Schools in Utah are facing a problem. Students don’t want to return after the COVID years.
This is important to schools because the vast majority of public and charter schools receive funding based upon the number of students who show up each day.
So, what if we funded schools differently?
Currently, the State Board of Education allows for two different funding models for school. The traditional seat time model and the learner-validated attendance model.
Learner-validated attendance allows the schools to individualize the education of the children. This model provides flexibility to the family and student to complete assignments on their own time. Regular communication and understanding of the topic are key points in this model.
Learner-validated attendance uses things like online learning, in-person learning, or blended learning, which is a combination of the two.
Schools that are using this model effectively do not worry about attendance. Their funding isn’t based upon a child coming to school, but instead on the child progressing and regular communication.
Canyon Grove Academy in Pleasant Grove uses this model. This charter school has students who physically attend the school anywhere from two to five days a week. The school has put together learning modules that parents can easily grab and use at home.
The school then focuses on experiential learning while the students are there. The school is surrounded by garden spaces. They have an on-campus farm with a variety of animals. There is a space center where students learn teamwork and problem solving as they work through space missions together.
This model of schooling puts parents in control of their child’s learning. The school is there to support the parents and be a resource for them.
By the way, Canyon Grove Academy doesn’t struggle with absenteeism.
Families learned that school can be adapted to their needs during the pandemic. So, schools could try to return to their normal operations, provide learning the same way they have always done, and hope students return. But the same old model of school will keep getting the same results. Or we can move to a model that doesn’t focus on seat time, but individualized education.