Branson School Online, a multi-district online school in existence since 2001, is pleased to announce that it “is moving the dot” of student achievement into the high growth/high achievement quadrant as reported by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) in its 2009 state required assessments. Through its Unit of Online Learning, CDE conducted an annual report on the status of 26 online schools with 19 being multi-district and 7 single district programs.
The report, which was made public in February 2010, uses fifteen Quality Standards, to evaluate online schools. Used as standards not only for quality but also accountability, these standards are the cornerstone of both the Application for Certification of multi‐district programs and for the Annual Report of online programs.
CDE states that each school’s mission statement should reflect the guiding purpose of the organization and should also demonstrate support for accomplishment of the mission. “Branson School Online stated in their submitted report that their online program “strives to make a positive difference in the lives of children in an alternative manner that transcends the limitations of time and space” and also wants to “facilitate the development of lifelong learners.”
The findings of the report, as they pertain to Branson are synopsized below:
- Among those programs demonstrating an increased level of student performance in the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP), Branson School Online showed notably significant improvement with scores coming in above the state averages in: elementary school math and reading growth, middle school reading growth, and high school reading and writing growth.
- Of those online schools reporting their CSAP proficiency levels in reading, Branson scored the highest with a 75% proficient or advanced level. The average for online schools was reported at 54% with the state average reported to be 68%.
Of those online schools reporting their CSAP proficiency levels in writing results, Branson scored the highest with a 59% proficient or advanced. The average for online schools was reported at 35% percent with the state average reported at 55%.
Of those online schools reporting their CSAP proficiency levels in math, Branson scored the highest with a 40% proficient or advanced. The average for online schools was reported at 28%. The state average was reported at 54%.
Of those online schools reporting their CSAP proficiency levels in science, Branson scored the highest with a 50% proficient or advanced. The proficiency level for online schools was reported at 30% with the state average being reported at 48%.
(*Please note: The Colorado Growth Model divides students into groups of elementary, middle and high school grades. Due to the requirement that CSAP data must be available from a group of at least 20 students for three Academic years, and in existence for at least two year, only four schools were represented in this year’s Growth Model.)
The following delineates other areas of achievement Branson received from the Colorado Department of Education in its annual assessment report:
Definition of Standard II: The adopted curriculum of the online program is aligned with the Colorado Model Content Standards, assessment frameworks, and is consistent with grade level. The second part of this standard addresses the specific manner in which assessment results are used by the program.
“…Commendable is the yearly review of curriculum completed by Branson Online staff. All assignments are aligned with the Colorado Model Content Standards and assessment frameworks. This model of consistent review, alignment and updating is one that ensures quality and timeliness in curricular offerings.”
“…Branson Online was the only online program that indicated that they are using, and will receive more staff development for increased application of, the Colorado Growth Model in order to “apply the data to benefit instruction for each student…and provide our staff with greater instructional strength.”
Definition of Standard IX: An online program follows policies for tracking attendance, participation, and truancy. The policy includes documentation of teacher /student interaction.
“…Branson School Online has a clearly defined policy stating that “…students placed on ‘Academic Watch’ due to nonparticipation and/or absence, and later placed on ‘Academic Warning’ will be considered to be habitually truant.” This online program also notably has clear documentation of student‐teacher interaction.”
Definition of Standard XI: The online program has a policy providing guidance counseling services as appropriate to grade level and student need.
Branson states its (RtI) process, with focus on early intervention and the employment of two full time counselors which the school subsidizes through the Colorado Counselor Corps Grants as a means to address student issues.
“…In addition to the support described for career and academic advancement, they (Branson) also tout a “Counseling Corner” website “with valuable resources and tools for students to use.”
Definition Standard XII: The online program has a policy guiding school/home communication about student and program progress, program governance, and program accountability that is relevant, regular and available in native language where reasonable.
Branson Online School has a Spanish version of their student “Performance Contract” posted online for Spanish‐speaking parents.
*The intended audiences for this report include the Colorado State Board of Education, the education committees of the Colorado Senate and the House of Representatives, students and parents interested in the quality of online learning, and the community of stakeholders in online learning programs.
Applications for the 2010-2011 academic year will be available on the Branson School Online website as of March 15, 2010.
Contact: Judith Stokes, Branson School District, School Code: 0948.
Please Phone: 1-719-946-5531 or Toll free 1-888-863-7850 or click here for website: http://www.bransonschoolonline.com/