Carpe Diem Schools is a public school system in Arizona serving students both online and in person. Carpe Diem Collegiate High School and Middle School was founded in 2002 and began implementing its blended learning model in the 2005-2006 school year. Today, the High School serves approximately 160 students, both online and in person. With an on-time graduation rate of 96% in 2011, and approximately 90% of students school-wide scoring proficient in core subjects, students at Carpe Diem are outperforming their peers in the state, who average a four-year graduation rate of 78%, and a core proficiency rate of about 70%.
As part of the school system’s blended learning model, students participate in both computer and in-class learning. Online courses are offered for core subjects, such as English and math, as well as electives. Students participate in group workshops in person, and are able to take advantage of one-on-one time with teachers to address areas they may struggle with. Students are also able to monitor their progress online, tracking whether they are on target, behind, or ahead, for each subject area.
The school has a no homework policy. All computer learning is done in school, during normal schools hours. Students spend more than half the day with their online coursework, and there are teacher “coaches” who are there to support students while learning online. Online learning is completed in the Learning Center, a room at the heart of the school where students are each assigned one of the 300 computer cubicles.
In 2009 the school was named “Best Improved,” by Bloomberg Businessweek’s “America’s Best High Schools” list, and honored as a “Bronze Medal School” in U.S. News & World Report’s “2010 Best High Schools.” Most recently, the school was chosen to serve as a case study subject by Education Nation as an example of a school that has implemented focused and innovative solutions.
Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.