Ivy Academy: Blended Learning in Downingtown Area School District
In 2015, Downingtown Area School District (DASD), a suburban school district near Philadelphia, entered its second year implementing Ivy Academy, a blended learning program in its two traditional high schools. Superintendent Larry Mussoline, having for several years worked to incorporate technology into student learning hoped that Ivy Academy would deepen student learning, provide more rigorous courses, introduce more scheduling flexibility, and change the culture among teachers in his district. In Ivy Academy, classes meet two out of every six days in-person, and students are expected to work asynchronously online during the other days. In the first year, 341 students (out of 3,800 eligible) and 19 teachers (out of 240 eligible) participated in Ivy Academy; in the second year, the program grew. However, final exam results for students participating in the Ivy Academy are mixed, and certain staff and parents remain skeptical of its effectiveness. This case explores whether DASD is ready to scale Ivy Academy and make it the primary way in which students learn.