Published on April 14, 2022
A Parent’s Perspective
“It’s no exaggeration to say it’s been a game changer for Oliver and completely transformed our family life. No more evenings filled with frustration, tears and angry outbursts over homework.”
— Delona H.
“Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about Rundle Studio,” says Delona H. Her son, Oliver, is a grade 8 student at Rundle Studio.
Oliver is thirteen years old and has dysgraphia and dyscalculia as well as low processing speed. He was diagnosed with these mild learning differences in Grade 6 just weeks before the pandemic started.
Oliver attended a charter school in Calgary before making the move to Rundle Studio last fall. After realizing Oliver was doing much better while online learning during the pandemic, he was open to the idea of a virtual school. His parents attended an information session, found out more about the proven teaching-learning model from Rundle Academy and decided to give it a try. They say they couldn’t be more thrilled with the experience so far.
For their family, Rundle Studio has been one of the silver linings from the last two years. They discovered what teachers and researchers are now finding out—that about 25 percent of students actually do better online.
Here’s a list of things Oliver’s family loves most about the Studio:
IPPs don’t just sit on a shelf
Despite best efforts and good intentions, Oliver’s parents can see now that his previous school just didn’t have the resources to provide a truly personalized learning plan for Oliver. “An IPP isn’t something that can sit on a shelf and collect dust if it’s really going to make a difference,” says Oliver’s mom. “At the Studio, the plan is reviewed with Oliver to get his input and create buy-in. We also review it with his teachers several times throughout the school year to see what’s working and make adjustments.” The bottom line? Oliver’s IPP is a dynamic, living document with practical steps for implementation.
Oliver isn’t invisible
Oliver is a well-behaved quiet student. Before moving to the Studio, his parents were starting to wonder if Oliver was just sitting there in some of his classes. But virtual school creates space for the quiet students through tools like the chat feature— every student gets a chance to answer every question in math class (without the other students knowing whether or not they got the answer right or wrong). Using the chat makes it easy for students with social anxiety to participate worry-free alongside their peers. Teachers can get a sense in real-time how each student is doing and provide extra help immediately until students ‘get it.’ There’s no waiting weeks for a quiz or test to find out there’s a problem learning a concept.
“Using the chat has made a big difference to Oliver,” says Oliver’s mom. “His participation in class has gone from almost zero at his previous school, where he was worried about making a mistake and being embarrassed, to very high—all because of being able to “chat” instead of putting up his hand. And because he’s not concerned about being put on the spot by the teacher, he can really focus on the lesson”.
Each student is seen and heard at the Studio. They feel like they really matter. This was not Oliver’s experience of school in the past.
There’s time for accommodations
“At the Studio, time is provided each day for checking agendas and homework, building fluency in key learning areas and other accommodations. The stress isn’t on Oliver to do it all on his own, with everything piling up at the end of the day. He has homework and studying, but it’s clear what he needs to do.” If he runs into any problems, his Teacher Advisor is there to talk through it the next morning and address the problem right away.
Real-time grades, no waiting months for report cards
Oliver’s family also appreciates the communication they have with the school: “We love getting grades right away. We often know the next day (and sometimes the same day) how Oliver did on a test or quiz. Rather than waiting weeks or months to find out that there’s a problem or concern, this allows us to celebrate successes and work together as a team with his teachers if there’s a problem. The bottom line? No surprises on report cards. We know exactly how Oliver is doing.”
“And you know what? Receiving more feedback, more often, has shown Oliver that his work matters. He’s working harder and learning more than ever before and yet he’s happier. That’s the magic of the Studio for us.”
We get to be parents again
“With Oliver’s learning journey in the hands of the professional teaching team at Rundle Studio, we get to be just parents again. We can cheer him on and celebrate his successes, rather than try to be tutors and therapists. There’s more time for fun and laughter now that we have a solid plan in place for junior high and beyond. For the first time, Oliver is seeing results from his hard work and is experiencing success at school. It’s been heartwarming to see his confidence grow, and he’s really starting to believe in himself.”
— Delona H.