A reader sent us a video of Carpe Diem Schools, a public charter school in Arizona. It is apparently a leading edge school using the blended learning model, replete with computer cubicles for the hundreds of students. It goes heavy duty on student assessments as well with camera systems in the computers and spreadsheets of student performance. And they claim their performance bears out the strength of the model. Here is their slick YouTube video:
From Carpe Diem’s web site, it appears they have 4 locations in Arizona at present. Expect them to expand both in Arizona and elsewhere. They could kick off a real craze in charter schools that look and feel like corporate office parks. They also offer online campuses for students in Arizona.
It makes sense for students to study in an atmosphere more like the workplace they will be encountering down the road in life. Meanwhile, we hope they still have P.E. class so the students don’t end up with Dilbert bodies and carpal tunnel syndrome too early.
We notice from the school’s web site that it sounds like Carpe Diem does not really have a traditional gym for P.E. class or sports program:
This one-semester high school course combines comprehensive online instruction with student participation in fitness activities. Throughout the course, students assess individual fitness levels according to the five components of physical fitness: cardiovascular health, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Through the application of personal fitness assessments, students will design a fitness program to meet their individual fitness goals. Upon completion of the course, students will have the knowledge to stay fit and active throughout their lifetime. Areas to be explored include: safe exercising and injury prevention; cardiovascular health; muscular strength and endurance; flexibility; nutrition and weight management; lifetime fitness; consumer product evaluation; biomechanical principles; team and individual sports; and stress management.
Tom Vander Ark at the blog Getting Smart wrote a piece about how the school functions:
With Innosights’s Rise of Blended Learning report, Carpe Diem looks like an over night success, but it’s been a decade in the making. Seven years ago, Ogsted was running a traditional secondary school, but budget, academic, and facilities concerns caused him to flip to a blended model. Four years of trial and error resulted in the current model. Carpe Diem boosts the state’s best math results and an impressive 93% cohort graduation rate.
Carpe Diem is an innovative design that leverages computer-based instruction. Ogsten is clearly a leader in the exploding blended learning space. His new iSchool 2020—a statewide virtual school with a cool drop-in campus in Scottsdale—continues to push back the boundaries of school design. But Carpe Diem is a very well run school with a powerful performance-based culture. It is this mixture of leadership and management—innovation and execution—that really sets this school apart.