Course Catalog Expansion

May 2023Ā  |Ā  By Rob Birdsell
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Last summer I was talking to a friend and he asked me what was the best Catholic high school in America. As I reflected, I asked him why did he want to know? His answer was fascinating. He said his daughter had blown through the local diocesan schoolā€™s curriculum by the end of freshman year and given the new ability for he and his wife to work from home, they were going to relocate their family of six to whatever city they felt had the best Catholic high school in the country.

When I explained that his local high school could offer a number of high-end math courses including APĀ® Calculus AB and BC, APĀ® Computer Science A, or APĀ® Statistics. He said if the school would add a few of those courses they would stay.

Unfortunately, the school did not add the courses and instead kept their traditional curriculum. And as you might have guessed my friend moved his family to a new city and a Catholic high school that had a far more robust math program.

Unfortunately, this is not the first or only time I have heard this concern. Catholic schools responded heroically during the pandemic and for the first time in more than two decades we have seen enrollment growth across the country and many schools we work with are at capacity and with waitlists!

However, in order for this trend to continue Catholic schools need to not only embrace ā€œschool choiceā€ but parentsā€™ and studentsā€™ similar desire for ā€œcourse choiceā€. This is a new movement by schools to expand their course offerings and attract and retain a wider range of students than a traditional course catalog can do because its inherent limitations. In addition, given the teacher shortage facing this country, many schools simply canā€™t find a teacher for certain courses. By using platforms like Catholic Virtual, schools can now offer higher level math, Mandarin, Coding or Cybersecurity even if only a couple students are interested.

For example, I met a student at a Catholic high school in New Jersey who wanted to apply to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). However, in order to apply the student needed to have taken Calculus and her school did not offer the course. But she was able to take it online. During her scheduled math course, she simply went to the multi-media room and worked on the asynchronous course. A remote teacher supported and facilitated her learning by monitoring her pacing, grading assignments and responding to emails and chats online. Not only did this student do well in the course, but she got into RIT and received a full academic scholarship.

It is this innovative and student-centered vision that is needed at this time for Catholic schools to embrace this moment. As we continue to come out of this pandemic, students and parents have taken more ownership of their education and families are demanding more choice in their courses.

You can learn more about the course choice movement in our podcast with Jeb Bush (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-1-jeb-bush/id1591280216?i=1000584983835) who has been a proponent of online learning and course choice for over ten years.

Rob Birdsell, President of Catholic Virtual

Last summer I was talking to a friend and he asked me what was the best Catholic high school in America. As I reflected, I asked him why did he want to know? His answer was fascinating. He said his daughter had blown through the local diocesan schoolā€™s curriculum by the end of freshman year and given the new ability for he and his wife to work from home, they were going to relocate their family of six to whatever city they felt had the best Catholic high school in the country.

When I explained that his local high school could offer a number of high-end math courses including APĀ® Calculus AB and BC, APĀ® Computer Science A, or APĀ® Statistics. He said if the school would add a few of those courses they would stay.

Unfortunately, the school did not add the courses and instead kept their traditional curriculum. And as you might have guessed my friend moved his family to a new city and a Catholic high school that had a far more robust math program.

Unfortunately, this is not the first or only time I have heard this concern. Catholic schools responded heroically during the pandemic and for the first time in more than two decades we have seen enrollment growth across the country and many schools we work with are at capacity and with waitlists!

However, in order for this trend to continue Catholic schools need to not only embrace ā€œschool choiceā€ but parentsā€™ and studentsā€™ similar desire for ā€œcourse choiceā€. This is a new movement by schools to expand their course offerings and attract and retain a wider range of students than a traditional course catalog can do because its inherent limitations. In addition, given the teacher shortage facing this country, many schools simply canā€™t find a teacher for certain courses. By using platforms like Catholic Virtual, schools can now offer higher level math, Mandarin, Coding or Cybersecurity even if only a couple students are interested.

For example, I met a student at a Catholic high school in New Jersey who wanted to apply to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). However, in order to apply the student needed to have taken Calculus and her school did not offer the course. But she was able to take it online. During her scheduled math course, she simply went to the multi-media room and worked on the asynchronous course. A remote teacher supported and facilitated her learning by monitoring her pacing, grading assignments and responding to emails and chats online. Not only did this student do well in the course, but she got into RIT and received a full academic scholarship.

It is this innovative and student-centered vision that is needed at this time for Catholic schools to embrace this moment. As we continue to come out of this pandemic, students and parents have taken more ownership of their education and families are demanding more choice in their courses.

You can learn more about the course choice movement in our podcast with Jeb Bush (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-1-jeb-bush/id1591280216?i=1000584983835) who has been a proponent of online learning and course choice for over ten years.

Rob Birdsell, President of Catholic Virtual

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    Let Us Help You

    We can help you find the right online learning solution for your school or family. Complete this form and we will contact you right away.

    Or, Contact Us by Phone

    U.S.: 1-772-783-1178
    Int'l: 1-772-293-9657

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      Fill out the form below:

      We promise to keep your information private. Providing your phone number indicates you are giving consent to representatives from Catholic Virtual to contact you via phone and/or text.

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