Innovative high schools, like Academy High, offer unique and engaging approaches to teaching and evaluating traditional subjects. Students are taking modules, both at school and online, that offer flexibility for students to explore their interests and passions. Academy High is pleased to be the only high school in the state of Illinois to be a part of Hybrid Learning Consortium. According to its website, the Hybrid Learning Consortium (HLC):
…brings together independent schools, teachers and students from around the world to provide innovative, in-depth online and blended learning. HLC creates a globalized learning community through online courses taught by faculty at our partner schools. To create a seamless campus complement, HLC supports schools with implementation, course development and successful student learning.
I recently asked Colette, a freshman at Academy High, about her experiences with Hybrid Learning Consortium:
AH: What were your initial thoughts about taking an HLC class?
Colette: I was excited to try it. I had never taken an online class before, and it gave me a sense of independence and responsibility. I know I will be taking more classes like this in high school and college, so it really helped to try one as a freshman.
AH: I understand your first HLC class was on Globalization. What was your favorite aspect of the class?
Colette: I enjoyed the variety of opinions expressed during discussions with students from across the country, from Hawaii to Florida. It was cool to interact with students of different ages. The class addressed many aspects of globalization, including economic, ecological, and cultural issues. Our instructor, Mr. Mullis (Barstow School, Kansas City) was very lively and made the class interesting and engaging. The classes were highly interactive.
AH: What HLC elective did you choose to take this quarter? Why did you choose it?
Colette: I am taking a screenwriting class (taught by Lesley Tye, Interlochen Arts Academy, Michigan). I really enjoy photography and creative writing, so film is an interesting way to blend those two. My favorite genre is science fiction- I like writing about hypothetical questions that open your mind to the world and what it could be. While we are learning about different cinematic methods and techniques, much of the class is more like studying literature. We are learning about how to create voice threads and write visually.
AH: What is it like to have classmates from other schools?
Colette: Being a part of HLC has exposed me to students from other parts of the country and world on a weekly basis. It’s interesting to see what other students are like across the country, and to learn their perspectives. HLC broadens your horizons and makes the school seem much bigger. In my screenwriting class, I really enjoy our writing workshop, where we submit our writings to peers. I like getting to know them through their feedback.
AH: How do you envision HLC playing a role in your pursuing your passions at Academy High?
Colette: With hybrid learning, there are many classes available to Academy High students that other schools might not offer- globalization, ASL, robotics, and languages. You can learn multiple languages at once if you have the desire. I have a friend who is taking an AP Psychology class as a freshman. Since Academy High is new, you might not realize there are such options.
Our thanks to Colette for speaking with us about Hybrid Learning Consortium. Founding Head of School, Dr. Darren Pascavage, commented, “Colette is the perfect example of how hybrid learning allows students to pursue their passion and enthusiasm for a subject with the support of the school. We are able to do this in an innovative way that other schools might not be able to provide.”