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A Model of Successful Distance Learning: Chester Upland NEF Academy

Industry: Education

NEF provides grants for almost the entire cost of the program. Virtual school students' grades and test scores greatly improve, attendance rates up 95%!

Chester Upland, PA (PRUnderground) March 31st, 2020

The National Education Foundation (NEF) Academy program at Chester Upland School District is a stunning model of successful distance learning, with the majority of students on track to achieve more than a year of growth in math and reading this academic year. This is a notable turnaround, since prior to establishing the Academy only a third of students were meeting grade level standards.

With schools across the country closing for extended periods, educators are scrambling to figure out how to implement an online curriculum. Chester Upland’s 9-12 virtual school provides an answer. Supported by the NEF Academy featuring Pearson GradPoint, the school has engaged its students with individualized adaptive courses, resulting in a dramatic improvement in academic achievement. Remarkably, as the nonprofit leader in digital education, NEF provides grants for almost the entire cost of this program.

Dr. Appu Kuttan, Chairman of NEF explains, “Unknowingly, we have been preparing for this current crisis for the last 30 years. By striving to always be at the forefront of harnessing technology to bridge the academic divide, NEF has one of the few distance learning models with a proven track record. Our success with impoverished school districts like Chester Upland shows that ANY school can use our program to maintain and even improve student academic achievement, especially during the school closures. In keeping with our STEM Vision for America, we are offering a 95% grant for our learn from home study software for the 2020-21 school year and are including the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year for free.”

NEF’s Academy program is data-driven and designed to increase student achievement, access, and opportunity. Chester Upland implements all three Academy modules: 1) online courses, 2) robotics, and 3) IT industry certifications and career readiness. In partnership with SUNY-Potsdam, NEF supports academies with data value adds, learning management systems, stipends, incentives, professional development, and technical support.

Dr. Joanne Jones Barnett, the NEF Academy Director at Chester Upland, remarked, “With the NEF program, we are seeing how we can improve student achievement by using online curriculum and how to use data to personalize learning for each individual. We use the data to monitor and detect how we can better support students and make appropriate program adjustments.”

NEF Academy results at Chester Upland are phenomenal, improved grades, test scores, attendance rates up 95%, and increased college admissions. All students are showing a year’s worth of academic growth. Dr. Barnett added, “NEF provides a fruitful sense of accountability, with weekly status meetings, support, a collegial atmosphere, and an incentives model that helps to motivate students and stakeholders.”

NEF Academies like Chester Upland use effective online courses, foster partnerships, implement context-related solutions paired with incentives that increase engagement, which at the end of the day increases student achievement, closes opportunity gaps, and builds district capacity to support mission critical objectives. NEF is currently providing 95% grants for its distance learning Academy program to all interested schools, as part of its STEM VISION for AMERICA initiative.

About National Education Foundation

NEF is a national nonprofit leader in bridging the academic divide by providing world-class, affordable, online and blended learning to students. NEF offers the largest library (8,000+) of effective courses for K-12, mapped to every state’s standards.

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