Home/Programs of Choice, Secondary schools (6-12), weLearn1:1/At Lewis and Clark High School, students chart their own paths

At Lewis and Clark High School, students chart their own paths

In the spirit of the school’s namesakes, students at Lewis and Clark High School (now Vancouver Flex Academy at Lewis and Clark High School) are charting their own paths to success. Last fall, the school debuted a learning model that puts academic progress in their hands.

Unlike high schools where students attend classes in several different rooms each day, Lewis and Clark’s blended learning model combines online instruction, small group work and strong teacher support. Approximately 90 percent of the coursework is completed through a web-based platform called Edgenuity, and each student receives a take-home laptop. At the school, students work in flex areas, where they have assigned stations.

Schedules are flexible and change weekly. As in the professional world, students prioritize their own workloads. Said Principal Rob Duncan, “There’s definitely a different way in which you’re going about learning.”

Working this way has advantages. “Once you sit down and do the work, it becomes easy to stay caught up,” explained senior Raiann McCracken. “You can work faster if you want to. It just depends on what type of student you are.”

Added freshman Genie Miles, “It’s all your responsibility—keeping track of your classes, contacting teachers, going to breakout sessions and making sure you’re not too far behind. This will help me become more responsible and mature.”

The transition to blended learning has required changes for teachers, too. Said Science Teacher Jessie Garza. “I’m more of a facilitator.” He added that the model gives him more opportunities to work one-on-one with students.

Not everything has changed, however. Advanced Placement and Advancement Via Individual Determination still prepare students for the rigors of college. And at approximately 150 students, Lewis and Clark remains a small school.

But with blended learning, Lewis and Clark is leaving behind its history as an alternative school as students blaze their own trails. No doubt Meriwether and William would approve.

Learn more about Lewis and Clark High School
Check out the article on blending learning in District Administration.