Kenowa Hills Online Learning Academy
Jared Herron, the principal of Kenowa Hills Pathway High School and the director of online learning for all of Kenowa Hills Public Schools, began using Pulse last February, just before the coronavirus was declared a pandemic.
In Michigan, schools must provide state auditors with evidence of two-way communication between teachers and K-12 students who are participating in online or virtual academic learning. Before using Pulse, Herron said his teachers would monitor students’ progress manually by setting goals of course completion in a given week — tracking where students were at the beginning of the week and where they are at the end of the week and matching the week’s goal with the student’s goal percentage and document it.
Software systems used in the traditional learning experience are tailored and very specifically designed for the task at hand. A Learning Management System (LMS) delivers the course information and a curriculum to the students, and provides teachers with feedback on the student. A Student Information System (SIS) manages students in terms of names, demographics, grades, and attendance. Other software systems such as Excel, Word, Outlook, Evernote, Facebook, Google docs, provide ancillary solutions to these processes.
“That is what is being done in the Pulse software now,” he said. “Previously, we had to do that manually, and now it is doing it for us so we can share with students. It is color-coded to show how close they are to their goal or if they are behind their goal. The software program also allows us to sort some of those. So, if we really want to look at students who are really behind pace and are not meeting their goals for the week, we can sort the program to get those students to the top to know who we need to connect with right away.”
“We decided before the pandemic started to use Pulse in order to keep track of all the students’ communication and progress,” he said. “We use Pulse for our sixth-through-eighth grade students as part of our KHOLA (Kenowa Hills Online Learning Academy), and we have over 200 students enrolled in our virtual program, in which we track our two-way communication. We use Pulse with our 9-12 graders’ online learning. We have over 350 students and we are able to track our two-way communications and student progress as well.”