Higher Education

A high school in an underserved community uses blended learning to prepare its students for success


For 30 years, students in the Franklinton community in Columbus, Ohio — an underserved community facing grave socioeconomic challenges — were bused all over the city to attend school.

So in August 2013, Franklinton Preparatory Academy (FPA), a public charter high school, opened its doors to give students a school they could call their own. According to Marty Griffith, the principal and founder of the school, FPA’s mission is to prepare Franklinton youth to succeed after they graduate and “become valued, contributing leaders.”

To fulfill its mission, FPA created a blended learning environment, with the goal of providing personalized learning for every student. The school uses GradPoint®, a set of online courses and services now part of the Pearson Connexus™ suite of offerings, to help it carry out its mission.

At FPA, blended learning takes two main forms. The majority of students are enrolled in the school’s brick-and-mortar program, where they attend classes full-time in the school building. The curriculum consists of teacher-discovered resources along with materials from GradPoint.

For instance, “the American History teacher can pull up lessons or specific units or specific examples from the GradPoint course work and use that as an integrated part of the face-to-face instruction,” explained Anne Hyland, FPA’s teacher leader, who works with the faculty to improve teaching and learning.

In the school’s hybrid model, students use the online courses to complete their high school credits off campus. They meet with teachers every two weeks in the school building, or teachers visit them in their homes to touch base.

In between the brick-and-mortar and hybrid models of online and blended learning, there are “as many permutations as you can imagine,” Griffith said. For example, one period a day, students might use the online solution independently in school to take a psychology or a sports management course, while the rest of their classes are teacher facilitated.

GradPoint allows you to hone instruction to a very individualized level, partly because it’s so wonderfully deep.

Marty Griffith, Principal and Founder, FPA

FPA is pleased with its success so far. Now in its fourth year, the school has seen enrollment triple from 47 to 150 students. It will reach capacity when enrollment increases to 200.

Six students, who enrolled as juniors in FPA’s first year, graduated in 2015. All of the students now have jobs.

Of the 20 students who graduated from FPA in 2016, 2 are attending a four-year college and 7 are enrolled in a community college. One student enlisted in the military. Other graduates are working in restaurants or have sales positions, and 2 are shift managers in retail establishments.

Reflecting on FPA’s impact so far, Griffith said, “We have come into a really challenged community. There are a lot of challenged families, a lot of challenged youth. We are giving young people a very tangible, physical place right in their own community where they can be appreciated, cared for, and educated. They are able to use the school as a touchpoint to go back out into the community and begin applying positive life lessons for success.”

“We provide opportunities for young people to be successful, and we give them hope,” he added. “If we weren’t doing that, then we wouldn’t have any reason to be here.”

To learn more about how FPA uses blended learning to prepare its students to succeed, read the full success story.