Special needs learning and Edsby
By Wendy Cox Blair, MS, Executive Director, The Arbor School of Central Florida
My school, The Arbor School of Central Florida, is a varied exceptionalities school, which means we have kids that have varied learning abilities and challenges. We’re not only providing academics to our students, but also the therapy support they need to succeed. Our students are successful because they have a team of teachers and therapists collaborating daily to help them learn, a team of supportive parents at home, and classroom technology that encourages independence. When all these aspects are combined, you see an active school community that rallies around the success and progress of our students.
Here are a few ways the Edsby® learning and analytics platform for K-12 helps us build and maintain an active school community:
Helps teachers collaborate
For our teachers, Edsby helps streamline classroom management and also enables our staff to openly and easily collaborate and communicate. From teachers, administrators, therapists and more, the Arbor School lives by the idea that there’s a whole team that supports every individual student that walks through our doors. Keeping all these staff members in the loop on what is happening with individual students can be a challenge, but with Edsby we’re able to maintain and update student profiles in one place.
Furthermore, Edsby is effective when teachers are collaborating across subjects or classrooms and keeping current with each of their student’s needs. For many of our teachers, the LMS is making a difference in their classroom every day. Many of them are communicating with parents and students online if there are questions, and we have other teachers that are trying to learn as much about the platform as possible so they can serve as a resource to other staff members as new groups or classes are set up.
Encourages student independence
We hear a lot about digital citizenship and what it means to help students learn, communicate and collaborate safely and responsibly online. I believe that if our students are to become good citizens, they need the tools and resources analogous to the real and social environments they are in every day. At its core, education is about helping our students learn how to navigate their world, and the technology they use should provide more than just a space for them to download homework and check grades – but also give them a space to ask questions, collaborate and manage what they need to do independently.
Prior to implementing Edsby, our students weren’t online checking grades, assignments or communicating with teachers. Today, the number of students wanting access to our online community has increased significantly and students are encouraged to be independent with their lessons and classroom materials. They’re learning valuable skills for when they go off to college or another pathway.
Keeps parents in the know
Technology used in and out of the classroom helps build parent relationships and keeps parents active in their child’s education. Edsby gives parents immediate access to their student’s grades and academic progress all on one platform, as well as the ability to connect with teachers and administrators should they have any concerns or questions.
The community-building potential of platforms like Edsby makes them a valuable asset to schools large and small. By giving teachers and students the chance to connect both in school and at home, Edsby is helping build a bridge between in-school activities and at-home learning.
Wendy Cox Blair is a dual certified teacher who has taught students of all ages and abilities for 30+ years in Pennsylvania, Alaska, Washington, and Florida. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Human Services with a specialty in Counseling Children and Adolescents. She has been with Arbor School since 2005, first as Lead Teacher and then as Director in 2010. Arbor School uses Twine, a pairing of Edsby and an open source student information system expressly for private schools, from Aptiris.