While hybrid education has been around for over 30 years, prior to COVID many people were unaware that there was a way to educate children that was not fully at home or fully at school five days-a-week.
One hybrid model of K-12 education has been around for decades but still serves only a small percentage of the population. It is called College-Simulated Learning for K-12, but it is most well-known by its trademarked association name of University Model. Today, there are 90 University Model schools in 24 states and four countries. Yet, in total, there are 300-400 College-Simulated Learning schools. The total number is harder to track because these schools are launching quickly post-COVID, as parents are looking for more education options, and education savings accounts have expanded significantly in several states. Schools utilizing the College-Simulated Learning model are largely in the private school sector.
In the model, students come to school a reduced number of days a week — either two or three days a week, depending on grade — and complete the remaining learning at home. The model differs from homeschooling because the school provides all of the learning content, associated activities and assessments, and the majority of the instruction. During the at-home days parents support their student’s learning. For younger grades, the parent acts as a tutor, whereas in older grades, the parent provides a reduced amount of learning support. This fosters a progression toward student independent learning.
The benefits of this model are enormous. Families are able to regain time together. Students can receive more academic support. The mastery-based learning approach allows students to progress to more advanced work or remedial work if needed. Independent learning skills are developed over time, preparing students for success post-high school in college or the workforce. And, most importantly, parents are valued and engaged as active participants in their children’s learning. This is in stark contrast to a growing effort by traditional district schools to keep parents out of their children’s education, including failing to provide curriculum transparency and forgoing parental consent.
Editor’s Note: To learn more, read Dr. Keri D. Ingraham’s recently released policy brief titled: College-Simulated Learning for K-12.