Supporting student's transition into the blended program at OLu
March 25, 2022 at 4:11 PM
OLu’s commitment to providing our students with a high-quality Christian education is backed by research and decades of experience in both in-person instruction and online education. Informed by our decades of teaching experience, we recognize potential challenges and gaps our students may face as they transition from a traditional in-person classroom setting to an online learning environment.
One area where some students face challenges can occur when transitioning from in-person learning to Blended learning. On one hand, the Blended learning program affords students the freedom and flexibility to complete their high school coursework on their own time, but on the other hand, students must also be disciplined in a number of vital areas, such as accountability, time management, computer literacy, self-advocacy, etc.
While all this can seem overwhelming at first, OLu has designated staff members and administrators who are experienced and equipped to provide proper support to students as they transition into a learning modality based on freedom and flexible hours.
"Our school has many more supports in place for our online learners compared to a lot of other full-time online schools or even other schools that offer a select few classes online,” says Steve Barillier, Director of College Counseling at OLu. “We've been at this long enough where we really know what our students need from a school counselor, from an OLO advisor, from teachers, etc. This helps put many parents’ minds at ease knowing that Orange Lutheran's going to support your family and your student through this transition and through online learning”.
Here are 3 ways OLu helps students transition from in-person instruction to our Blended learning program.
Ignite and Engage are student-to-student mentoring programs designed to help new students transition to becoming members of the Lancer family. These programs seek to connect new students with Christ, the OLu community, and other students.
Ignite and Engage mentors include both juniors and seniors who have been chosen to serve as role models that have the responsibility of demonstrating excellence in Christian character development, academic achievement, and extra-curricular involvement.
These mentors can be of great help to students who are new to the Blended learning experience at OLu. Mentors can provide guidance on how to plan out their online days, how to develop essential skills like self-discipline, and provide lived experience to help guide their peers.
At OLu, students taking part in our Blended learning program experience both in-class and online learning. Learn more about the academic performance of Blended learning students here.
Leading the state with one of the best student-to-counselor ratios, OLu’s passionate and trained counselors work with students to enhance the learning process and promote their career, academic, and social-emotional development, all while building skills and behaviors critical for academic achievement.
“It's about leveraging that extra layer of support and really having somebody that's an advocate for the student and family,” says Barillier.
“Counselors are a good connecting point for students to understand what other forms of support are available to them, being a form of support in and of itself, but then connecting our students to those other platforms as well.”
At OLu, our counselors are committed to giving every student the support they need to choose a college or university that best fits them academically, socially, and spiritually.
Though the nature of OLu’s online courses is asynchronous, meaning students do not have prescribed class time to complete their assignments, students in the Blended Learning program have multiple avenues in which they can seek out support. According to Bariliier, each student has a team of experienced staff eager to help.
“Students in Blended Learning have two sets of eyes, sometimes even three, from their online teacher, their OLO advisor, and a school counselor working to support those students in their on-campus coursework as well as their online coursework. In an online learning environment, it’s key to have this support, where in many other places, it's impersonal. To have those personal connecting points on campus is hugely beneficial to our students.”
3. Embracing the Lancer community
Students can connect with peers through clubs, pep rallies, dances, worship nights, and more, as many of these events are planned and executed by OLu’s students themselves.
At OLu, students can choose from various clubs from year to year, allowing more ways for them to connect with their peers at school. At the beginning of each semester, Club Rush allows students to start or join the clubs being offered for the current semester.
Community in Christ is at the center of all that we do at OLu and our vibrant campus culture. Our social culture is rooted in caring relationships, high standards of personalized excellence, and a warm, energetic atmosphere that creates a fun, safe, and nurturing environment. You can learn more about other student-led clubs and leadership opportunities here.
OLu also offers 25 athletic programs for boys and girls. As part of the nationally-recognized Trinity League, student-athletes compete at the country's highest levels of high school sports.
4. An experienced team of supporters
OLu’s designated team of advisors, counselors, and instructors understand the challenges that come with transitioning from in-person to the Blended learning program and have the experience and tools to guide and support students at every step of their journey.
“In order to be successful in the Blended learning environment, it’s so much more than just about academic support and just making sure they're doing well in their classes. Just being that bridge and connecting students, for example, a peer tutor or an off-campus tutor or helping them realize that ‘Hey, your OLO advisor is here to help you with your online classes as well.’ Putting all those pieces together for students is a big thing,” says Barillier.
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