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Blended Learning Initiative (BLI)
COVID-19 has caused many schools in Colorado to completely shift their instructional models from traditional in-person to remote learning instruction and other types of hybrid models. This shift has upended what schools thought of as “normal” instruction for a large number of students. Rather than going back to business as usual, it is an important moment to step back and reassess what we know, or thought we knew, about “what works” in terms of instruction, seat time/funding requirements and—fundamentally—achieving strong student outcomes. Such a reassessment requires courage, creativity, and intention to look hard at what we’ve learned, how students have been impacted, how education has evolved, and where we go from here. We believe this is an important collective conversation across schools, districts, and the state. As such, CDE started this collective conversation through what we are calling the Blended Learning Initiative (BLI).
Through the BLI, we would like to understand more about blended and online learning models that are currently being used by brick-and-mortar districts and charter schools. The Initiative includes districts and schools that are implementing learning models that fall outside of our updated guidance related to Blended Learning and Supplemental Online Courses. Those districts and schools are eligible for a two-year formal variance waiver to the guidance for years 2021-2022 and/or 2022-2023. In addition, the Blended Learning Initiative will also welcome representatives and stakeholders from the online school and program community in order to facilitate a robust policy and best practices conversation.
BLI Stakeholder Engagement for 2022-2023
In partnership with the School Finance and Operations Unit and Schools of Choice Unit, Keystone Policy Center is conducting additional stakeholder engagement outreach to teachers, other school staff, parents, guardians, and students to gather statewide feedback on blended and online learning in Colorado. The goal of these outreaches to gather understanding of different forms of instruction as well as insights into what works well, what are the challenges, and what are the opportunities in different forms of instructional delivery.
BLI Stakeholder Engagement Survey
- From August 2022 through the end of September 2022, the CDE Blended and Online Learning Summer 2022 Survey has launched for Colorado educators, parents/guardians, and students to complete: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z6QTYPG
BLI Stakeholder Engagement Focus Groups
- In October 2022, Keystone will facilitate listening sessions as informed in part by the survey results with Colorado educators, parents/guardians, and students to further gather perspectives from school stakeholders throughout the state.
Any questions about this BLI Stakeholder Engagement can be directed to Berrick Abramson (firstname.lastname@example.org) with Keystone.
BLI Convening Meetings for 2021-2022
In collaboration with CDE School Finance and Operations Unit, the Office of Online and Blended Learning within the CDE Schools of Choice Unit facilitated initial stakeholder engagement with education leaders and other Colorado education stakeholders. The meeting materials for these BLI Convenings including the agendas and presentations are below.
Convening 1: November 30, 2021
Convening 2: January 28, 2022
Convening 3: February 25, 2022
Convening 4: March 24, 2022
Blended Learning and Supplemental Online Course Variance Waiver
For the second year in a row, the Colorado Department of Education will be providing districts and schools the opportunity to request a variance waiver to the posted guidance regarding Blended Learning Courses and Supplemental Online Courses as outlined in the 2021 Student October Count Audit Resource Guide. These sections of the Guide will remain the same for the 2022-2023 school year within the 2022 Student October Count Audit Resource Guide.
Districts and schools should reference the Blended Learning and Supplemental Online Course Variance Waiver Process and training resources below regarding the formal variance waiver process that takes place from October through December:
Mallorie Klemm, Blended Learning Education Sr. Consultant