- Located in Wisconsin
- Built a dual-credit program
- Created opportunities via distance learning
"With the help of Schoology, a device and a college willing to allow access is all students need to achieve their goals."
Case Study: Creating Statewide Dual Certification Programs using Schoology
How CESA 3 used edtech to bring districts and higher ed institutions together and prepare students for graduation
When Jamie Nutter started as the Executive Director for CESA 3, he decided his first project would be increasing dual credit opportunities for the students in Wisconsin. He began by launching the 2020/20 dual program initiative. The idea: 20 students will graduate high school with a diploma in one hand, a post-secondary credential in the other (technical diploma or associate’s degree).
He then started pitching this initiative to districts, but there were major barriers he knew he had to overcome:
- The majority of the schools in the region are impoverished, causing them to struggle with adding new programs
- Most districts didn't have a coordinator with a background in how dual programs are important or how to organize them
- Wisconsin as a region is very spread out, making it tough to connect Higher Ed institutions to create dual credits programs
He knew a full-fledged learning management system (LMS) could help hurdle each of these barriers by allowing everyone in the state to share resources, communicate problems, and collaborate on solutions in real time.
Jamie understood that getting individual districts to purchase an LMS would be a tough sell. As a district administrator for almost 25 years, he knew right away there would be a number of hurdles. First, most schools don’t have curriculum directors or instructional technologists to facilitate an LMS implementation. This means that there was no single person responsible for getting buy-in from major stakeholders for new technology. This made it tough since the program only worked if all districts were on the same technology. And second, whenever schools or districts do get funding for new technology, it usually goes to hardware before it goes to adopting software. He knew the best thing to do was separate those problems for the districts and address them individually.
Since standardization was a central tenet of this solution, he asked all the local Higher Ed institutions which technology they were using. Southwest Technical College had been using Schoology across its campus for a few years, which made Schoology the best choice for building a dual credit program.
When he polled districts about Schoology, they had all heard of Schoology as they all had groups of teachers using the free version within their schools. They loved how Schoology was their technology hub, allowing them to keep all their quizzes, readings, and projects in a single place. It also allowed them to embed their favorite apps such as Nearpod and BrainPOP, offering them to students in a managed, controlled environment.
Once Schoology was chosen as the preferred LMS , Jamie needed to figure out how to make it affordable for all districts. He worked with Schoology’s Account Executive team to get a group discount for all members of CESA 3. By purchasing licenses as a group, he was able to dramatically reduce the cost.
Once Jamie had the LMS in place, he had a complete dual program solution. Almost all schools already had hardware budgeted for the year and allowing them to access Schoology as part of CESA 3 meant that they were already set up for dual programs:
- Now students in Wisconsin can take courses across districts. For example, students who don’t have the option to take AP History at their district can take it remotely (via the web) since a school district 40 miles away has AP History.
- Students are able to take courses at multiple Higher Ed institutions, allowing them to graduate with dual degrees and be better prepared for the working world and college.
Districts are also taking advantage of Schoology outside of the dual credit programs. Schoology is helping share resources and information across districts, enabling a more cohesive state collaboration. A great example is the Professional Development book club that is open to every teacher in CESA 3. They are able to pick topics that are relevant, such as student choice, and have interactive discussions on Schoology.