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Wednesday June 17, 2015 10:10 AM
Westerville City Schools was one of six programs nationwide to receive the prestigious 2015 Apex Learning Award of Excellence this spring.
The Apex Learning Award of Excellence recognizes innovative schools and districts across the country for excellence in implementing blended and virtual learning programs that result in higher student achievement.
Apex Learning representative David Norris praised the district for its programs.
“Dr. (Scott) Ebbrecht and the entire staff at the Academic Enrichment Center, where the Educational Options for Success program is located, are to be commended for being a leader in utilizing digital content to enhance student engagement, academic achievement, and graduation rates,” he said.
Ebbrecht is the Westerville district’s director of alternative education services and assessment.
Norris described Westerville as a role model district in terms of incorporating digital learning into the curriculum offered at the Academic Enrichment Center, 336 S. Otterbein Ave.
The building, formerly the school district’s administrative offices, has housed the Educational Options for Success program since 2011.
EOS itself was launched in 2000-2001 as a program to help highly at-risk students complete their high school coursework and earn diplomas. Until the administrative offices were moved to Eastwind Drive in 2011, the program operated out of modular classroom trailers at Westerville North High School.
“EOS is truly a model program and, for this reason, I continue to refer other school districts to Westerville to learn from one of the best programs in the United States,” Norris said.
The district will be honored at a regional Blended Learning Conference during the 2015-16 school year.
“The goal of this award is to highlight successful programs to serve as models for the education community,” said Cheryl Vedoe, the CEO of Apex Learning.
In Westerville summer school classes this year, a blended model that incorporates Apex curriculum will be utilized for students looking to recover class credits.
The EOS program serves students who have become, for many different reasons, disenfranchised from the traditional high school experience.
The Enrichment Center also acts as a district “hub” that coordinates and provides program options for all 15,000 students in the Westerville City School District and for those outside the district.
At the AEC, the primary objective for each student is to facilitate successful school completion and develop skills to be successful within the school and community environments they will face when they leave the program.
Hundreds of students have benefited over the 14 years of the EOS program’s existence, with the vast majority of students earning a high school diploma, and forming an established plan for what comes next in terms of college or a career, Norris said in announcing the Apex award.
This year’s Award of Excellence winners also include Boston Public Schools, Burbank Unified School District, Cabot Public Schools 4, Lincoln Public Schools, and Sycamore Community Schools.