Profiles of Next Gen Learning: Touchstone Education
Touchstone Education is committed to creating a school that fits with today’s world and prepares secondary students for a successful future by blending the best of face-to-face education with the benefits of modern learning technologies. Located in Newark, NJ, Merit Preparatory School is Touchstone Education’s first charter school. It opened its doors to 80 pioneering 6th grade students in 2012 and will grow one grade level per year to grade 12.
Touchstone Education recognizes that not everyone learns at the same pace. At Merit Prep, every student has a laptop computer on which their learning is personalized and differentiated based on their progression and understanding of core concepts. Learning through this online technology eliminates feelings of frustration or boredom amongst students who move through content a different pace than their peers.
With a goal of achieving full mastery and 1.5 years of growth by the time students finish their 6th grade year, students at Merit Prep are focused and ready to work hard in a variety of learning environments. In addition to individual work done online that is tailored to their learning levels, students also break into small teams to collaborate with, learn from and teach one another. Furthermore, small group instruction with a teacher allows students to focus on depth and detail beyond the scope of the online programs and gives teachers the opportunity to have the biggest impact with their students.
In addition to suiting students’ needs, online technology enables teachers to keep a pulse on each student’s progress thought instantly accessible data. This information helps teachers regroup students before every class and address issues precisely when they are happening. Similarly, dedicated intervention time each day explicitly targets students’ areas of needs. Today’s world is dictated by instant feedback and real-time information. Touchstone Education is closing the achievement gap by aligning education with the realities of our world and our future.
“I just love the environment. It’s fun, it’s cool, it’s more of a challenge than my old school. They talk about our future and that the best way to achieve our goals is to do right in school” – Shydae Blaine, Merit Prep student
Students like Shydae will continue to be pioneers and will become the thought leaders of our future. The blended learning model at Merit Prep along with a team of dedicated and inspiring teachers are reinventing education and setting these students up for success.
Want to learn more? Watch the next installment of our “Profiles of Next Generation Learning” video series to hear from Touchstone Education’s CEO, Ben Rayer, and the inspiring teachers and pioneering students of Merit Preparatory Charter School.
Editor’s Note: This blog post appeared first on Next Generation Learning Challenge blog on February 19, 2013. This video, produced by NGLC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is the next in a series called “Profiles of Next Generation Learning.” Follow NGLC on Vimeo to stay up to date with new videos.