Cincinnati Offers Blended Bootcamps for AP Students

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In preparation for the expansion of its blended, partially online AP programs, Cincinnati Public Schools will be launching two week-long boot camps to prepare students tougher coursework.

Last year, the blended AP courses were put into practice so that students whose schools had limited or no access to AP courses due to low demand could still participate. The school district provides mobile technology, a digital curriculum, and a high-speed internet connection for the students to use outside of classroom time, which is only a few days a week. The program proved to be popular and drove the planned expansion.

A news release said:

CPS will expand the program for the 2015-16 school year to five AP courses — including Human Geography, Psychology, English Literature, Statistics, and Environmental Science — for approximately 520 students taught by six teachers at 10 schools.

Bringing technology into the classroom in this manner allows the district to teach more students with fewer instructors, as much of the coursework can be done online and collaboratively with peers.

The boot camps will be held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and the University of Cincinnati. The 160 attending students will live in the dorms for the week alongside freshmen attending orientation. Students will be provided with a laptop and a matching case, and a filtered mobile hotspot from Kajeet SmartSpot, writes Joshua Bolkan of THE Journal. Kajeet is a service provider dedicated entirely to providing safe wireless connectivity to students.

Jeff Hirsch of Local 12 quoted CPS curriculum manager Cindy Sanders about the importance of the initiative:

Many of these students actually had never heard of advanced placement, never knew what it meant. So some of our principals identified kids who have these skills but they’ve never been given the opportunity to show these skills.

Aside from an introduction to the coursework, students will look into a day of college classes and practice both technological skills with Google Apps and Blackboard and life skills such as self-advocacy, collaboration, time management, and writing. According to eSchoolNews, teachers will show students who are used to the traditional classroom environment how to engage with online materials.

Laura Mitchell, deputy superintendent and chief academic officer, said:

At Cincinnati Public Schools, we encourage our students to think beyond graduation, and take steps toward identifying and transitioning into meaningful careers. We wanted to expand our AP offerings, so that more students have the opportunity to earn college credits early and experience more of the rigor they will face in post-secondary studies.

Kajeet already works with 70 districts in 24 states and provides filtered, safe internet connectivity to disadvantaged students.