ELYRIA — Starting with the 2014-15 school year, the small, private First Baptist Christian School on LaGrange Road will add technology to its middle and high school programs.
“This will take the best of both worlds — technology and instructor-based teaching — and combine them in a way that works for students,” said Barbi Quick, director of marketing and fundraising.
“This is a big change for us, but we believe the right one to make.”
Quick said the school, with an enrollment of 94 students, needs to change.
“We were at a point where if we didn’t do something, we wouldn’t be here next year,” she said. “If we lose students, it works. If we add 100 students, it works.”
But the change, called blended learning, does not come without consequences. Students will spend more time with tablets and computers, and as a result the school will need fewer teachers.
Quick said next year, the cuts will include the equivalent of four full-time positions.
Students will continue to attend school each day on a traditional schedule and have a curriculum that includes five core subjects and 50 electives. But the emphasis will be on self-motivated learning that moves beyond accessing a few websites, Quick said.
Quick said when done right, blended learning does a better job of preparing students for life after high school.
“This is 100 percent about preparing students for college,” she said. “In our talks with college professionals, especially those at Lorain County Community College, there was a lot of discussion about students’ inability to self-guide and keep themselves on task.”
The blended-learning model also will help First Baptist partner with families that home-school their children, Quick said. Those students will able to use part of the program in their homes and seek the help of teachers in the school as needed.
A Homeschool Education Assistance Program is being formed to facilitate the process.