Below is an example of what an RFT summer program includes at a college location such as the University of California at San Diego (UCSD).
The days are long and there is no what is referred to as "down time" built into the schedule. Students and their adult chaperons are expected to participate in each activity, and the intensity of each day is such that we have limited the program to just one week. The adult chaperons cannot generally keep up after 7 days.
This same schedule and type of activities can be created on any college campus as desired by RFT staff. Contact us to schedule a summer program for your students.
Part of the reason we chose this Extralearning Online (ELO) is that our online academic program director, Patrick (Rick) Newell helped create an alternative high school in Aurora, Colorado using ELO as the source for academics. Originally it had been used for adult education in Aurora Public Schools, and was so successful, it was expanded into the alternative high school. David L. Hartenbach High School targeted the students who had dropped out of regular high schools, and Rick was an administrator in that school. It became the first school in Aurora Public Schools (APS) to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as defined in “No Child Left Behind”.
RFT's use of ELO was approved by the state boards of education in 17 states including CA, TX, NY, MD, VA, KS, AK, CO, LA, IL, GA, FL, OK, VT, MT, AR, and PA to use ELO for K-12 tutoring in Math, Reading, and English Language Arts. More than 400 students participated in these tutoring programs achieving an average grade level gain of 2 years in Math and between 1 and 2 years in Reading in less than 40 hours in the ELO program. These gains were measured using the criterion referenced tests within the program as well as the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), a norm referenced test, given pre and post program.
As waivers removing the stipulations of NCLB were granted to states by the U.S. Department of Education, RFT opted out of these programs. Since 2011 RFT has impacted several hundred additional students through grant sponsored programs including GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) in partnerships with both the University of Kansas and Wichita State University.
The US Department of Education recently published a report on civil rights data from surveys on nearly all 95,000 public schools for the years 2013-2014. The findings indicate:
Extralearning Online is delivered through the web and provides advanced math and science curricula as part of its college preparation courses. Through ELO the 52% of all high schools or 67% of those high schools with a primarily Black or Hispanic student population can receive one on one instruction currently missing. The courses can be customized by RFT staff to align with a local syllabus and the outcomes are "evidence based".
By combining the "carrot" or positive motivation of a summer college immersion with measurable academic achievement, a school can utilize both ELO and RFT summer experiences to improve both Attitude and therefore Attendance in middle and high school students. The first 2 A's of the RFT Mission Statement are measurable and address this nationally recognized issue.
Customization to Local Syllabus and Operational Experience
RFT is able to adapt ELO content to align with the local school syllabus so the program becomes a complement to the local classroom instruction. This customization makes the program specific to the requirements of each district or school.
We have quite a bit of experience with low income, diverse student groups in both rural and urban areas. RFT staff train local teachers how to use the program in an initial 6-8 hour training session, and it is these teachers who directly interact with the students. RFT staff monitors and tracks progress daily for the following 3 months after training. We understand that it is impossible for a teacher to completely absorb the nuances of web based instruction in 6-8 hours and integrate ELO into their instructional program. Thus each day the students use the program, we send written feedback to each instructor on their previous session.
Teachers who follow this feedback and correct their mistakes quickly find these detailed daily reports reduced to comments like "great job". Our goal is to make the teacher comfortable and competent in the shortest amount of time. The RFT staff is available by phone and email during each ELO session, so we expect a close relationship between RFT and the local teacher/instructor.
ELO is highly effective to bring students who are deficient up to grade level in a short time frame. Teachers create Student Learning Plans (SLPs) by initially assessing students using the criterion referenced tests embedded in ELO. This establishes a grade level proficiency for a subject. A second assessment identifies the gaps in learning, so the teacher can assign lessons to fill these gaps so students do not become bored going over what they already know.
The ELO instruction is 1-1 100% of the time and enables the teacher to effectively work with a classroom of 15-20 students. Those students who need additional attention can receive it, while those students at grade level or above can proceed at their own pace and not be held back as the teacher spends time with those who are behind.
Students receive the same quality and level of instruction using ELO regardless of the teacher, but the teacher is in control of this instruction and evaluating the needs of each student.
According to a research paper written by Dr. Jack Trammell, professor of Sociology at Randolph Macon College in Virginia and the former assessment expert for the State of Virginia GEAR UP program, for every hour the students use ELO, they gain 2% proficiency in Math and 2.5% in Reading- see 'Extralearning Online - An Aggregate Analysis' here.
Some RFT partners like GEAR UP use ELO for credit recovery, especially for high school students where grade level gains for a specific subject are irrelevant. The average gains for students using ELO for credit recovery are 1 semester for each 20 hours in the program or 2 semesters (1 academic year) for every 40 hours.
This data was further validated by one specific GEAR UP program which used ELO from the summer 2015 through summer 2016 for Credit Recovery targeting high school aged students who had not received a passing grade. Under Credit Recovery RFT is able to customize ELO courses to align with local requirements by subject and grade level, and in this case the courses included English 9, English 10, Biology, Algebra Geometry II, Algebra Geometry III, Chemistry, Physical Science, World History, American History, Introduction to College Algebra, English 11 and Economics.
For the students who received a credit during this period:
As RFT programs expanded, and included the use of ELO, outside researchers began to take notice of the results. Independent researchers such as Dr. Jack Trammell and others have examined the data generated by RFT programs and ELO usage and the aggregate results indicate very consistent success in helping students increase achievement. A draft version of a recent article written by Dr. Trammell can be viewed here- see 'Extralearning Online - An Aggregate Analysis' here.
The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) conducts annual summer staff development conferences under their High Schools That Work (HSTW) initiatives. Dr. Jack Trammell was invited to present his research at a session of the HSTW program on 15 July 2016 in Louisville, KY. His goal was to showcase the outcomes achieved by multiple school and CBO sites that used ELO from an evidence based perspective. His analysis can be reviewed in greater detail in the link above.
Immediate Academic Assistance
ELO is also a tool for teachers/instructors to utilize for struggling students who for some reason are not grasping concepts in a subject. Because the program uses 4 different learning styles in its lessons as well as assesses student progress at the end of each lesson, unit, and course, a teacher can supplement their ongoing instruction with ELO with the confidence that the student will become measurably proficient in the subject.
Special Needs Students
RFT used ELO extensively from 2005-2012 in school and after school settings as the core program for No Child Left Behind. Many of these students eligible for after school tutoring were special needs students who had IEP and 504 plans. RFT creates individual learning plans for each student it serves based on initial testing and placement. Thus meeting the requirements of an IEP or 504 plan is what our staff can support.
The outcomes of our work with special needs in most cases show proficiency improvements above that achieved solely due to classroom work. Refer to our data in Dr. Trammell's report- see 'Extralearning Online - An Aggregate Analysis' here.
Not Just for Schools
ELO has shown to be an excellent module to any (CBO) that wishes to add an academic component to their program offerings. Since many grants require a measurable academic outcome for a CBO to competitively apply for funds, ELO enables any CBO to apply for foundation, federal, state, and private funding.
ELO is an effective tool for a CBO's staff who may not be certified teachers. The program provides the actual academic instruction not the instructor.
RFT staff works with the local community leadership, building on your existing talents, resources, and activities benefiting local kids to make your community better. At the heart, our goal is not to replace your local youth program, but to compliment your existing activities with the additional strength of the supporting elements that we offer.
The program is sold by subscription for a period of time, nominally 12 months, but shorter time frames of 1-3 months for summer enrichment/credit recovery/remediation are available. Once a student completes their assigned lessons and demonstrates proficiency, other students can use the time remaining for that same subscription at no additional cost.
To help students:
The Reach for Tomorrow strategy employed is based on the observation that the pre- and early high school years are critical years in a young person's life that frequently determine their academic future and life opportunities, but that all too often students who may have been enthusiastic, above average performers in school up to this point lose their interest in school, resulting in poor academic performance which never recovers.
RFT aims to intervene during these critical years to help a student maintain his or her enthusiasm for and momentum towards academic and personal excellence, first by giving the student a first hand look at the interesting and enjoyable opportunities that good grades in high school can open up for them, and then by helping them reach these goals throughout their high school years and into the college or academy application process.
RFT summer programming is not a recruiting tool for the military or any particular career field or college. It is a strategy to expose young people to what is possible in their futures, as we seek to actively immerse students in a wide scope of possibilities. We do use military resources when possible which provides hands-on training as well as expose young people to those who serve our nation.