Looking to the Next Wave of Learning Innovation, and Doing It "My Way"

How many education programs do you know that make Frank Sinatra songs pop into your head? At least that’s what some of the big people I know tell me. (H/T Ed News Colorado) Well, the Colorado Springs Gazette‘s Carol McGraw today featured such an online program from the Widefield School District that is tailored to families looking for options:

D3 My Way, unlike some programs, allows students to take nine-week blocks, so not as many courses have to be taken at once.

It’s been a boon for military families, athletes in training, older students who must work, children with medical issues, those needing a personal learning environment, and others who find the flexible schedules and studying at their pace ideal.

D3 My Way is one of several dozen Colorado K-12 programs featured in a December 2011 issue paper from my Education Policy Center friends, titled Choosing a Colorado Online School for Your Child. While some of the information from this fast-changing field may be already outdated, a lot of the advice for parents remains sound.

Highlighting the story also gives me another opportunity to bring readers’ attention to a nearly neighboring district, Falcon 49, and their proposal to create a digital BOCES. Rather than tossing the baby out with the bathwater, because some virtual learning programs have faltered, District 49 leaders seek to establish “a new and higher standard for effective online education.” Hats off to their constructive, outside-the-box approach.

Curious how it might work and help improve learning outcomes for more students with diverse needs? Listen to Ben DeGrow’s radio interview yesterday with Falcon board member Chris Wright. Bold innovation, not for its own sake, but to improve education’s bottom line.

For the Chairman of the Board (not the school board) then, here’s to a K-12 education system where regrets are “too few to mention.” Thank you, Widefield, for the moment of inspiration. Onward and upward….