Dr. Barrett Mosbacker, PublisherMost of us recognize how important it is for a modern aircraft, particularly a commercial aircraft, to be equipped with the latest technology in order to provide the best possible chance for mission success. If any of us walked onto a flight and was informed the trip was being made without radar, we might think twice about remaining on board. Do we not trust the experience and instincts of the pilot? I imagine our reasons for leaving the airplane would not be about mistrust, but more about believing that reliable and proven technology gives us the best chance for success.
What about in our schools? Sometimes our daily requirements and routines capture our attention so often that we overlook the tools that are available to give us the best chance for success. Christian, public and private schools alike are wrestling with the present day economy, as well as the expectations of government, parents, board members and students. Budget surpluses are no longer in the school administrator’s toolbox, and to make matters worse, it seems organizations that could provide solutions elect to clash with one another instead. The commitment to instructional excellence is mostly unchanged, but the need to search for new tools is a reality, perhaps even a necessity.
One tool that is proving successful is online learning. Whether a child is studying in the classroom, living at home, attending a youth group or just hanging out in the neighborhood, we are well aware of their interest in virtual communications. It has been said that young people today will grow into adulthood with the Web as much a part of them as the land-line telephone was for others in years past. Many students are so comfortable with technology, and the tremendous speed at which it changes, that new technological tools are an everyday expectation, not a novelty. How does the concept of online learning strike them? Their answer, as we have discovered, is a resounding YES!.
As an active participant in the Christian online education world, Sevenstar (www.sevenstaracademy.org) is privileged to be part of introducing quality Christian curriculum to a number of Christian schools and homeschoolers around the world. It has helped administrators, counselors, principals and board members solve present day challenges with technology that is ready to use now and remain an integral part of their future.
Almost four years ago, Dr. Mark Beadle, Sevenstar CEO/Head of School and long time Christian education administrator and teacher, sensed the Lord’s calling to pursue the introduction of an online Christian curriculum provider. After prayer, study, and meetings with leaders from all facets of Christian education, Dr. Beadle and others began the process of developing the highest quality curriculum possible. After identifying curriculum from Florida Virtual School and integrating biblical principles to create a sound Christian worldview, Sevenstar tied it all together with a strong support system and a partner model for schools.
In today’s Christian educational environment we hear of shrinking student enrollments, decreasing faculty retention, limited course offerings, and scheduling conflicts. The present day economy is contributing to these and other issues more than most of us ever remember. Online education is proving to be a source of relief from those concerns? Depending how one elects to use it, online instruction and curriculum can supplement a school’s revenue, as well as introduce a possible second revenue source for teachers. Other exciting possibilities include science labs and research projects conducted everyday via online education. Sevenstar students are engaged in Chinese and Latin, as well as Dual Credit courses from renowned Christian colleges. Online learning today involves more than one model with more than a million K-12 students studying courses of all types. It is predicted that over 10 million persons will be engaged in online learning in one form or another by 2014.
One model that is growing, to which Sevenstar can participate, is “hybrid" or “blended” education. This format allows a school to maintain their traditional brick and mortar approach while injecting portions of online learning right into the classroom. It enables a teacher to add an exciting link to the curriculum with an endless supply of information, tools and techniques. That which would normally require having to leave the classroom, online learning can introduce with the click of a mouse.
Sevenstar has chosen to enter into the Christian education arena to partner with schools, students and parents so that they have similar options, if not better, than the best of the public and private sectors. With rigorous courses that exceed all national standards, Sevenstar enables the smaller schools to compete with larger ones by offering single courses, entire subject matter, or entire curriculums to instruct in a “Hybrid” setting. It offers curriculum solutions for unique circumstances as well as a second chance to recover credits, move ahead with summer school, take AP classes or choose from over 100 dual credit programs. Some schools, like Sevenstar, are even using the courses to offer their own virtual diploma.
Many Christian schools have worked hard to establish a quality education for their students. Today, opportunities for those same students can be found not only in the classroom, but on their home PC, their cell phone or anywhere they can connect to the virtual world. Is such a world on your radar? It might be time to consider a tool that expands your future possibilities and brings solutions to your present day challenges – online learning.
For more information about Sevenstar, go to www.sevenstaracademy.org
Crouse, Brian, 2009 “How to Launch a School with Sevenstar Academy” – Brian Crouse