Developing our logical reasoning and analytical thinking from math and science is vital to our everyday lives, and for students in the Blended+ program, it’s never been more hands-on, innovative, and engaging. Mark Schuegraf, who teaches Grades 9-10 and Katherine Lawrence, who teaches Grades 11-12, are the two new science and math teachers to the Blended+ program, though they are both Calgary Academy veterans.
Welcome, Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Schuegraf
While Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Schuegraf have over 30 years of combined experience teaching at CA, they were intrigued by how Blended+ was giving a school with over 40 years in the community, a fresh spin. They both wanted to be part of Blended+ after seeing how well students integrated into the program in its inaugural year.
“I wanted to be involved in Blended+ because of the flexibility of the instructional design and the whole idea of meeting the student’s needs no matter where they prefer to learn. Students who need to be learning in the classroom every day can do so, and if not, they can also learn at home.” – Ms. Lawrence
The Evolution of Education
One of the biggest disrupters to education was the emergency shift to online learning over three years ago. Mr. Schuegraf was pleasantly surprised he had students thriving online because they were given autonomy outside of their learning. During the day, students could compete in sports and other extracurriculars–which are important to shaping young minds–leading to even greater learning outcomes.
“The biggest reason I wanted to teach in Blended+ is that education changing in the future. For a lot of students, the traditional school experience of sitting at a desk all day is not the ideal way to meet their learning needs. I also like the approach of doing things differently, including more experiential learning, hands-on activities, and shorter chunks of direct instruction. Blended+ allows students more time to get into the flow of learning, which really appealed to me.” – Mr. Schuegraf
A Variety of Learners, a Variety of Ways to Learn
Both Ms. Lawrence and Mr. Schuegraf point out that there is no single type of learner who has benefitted the most from the program. The dynamic nature of the program has been crucial for a wide variety of students, including athletes, those who prefer working at home, and those who don’t want every day to look the same, as it is in a traditional classroom setting.
“Some of the students who originally preferred learning at home have started to come to the school on a more regular basis when we introduced teambuilding activities on the days we are all in. It’s neat to see that growth.” – Mr. Schuegraf
Next up, all the Blended+ students in Grades 9-12 will be taking a field trip to Montreal in May. This off-campus experiential component of the program hopes to bring a real-world spin lens to the different units over the year. Studies aside, it will also aim to give students an opportunity to build friendships with one another – one of the core principles of the program.
“The way I envision the future of Blended+ is that I think we can change the way education works. I have plans to do parts of certain units next year in a fully experiential learning setting, without traditional assignments but with hands-on learning to teach students in a deeper way in a much more engaging and interesting way, which wouldn’t be possible otherwise.” – Mr. Schuegraf
To learn more about Blended+ for Grades 9-12, join an upcoming Admissions tour running until June. RSVP here.