Advanced math classes are notoriously hard to staff. They require a teacher to have deep content knowledge, the skills to convey complex topics in digestible ways, and the ability to engage learners in the subject.
Alpha Public Schools is a public charter school network of four schools educating nearly 2,000 scholars in East San José, California. Like other Bay Area schools, Alpha was already experiencing a STEM teacher shortage that was only compounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now more than three-quarters of U.S. states are experiencing a teacher shortage. As a network that serves 97% Latino and Asian students and 79% of students on free or reduced price lunch, Alpha Public Schools remained committed to finding innovative solutions that would allow their students to continue receiving a top-quality education despite their staffing limitations while navigating California's complex credentialing requirements and charter guidelines.
Alpha’s leadership enlisted support from Coursemojo in the form of a co-teaching model where Coursemojo’s expert online instructors are paired with in-person Learning Coaches at the charter schools to share responsibilities in facilitating learning and student achievement. Alpha’s Learning Coaches and Coursemojo’s Online Instructors collaborate through joint professional development and frequent planning touchpoints that require looking at student data, reviewing lesson plans together, providing student feedback, and planning hybrid activities for students. Through this partnership, Alpha Public Schools was able to offer six periods of Geometry and five periods of Physics with attendance, grades and activities all logged in the Canvas platform.
As an Alpha PD participant noted, “One of the reasons I'm so excited about this partnership is access. We're not going to let this staffing shortage stop us from giving our kids what they need.”
Alpha Public Schools is set to continue offering A-G approved STEM courses in collaboration with Coursemojo in the coming school year. This co-created model has allowed them to maximize their budget, staff, and space without compromising on providing students with a world-class education.