Primavera Online High School Improves State Letter Grade
Arizona’s largest high school shows noticeable academic improvements for the 2018-2019 school year
CHANDLER, AZ – The latest Alternative School Letter Grades have been released by the Arizona State Board for Education and show notable academic gains for the state’s largest high school. Primavera was awarded a “B” for the 2018-2019 school year, improving upon their most recent rating of a “C” in 2014.
When asked what led to the improved outcomes, Primavera superintendent, Tamara Becker pointed to the school’s renewed focus on synchronous instruction and student engagement. “Our teachers needed to spend more time actually teaching students,” said Becker. “But much of their time is spent simply trying to reach students and parents to keep schoolwork on track. We needed to find a way to free up more time for instruction.”
Demand being the catalyst for innovation, Primavera piloted a new engagement platform from their digital solutions partner StrongMind. Essentially a text messaging service, Loud*Mouth differentiates itself by automating communications to reach students and parents with personalized updates on academic progress and attendance. “Primavera teachers used to spend a lot of time contacting families about student progress,” said Becker. “By automating and delivering messages straight to their phones, we have been able to engage parents in their child’s education while also eliminating a lot of non-instructional work for our teachers.” Currently, 98% of parents have opted-in to receive Loud*Mouth messages about their students’ progress.
Superintendent Becker also credits student improvement to the school’s constant implementation of updated and refined courseware. Over the past three academic years, StrongMind has applied insights from the user engagement, assessment data, and curriculum research, to constantly evolve and improve the learning experience for students and teachers. StrongMind Vice President of Curriculum Innovation, Yovhane Metcalfe explained that “by analyzing and pinpointing where students struggle with the material, our instructional designers can enhance the content to improve comprehension.” Primavera’s flexible course schedule, with classes starting every six weeks, has been ideal for refining content through a process StrongMind calls texturization. “We look at what’s working and what isn’t,” said Metcalfe. “Through texturizing the courses, we have gone so far as to even look at the number of words we were using to explain a concept. Were we using 500 words when 300 do the trick? Our goal was to remove the obstacles to learning.” Since texturizing, Primavera has seen significant improvements, particularly in the middle school Algebra, which has long been a challenge for students both in Arizona and nationally.
“As educators, we cannot be afraid to try new things because nothing changes if nothing changes,” says Superintendent Becker. “Primavera wanted to see better student achievement and we are very fortunate to innovate alongside StrongMind to find a solution and we are very excited to see this reflected in the Board’s assessment of Primavera.”
Primavera Online High School is a tuition-free, public charter school providing Arizona students in grades 6-12 a rigorous, award-winning curriculum, a flexible schedule and personalized attention from highly qualified instructors. Primavera is AdvancED accredited and NCAA approved. Since opening its doors to a handful of students in 2001, Primavera has become the largest high school in Arizona serving more than 26,000 students each school year.
StrongMind is a digital courseware provider dedicated to fostering student success and igniting the desire to learn. A recent recipient of the Emmy® and EdTech awards, and a previous winner of more than 60 awards, StrongMind’s provides the best digital learning experience possible.