Denver Online High School utilizes the “click and brick” learning model which combines a dynamic combination of personalized attention received in a conventional brick-and-mortar school with the flexibility of the innovative virtual classroom. The school recognizes that not every student is successful solely in a single learning environment. For example, students may struggle with the distractions or strict schedules of a brick and mortar school setting; however, they may need more hands-on help than a completely online setting can provide. Therefore, the click and brick model allows the best mix of traditional and alternative learning methods.
The “Click” Benefits
The online environment allows each student to work at his or her own pace. Attendance is measured by meeting designated due dates in each class or by completing a week’s worth of work each week. Therefore, students can work ahead and complete assignments without waiting for peers to catch up. On the other hand, students can also take their time working through more difficult material. The online program, Schoology, that Denver Online High School uses also creates interactive classroom environments. Many courses utilize live class session times where students can interact with their teacher and peers through video, audio, and text chat. The live sessions utilize Zoom which enables teachers to share their desktops with students in order to present PowerPoints, videos, science lab simulations, and other instructional material. Students can also always call, email, or text their teachers any time with any questions they may have.
The “Brick” Benefits
Along with the online coursework, Denver Online High School also has a physical learning lab at Smedley Learning Center (4250 Shoshone Street, Denver, CO 80211) where students receive extra face-to-face support. The learning lab is open five days a week for students to use school computers or receive personalized attention from tutors and teachers. Students may also always schedule face-to-face meetings with their teachers and advisors at this location. Denver Online High School has also implemented Connection Days and Grad Prep Fridays for students to meet with students in their grade. All 9th/10th/11th graders meet once every week on Tuesday for their Connection Day and 12th graders meet every other Friday for Grad Prep Friday. This helps students feel connected to one another while also providing them valuable time to complete state testing and coursework, meet with their teachers and advisor, and participate in service based and college/career readiness activities. While students who are exceptionally busy or live too far away can opt out of these in-person days, these times are extremely beneficial to helping most students feel known and engaged in their school.
At the beginning of every semester, the high school provides two separate orientations at Smedley Learning Center: one for students and one for parents. Student orientations bring all new students in to ensure that they know how to effectively navigate the virtual programs. They also learn basic coursework requirements, are introduced to the multitude of extracurricular opportunities and credit earning opportunities available, and meet their teachers. Parent orientations then equip parents with the tools to access their students’ courses, grades, attendance, and progress. They also educate parents on ways to get involved and about special credit earning opportunities for their students, like tuition-free college credit.
Denver Online High School’s brick and mortar location also creates spaces to host special events and meetings for clubs. As a result, students can use the physical and virtual spaces that Denver Online High School provides to create a very personalized educational experience.