Blended Learning Leads to More Life Choices

By Robyn Bagley

In an economy where jobs and skills are changing rapidly, it’s imperative that our children graduate high school with more than the traditional diploma. They need access to opportunities and resources that better prepare them with the skills necessary to face the workforce challenges that lie ahead. We live in an age of unparalleled innovation that calls for equally innovative measures to ensure that students aren’t sidelined by skill deficits and educational gaps in the future. High school is a crucial time for laying the foundations to prepare them for the best and brightest futures possible, and today we have the tools to make this happen.

As a mom of four, I have an acute understanding of the need to create additional opportunities for our kids. In my work as Chair of the Board of Parents for Choice in Education, I have consistently been a champion of empowering students and parents through school choice and innovation in my native state of Utah as well as on the national level. Through advocacy and policy change we have and can continue to expand educational options for our students across traditional, charter, private and homeschool settings. And the creation of more learning options leads to more choices for our children as they shape their lives after graduation.

It’s with this goal in mind that I founded Career Path High School. Career Path students graduate with an industry-aligned technical certification in addition to a diploma. The real-world skills and training they receive prepare them for career success and give them the ability to command a competitive salary immediately following high school, should they choose to enter the workforce at that time. Our students find themselves equally prepared for the academic demands of a continued higher education path, as they spend their junior and senior years enrolled in college programs on a technology campus.    

Career Path High is a blended learning flex model, and it is the blended design that allows our students the opportunity to simultaneously pursue college certifications. Our model removes the restrictions often associated with traditional education, empowering our students by giving them maximum flexibility over time, place, path and pace of their learning. With access to competency-based, high quality curriculum and mentor teachers, this learning methodology enables our students to obtain the kind of personalized education parents could only dream of in the past. Their career pathway gives them hands-on experience and enhances the relevance of their education. As a result, students become active participants rather than merely spectators in their high school experience.

Today’s K-12 students need access to the most relevant 21st century learning skills possible to prepare them for future success in a rapidly changing workforce. Blended and online learning can facilitate that access, providing more and better choices during their primary and secondary school years, which in turn will lead to more and better choices after graduation. This is why I support the mission of the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning, and am passionate about my service and contributions as a board member.

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Robin Bagley is an independent consultant and president of Rethink Education; she serves on the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her LinkedIn

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