Innovative public school districts Arcadia Unified and Menlo Park City embrace AltSchool’s technology to increase personalized learning
JANUARY 24, 2018 – San Francisco-based education company AltSchool announced today the addition of Arcadia Unified School District located in Los Angeles County and Menlo Park City School District in the San Francisco Bay Area as the first public school district partners to utilize AltSchool’s teacher-built and student-driven learning platform. AltSchool is a mission-driven organization that believes deeply in learner-centered education delivered by exceptional teachers and supported by innovative new technology. As a Certified B Corporation, AltSchool is unique in that it runs its own small network of schools and has worked closely with educators and engineers to build a comprehensive personalized learning platform that helps prepare students for a rapidly changing global world.
AltSchool’s growth of school partnerships – now six – shows the interest and wide application of a holistic approach that includes education software along with professional support for educators, and shows demand ahead of when AltSchool anticipated adoption by public schools. The public and private schools who are embracing the platform share AltSchool’s vision of learner-centric education and are now making it a reality in their schools.
The two new public school partners are utilizing the AltSchool platform in selected classrooms. For example, Arcadia is using the AltSchool platform at the Rancho Learning Center and certain classrooms at the First Avenue Middle School, which is a traditional instructional setting. The teachers and administrators at these schools are working closely with AltSchool to implement the software with designs to expand to more classrooms in both school districts over the coming years, starting in the coming academic year.
AltSchool’s mindful plan of starting on a small scale – both in terms of classrooms per school and in total number of school partners – is designed to ensure the school district has time to learn about the platform before beginning to incorporate it widely throughout the district and receive the appropriate level of support from AltSchool. After a substantial amount of interest from public schools throughout the U.S., AltSchool selected Arcadia Unified and Menlo Park as its first public school partners. AltSchool will continue to form partnerships with other innovative schools for the 2018-19 school year.
“Our goal is to accelerate learning by developing a platform driven by educators to aid teachers who believe that personalized education is critical for student success,” said Devin Vodicka, Chief Impact and Academic Officer, who brings 20 years of education experience to AltSchool, including most recently serving as superintendent of the Vista Unified School District in San Diego County. “By having teachers work hand-in-hand with our engineers and designers, AltSchool’s platform enables powerful personalized education for students with technology assisting all aspects of planning, teaching, and assessing student progress.”
Classroom teachers are the architects of the AltSchool platform. Lessons learned from student-teacher interactions, teacher feedback, and classroom analysis within AltSchool’s own lab schools and at partner schools continue to be critical for the development of the platform. AltSchool’s personalized learning platform is a complete software system that provides students with transparency into long-term goals and day-to-day activities. The tools help teachers key-in on individual student learning, heighten the visibility parents have on their children’s education and allow teachers, parents, and administrators to see and track student progress.
The AltSchool Platform supports:
Lesson planning or inputting existing curriculum
Developing individual assignments for students
Capturing evidence of learning (including hands-on experiences)
Assessing and providing feedback
Understanding individual, classroom, and schoolwide progress
Emphasizing social emotional learning in parallel with academic growth
Two-way communications with parents
“Our teachers, who are highly innovative, have been finding and curating a number of programs to create a personalized learning experience for our students,” said David Vannasdall, Superintendent for Arcadia Unified School District. “The AltSchool platform streamlines all those tools to one space creating more time for meaningful connections between students and teachers.”
The Arcadia Unified School District is a nationally renowned public school district which consists of 11 award-winning schools and educates nearly 10,000 students. Arcadia High School has received numerous national recognitions including being named a U.S. News and World Report Gold Medal Schools three times, and being named to Newsweek’s Top Public High Schools in America List.
“AltSchool’s platform is a valuable tool for leveraging personalization in Menlo Park City School District,” said Superintendent Erik Burmeister. “We particularly appreciate the way the platform makes it possible for students to set and track their own goals, linked to specific learning targets, which can increase their ownership of learning.”
The Menlo Park City School District is another nationally renowned public school district serving students from kindergarten through 8th grade at three elementary schools and one middle school. The district has received the national Blue Ribbon award, as well as various California Distinguished School awards.
“We are excited to partner with our very first group of public schools – innovative schools that share our commitment to personalized learning for all students along the learning spectrum,” said Max Ventilla, founder and CEO of AltSchool. “This is a huge step forward in our plans to grow at steady pace to reach more teachers, classrooms, and students across America.”
Arcadia Unified and Menlo Park, as well as the HadaNõu Collective (which operates centers and schools within Colorado public schools) are joining AltSchool’s existing private school partners. The Greene School in West Palm Beach, Fla., Temple Beth Sholom Innovative School in Miami Beach, Fla., and Kohelet Yeshiva Lab School near Philadelphia, Penn., have been using the AltSchool platform since the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.
“Our partnership with AltSchool has been inspiring for our faculty and administrators because the process is one where AltSchool has built in a support network for us as we incorporate the technology, and AltSchool’s engineers are able to update the software based on our classroom experience,” said Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl, Head of School at Kohelet Yeshiva and Chief Academic Officer for the Kohelet Foundation. “The teachers using the AltSchool platform are already seeing how much more engaged their students are when individual components of their learning are tailored to their interests. The AltSchool platform makes this level of personalization easily doable for our teachers.”
U.S.-based independent and public schools interested in the platform can learn more about the program and how to partner with AltSchool to personalize learning at AltSchool.com.