What is the School of Opportunity?

DRIVEN is a school within a school, where learning is personalized and flexible regarding time, path, pace and place. Given the availability of 1:1 devices and the acquisition of online curriculum, students have more opportunity to master core knowledge and skills because lessons and units of study are accessible 24/7.

Why now?
Current Arkansas legislation affords school districts the opportunity to innovate and personalize teaching and learning in ways never before experienced. Waivers for certain requirements allow our schools to maximize 1:1 devices, acquire online curricula, restructure classes and retool systems to best meet the needs of students. PCSSD is using this opportunity to be a leader in this new direction in education.

Why are we doing it this way?
Because we believe the blended-learning flex model – using a digital curriculum, along with face-to-face interaction with teachers and mentors – is an effective pedagogical approach that allows us a unique way to meet the needs of students.

What will be expected of the students who participate in the School of Opportunity?
Students must be committed to learning and be self-disciplined. In the SOO model, students are allowed to accelerate through coursework or spend additional time in the most challenging instructional material. Participants are given more agency/control over their learning, which requires them to expend the necessary time and energy to ensure their success.

Can you give more details on the blended-learning flex model?
The blended-learning flex model incorporates highly qualified teachers and digital curricula to deliver a personalized learning environment for each student. Blended courses involve an extensive course redesign in which online time replaces some classroom time. Many different formats and schedules are possible. Most importantly, this methodology represents a shift in instructional strategy.

What about elective courses?
Elective classes, such as Band, Vocal Music, Advanced Placement, Business/Marketing courses, etc., will be available in a traditional format with the same seat time requirements as in previous years (60 hours per each ½ unit).

What will my schedule look like?
Daily attendance includes being on the campus where teachers are available for individual and small group instruction as needed. Students’ "at school time" during blended classes is spent working individually, working in groups with other students and working with a teacher (one-on-one or in groups).

Does taking blended classes in the DRIVEN program have a negative impact on participation in athletics or involvement in other activities, clubs or organizations?
No. You will still be able to participate in extracurricular activities while taking blended classes.

How will I be better prepared for the workforce by participating in the School of Opportunity?
DRIVEN students are required to develop a digital portfolio that will culminate in a senior capstone presentation to a panel of business partners, higher education leaders and faculty members. Evidence in the portfolio will include high school courses taken, internships, projects, research, job shadowing, etc. The ultimate goal of the capstone is to build the marketability of each student for gainful employment in Arkansas and beyond.

What if DRIVEN does not work for my student?
Mentors meet weekly with students to ensure they are on target with weekly goals, courses and credits. If a mentor has concerns about a student’s pacing or performance, he/she will meet with the student, the parent and the building administrator. Lack of progress during the first nine weeks results in the student being placed on a watch list, which will result in more frequent meetings. Failure to acquire the expected 3.5 credits by the end of the semester will result in the student being transitioned to a regular schedule. Upon advisement from teacher-mentors and counselors, students are permitted to move back into the non-blended, regular schedule at the end of each school year.

What if my student wants to take AP classes?
All students may apply for SOO blended classes; however AP courses are not offered in a blended format. Blended courses do not carry weighted credit.

Who is a good candidate for DRIVEN?
The School of Opportunity is an exceptional opportunity for students who thrive in a blended learning environment. Students in this environment have to be willing to assume ownership and control of their education. They must be willing to work with teacher-mentors and demonstrate the self-discipline needed to take full advantage of the flexibility offered to them.