THE KING’S WAY CLASSICAL ACADEMY
RESOURCE ACCELERATOR MODEL
By Dennis Oliver Woods, Headmaster
King’s Way Classical Academy
ABSTRACT: The Resource Accelerator Model presents a high-tech solution for local schools struggling with staffing issues. As school administrators know all too well, local resources are often strained to support educational objectives. The problem typically presents as the need to support gifted students, add a grade level, service homeschoolers, or supply an instructor for a specialized subject. The Resource Accelerator Model is a team teaching approach in which online Presenters partner with local Proctors to achieve dramatic efficiencies in delivery of education. The model is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of modalities, including cottage school, learning center, or homeschool co-op in addition to the traditional institutional school.
Many private K-12 Christian schools are experiencing increased competition and economic pressure as they seek to carry out their calling of providing an academically rigorous and Biblically sound education. This includes ensuring graduates have a well developed Christian worldview and are thoroughly equipped for every good work as is fitting for a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. King’s Way Classical Academy shares this calling, and believes it can improve almost any school’s competitive position, expand its academic offerings, and improve its financial performance. Following are some potential scenarios for affiliation with King’s Way that have the potential to help both schools fulfill their mutual callings.
A. Adding Electives and a Classical Honors Program
Often some school students, particularly seniors, desire more elective class choices than are currently offered. Some of these students may have sufficient credits to graduate, but cannot graduate early due to residency requirements or other school policies. By affiliating with King’s Way, a school could add electives and a Classical Honors Program to the current curriculum to meet the need of these advanced students. These students could elect to take any of the core classes of this new Classical Honors Program or complete the entire program and graduate with a Certificate in Classical Studies in addition to their regular school diploma. Students completing this Classical Honors Program would be better prepared for college and attract the attention of admissions officials.
Adding a Classical Honors Program to the present curriculum would be financially advantageous to the school because of King’s Way’s economical delivery model. Because King’s Way’s courses are internet based, the courses can be tailored to fit when and where desired to accommodate more students per class. Unusual efficiency is obtained by going against the grain of the prevailing, “keep the class size small,” mindset. The irony of the King’s Way model is that it does a better job of addressing individual student needs because the student-teacher ratio is, “One-to-One at the Point of Need.”
Most of the testing and grading functions are online as well, thus eliminating additional time consuming administrative duties normally associated with teaching a course. The school may have already made a sizable investment in technology with computer labs and multiple computers available for online instruction. Affiliating with King’s Way would allow the school to leverage this investment more fully and effectively. In addition to the benefits of academic breadth and economy, the school can also attract additional students by affiliating with King’s Way Classical Academy.
Tapping Into the Homeschool Market: Think Cafeteria
It is well known that the homeschooling market is huge and growing larger all the time. More and more families, Christian and otherwise, are removing their children from the government school system, but not all of them can afford the tuition of a full time private Christian School. King’s Way has been able to tap into that market and we believe that a local school can as well by adopting more of a cafeteria model of course offerings in conjunction with King’s Way.
Not all of King’s Way Classical Academy’s students take all of our courses. Many pick and choose what they need to enhance what they are already doing at home. Some of our homeschoolers take our courses and also receive instruction from a state approved “Umbrella School” in their local area. This works especially well for courses that require a higher level of knowledge or training than a particular homeschooling parent may have. Homeschoolers involved with an Umbrella School, Learning Center, or Homeschool Co-op often meet once or twice a week on a local “campus” for mutual interaction, academic instruction, and encouragement.
This system works well for subjects like art, music and P.E. that require group interaction, but it also works very well for subjects like science, rhetoric and languages like Latin or Greek. A school with an already well-established reputation in the Christian community, is uniquely equipped to step into the role of an Umbrella School to the local homeschooling community. By doing so, as a King’s Way affiliate, the School has an opportunity to earn a commission on every class sold using the school’s unique referral number. This “school within a school” approach would get homeschoolers in the door and provide an additional source of tuition revenue at the same time. Some homeschoolers might also be attracted to full-time participation in the Classical Honors Program during their junior or senior years. Additional leverage could be achieved from existing computer facilities if the online portion of homeschooler instruction could be scheduled for the late afternoon or evening hours.
Taking this model a step further, the school, as a King’s Way affiliate, could offer King’s Way courses to other Association members through an affiliate web portal and earn tuition commissions on each paid course. If, for example, the Classical Honors Program was promoted and successfully sold to other member schools, the resulting revenue could be considerable for the sponsor school.
Another possibility for the school regarding the cafeteria model is to offer some of their own current courses on a class-by-class basis to local area homeschoolers in addition to King’s Way courses. These classes could be offered at times and at prorated tuition rates that are not in conflict with current students paying full-time tuition. These classes could be on campus or converted to King’s Way online courses for distance learners or a combination of both. This would be beneficial not only to local area homeschooling families, but also missionaries, military service families or any other family looking for a long distance learning ministry that is Christian based. The opportunities are “virtually” worldwide.
Implementation and Planning
For the school to take advantage of these opportunities and launch a successful affiliation with King’s Way Classical Academy would require basically two things: the adoption of our online delivery technologies coupled with an innovative team teaching model that creatively resolves most, if not all, the concerns normally associated with long distance learning. This is not a novel approach to capturing more of the educational market; it has proven to be quite successful. Many colleges and universities throughout the world are adopting a similar approach to serve more students and remain competitive.
B. Team Teaching: Make the Student/Teacher Ratio One-to-One at the Point of Need
On-line Group Presenter
The team teaching approach to any course involves a division of labor between an on-line instructor and a local teaching partner. It would be the responsibility of the King’s Way on-line presenter to instruct a group of students in the traditional lecture and discussion format in accordance with the School’s learning objectives. It is possible that as many as 40 students could be included in such a class utilizing 20 learning stations of two students per station. This is a very efficient and effective way to utilize the technology. For a variety of reasons it is likely in any such group presentation that some students may not understand all the material presented. For example, they may not have been fully prepared or may not have a high aptitude for the subject or maybe they simply weren’t paying proper attention at a critical moment in the presentation.
On-site Individual Problem-Solver
Following the formal presentation in a subsequent study hall, the local instructor takes over with the primary objective of bringing these students up to speed with some extra instruction. The local teacher “roams” the “Great Hall” (or study hall) to answer individual questions and conducts impromptu “breakout” sessions (potentially 5-10 minutes long) as he or she discerns any common patterns of misunderstanding. The local teacher could simply announce, “Anyone having problems understanding “x”, come with me for a moment,” and then meet in another room next door or behind a partition with these students for further instruction. With the assistance of a local on-site Teacher’s Aide, such a study hall could include 40 or more students; even though these students may not all be at the same level of understanding in the subject being taught at the time. For example, several sections of Algebra I and Algebra II might comprise a single study hall.
One-to-One at the Point of Need
Thus, the greatest potential for cost savings is the team teaching approach in which the “low overhead” King’s Way presenter provides the group presentation aspect online and the local proctor/teacher fills in with individualized remedial instruction in the context of a larger study hall setting. Unusual efficiency is obtained by going against the grain of the prevailing “small class size” mind-set and results in potentially doubling the typical class size without diminishing the quality of instruction. The irony is that this more efficient model also does a better job of addressing individual student needs because the student-teacher ratio is “One-to-One at the Point of Need.”
We believe introducing educational elements of the classical approach like, Latin, Greek logic, rhetoric, a senior practicum and the Great Books, or better still a classical honors program, may greatly enhance the value of a School’s offerings in the eyes of many prospective student families, particularly homeschoolers. The “click & mortar” umbrella school model provides an excellent opportunity for a school to serve local homeschooling families and distance learners. This model also opens up another profit center. This umbrella program could also function as a “feeder” program for the school as some home schooled students may ultimately transition to full-time, status at the school when mom and dad get overloaded with the more advanced subjects that neither are comfortable teaching. We believe that many schools have much to gain by affiliating with King’s Way to meet these needs. To summarize, the main benefits of affiliating with King’s Way are:
1 – Lower individual class tuition costs to help make the school more profitable.
2 – Potential salary increases to help improve morale and teacher retention.
3 – A team teaching model that provides more individualized instruction where needed.
4 – The addition of Classical courses and methodology to expand marketing appeal.
5 – A Classical model of instruction that prepares students to become lifetime learners.
6 – An additional “Click & Mortar” profit center of homeschool, international and missionary students.
7 – A team teaching model that would provide more individualized instruction in and draw more students from outside the present student body.
8 – Additional courses to augment a school’s dedication to the Biblical worldview.
Implementation of this program will naturally require some adjustments in staff and resource allocation. To implement the affiliate program with King’s Way, and realize these potential benefits, we recommend that a school consider the following:
1 – A beefed-up marketing campaign designed to attract additional students from the local home schooling and distance learning markets that includes King’s Way offerings.
2 – A director (possibly part-time present staff) to market and administer the “click & mortar” homeschool umbrella program.
3 – Joint school planning to determine which courses to include in the pilot program
4 – Sufficient computers and computer “lab” facilities to implement the program.
5 – An IT specialist to maintain the technology on a part time basis. The ideal candidate might be one who could also perform the duties of 2) above, making it a full time position.
In conclusion, a prudent first step would be to commit to a pilot program and then decide on which classes to include in that program. Some questions to consider in that selection are: Which courses would be of greatest interest to the homeschooling community? Are there any courses not currently offered that you believe should be offered to make the school more competitive? Are there any courses not currently being offered that you would like to offer as electives? Which courses would benefit most from individualized instruction? Are there now any courses for which you feel understaffed? Which course, or combination of similar courses, is large enough to create a study hall of about 40 students? Which courses need assistance integrating the biblical worldview?
Answering questions like these will help establish the greatest areas of need that could best be met by affiliation with King’s Way Classical Academy. We are convinced that such an affiliation will help almost any school better serve their students and make the school more profitable at the same time.