THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – A California school district is trying a new approach to attract more students amid declining enrollment: listening to parents and giving them what they want.
Conejo Valley Unified School District is launching the K-6 Independent Home Study Program to offer parents support in homeschooling their children personalized education programs tailored to their interests and learning style, the Thousand Oaks Acorn reports.
The program “was borne out of community meetings Superintendent Ann Bonitatibus held last year where parents expressed a desire for more flexible and personalized forms of education,” according to the news site.
The move is designed to help counter the district’s declining enrollment, which is estimated to result in about 2,000 fewer students by 2020.
“As time goes on in education … we want to continue to look for opportunities to give our families a choice,” Bob Iezza, assistant superintendent for instructional services, told the Acorn. “We have many families who really like the flexibility and nature of a not-everyday 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. kind of program.”
According to the CVUSD website:
Conejo Valley Unified School District is opening a new chapter of learning opportunities for students with the launch of its K-6 Independent Home Study Program. The decision to launch the K-6 Independent Home Study Program, located on the campus of Lang Ranch Elementary School, stems from CVUSD’s, Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) – Greenprint for Success – Goal #1 which is to, “Enhance the culture and conditions that optimize learning for all students.” The K-6 Independent Home Study Program provides students a personalized and flexible home-based learning experience.
The Greenprint for Success plan for 2016-17 “outlines the district’s strategy for being a choice destination for education,” according to the site.
“The LACP includes three goals which were developed through engagement with more than 10,000 community stakeholders via surveys, community forums, focus groups and one-on-one meetings.
“Each goal addresses California state education priorities and has expected measurable outcomes that will positively impact and enrich the learning experiences of all students served by CVUSD.”
Lang Ranch Elementary principal Dena Sellers will facilitate the Home Study program from the school, starting with one teacher. CVUSD director of elementary education, Jeanne Valentine, will oversee Sellers, the Acorn reports.
“We are building this program to be very individualized; that may be a challenge,” Valentine told the news site. “Depending on how many kids you have, you’re going to have that many different educational programs.”
District officials also expanded a hybrid online-classroom high school program at Century Academy to include eighth-graders as another option for parents.
“Some people don’t necessary want to go to a traditional everyday site,” Century assistant principal Karla DiDomizio said. “That’s why we wanted to expand – so we can offer it to those students.”
Iezza said officials hopes the flexible learning options will draw more families to the district.
“It’s just one more opportunity we’re pushing out there, just to give our families as many options as possible,” he said.