with The Capital Area Online Learning Association (CAOLA) in Pennsylvania and studied the impact of Accelerate Education. In 4th and 5th grade, students taking Accelerate Education’s curriculum outperformed the state passing rate by nearly 30% on the PSSA ELA exam, 50% in Math, and over 20% in Science. Courses taught by Accelerate Education teachers have a 90.3% completion rate and a 99.8% passing rate.
StrongMind is the primary course provider for grades 6-12. The company has been serving students since 2001, offering an award-winning, rigorous, and customizable digital curriculum with general courses and electives in 6th-12th grade. All courses integrate simulations, games, and interactive content to ensure creativity and critical thinking. Embedded Project-Based Learning activities promote communication and collaboration. StrongMind courses incorporate simulations and other interactive content to help students think creatively and critically. Communication and collaboration highlight engaging content with the use of discussion boards and project-based lessons. Teachers can assign projects to groups, or students can complete individually and reflect later.
StrongMind’s backward-designed curriculum was published in 2017. A study that compared a traditional model of curriculum design to backward design suggests teachers using backward-designed curriculum outperform teachers using a traditional-designed curriculum (Kelting-Gibson, 2005). Lessons using backward design scored higher on key components including knowledge of content and pedagogy, selection of instructional goals, the design of coherent instructions and assessment of student learning. The first client using the new format witnessed immediate growth. 8th grade students’ exams in Math increased from 74% to 79% and in English from 64% to 72% as compared to scores using the previous curriculum provider.
eDynamic Learning (eDL) is the course provider for elective and CTE courses. The company is a teacher-founded and award-winning company that uses teachers and subject matter experts to develop coursework that leads to industry-related certifications. With nearly 200 courses, they are the largest publisher of CTE and elective courses in North America. All eDL courses employ backwards design methodology to support best practices on how today’s students learn. To increase engagement, each lesson is chunked into small portions and resources include diagrams, videos, slideshows, and other interactive elements. Teachers can provide more personalization for students by customizing any course, unit, or lesson to incorporate additional components such as videos, documents, links, and other media elements.
Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is the course provider for some of the Advanced Placement courses. Founded in 1997, FLVS provides a robust, award-winning curriculum designed to meet the unique needs of students and be inclusive of cultural diversity, representing all races, cultures, ethnicities, abilities, and genders. All FLVS courses are aligned to the iNACOL/Quality Matters Standards. FLVS course design includes several modern pedagogical philosophies, critical thinking, and real-world application of skills. As part of the scope and sequencing work, cognitive complexity for each learning target is identified using Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DoK) Guide and carried into learning activities and assessments. Through the curriculum design process, student focus groups of diverse populations are frequently engaged for input on course content, images, and design elements. All courses undergo more than 450 hours of rigorous review and testing, both during development and after completion, ensuring accuracy and adherence to state and national standards.
ACCEL Online East ensures that course content and resources are current, reviewed, and revised when necessary. For example, StrongMind course content and resources are peer-reviewed by a panel of stakeholders. Surveys are collected to elicit responses. Using assessments and data strategy, weaknesses in the course are identified and addressed. Course efficacy is evaluated and explored in white papers and scholarly research. Courses are regularly updated if inaccuracies are found. Courses are regularly versioned to reflect the most up to date information. Courses are reviewed using research-based practices and effective use of feedback.
Curriculum that is free of bias and accessible for all students is necessary, and available from our vendors. Accelerate Education courses invite multiple perspectives and reflect an understanding of the perspectives of diverse ethnic groups whenever applicable within each course through texts, videos, images, discussions, assignments, and projects. This is further evidenced in the diversity of staff in creating a given course as well as a variety of reviewers prior to release as well as post-release evaluation of effectiveness. StrongMind is committed to advancing accessibility. eDynamic Learning courses are responsively designed to run on all technology platforms and devices and meet WCAG 2.0AA, making it accessible for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. FLVS courses are designed to meet the unique needs of our students and be inclusive of cultural diversity, representing all races, cultures, ethnicities, abilities, and genders. FLVS hires subject matter experts for every subject area, to deliver informative, factual, unbiased, and inclusive learning materials to our students nationwide. Throughout the development process, student focus groups of diverse populations are frequently engaged for input on course content, images, and design elements.
A complete list of the NCAA approved courses offered by Accel Online East can be found on the NCAA Eligibility Center website. Please search for schools in Michigan and then select Michigan Online School, an Accel partner school.
SCHOOL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Upon being granted approval, Accel Online East will provide teachers that are certified to teach in the state of Florida.
HOURS AND AVAILABILITY OF INSTRUCTIONAL PERSONNEL
Teachers commit to a minimum availability of 8 hours each weekday, including mandatory office hours between 10am and 4pm daily. Teachers often choose to work additional hours before or after their instructional day and may provide evening and weekend hours to accommodate families and prevent scheduling conflicts. Once hired, the specific hours of availability for all teachers will be posted within the AMP platform and readily shared with families. Teachers are available online and by phone, and messages received are generally expected to be returned within 24 hours.
AVERAGE STUDENT-TEACHER RATIOS AND TEACHER LOADS
The average student to teacher ratio for elementary school courses is 35:1. The average student to teacher ratio for middle school courses is 150:1. In high school, the average student to teacher ratio is 200:1.
STUDENT COMPLETION AND PROMOTION RATES
Course completion and passing rates for current Accel partner schools are available here. They include Full Academic Year (FAY) students over the last two school years, 2019-20 and 2020-21.
STUDENT, EDUCATOR AND SCHOOL PERFORMANCE OUTCOMES
Several states either waived or did not report their student, educator, and school performance requirements and accountability grades over the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, no current Accel Online East partner schools have accountability reports for the last two years.