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A group of Pivot Charter School high school students turn their tassels at a small graduation ceremony. / Photo courtesy of Tripepi Smith

By Bella Ross

Terms like “distance learning” and “blended learning” are not new at Pivot Charter Schools. They’ve been embracing the flexibility of independent learning environments for more than 10 years.

It’s one of the many reasons why, while traditional schools struggled to adapt during the pandemic, Pivot’s students actually experienced an increase in learning and overall completed credits.

Students who find themselves struggling in traditional school environments may find solace at Pivot, where learning plans are flexible and individualized to each child. With fewer students to tend to, teachers are able to establish closer relationships that grant them more insight into what works and what doesn’t on an individual level.

“With a traditional teaching job, you have a class full of thirty different kids, you get to see them for an hour then another 30 come in, and you’re getting through 180 students each day,” said Pivot Educational Coordinator Alex Ritz. “You don’t really get to know each one of them as well as I feel like I’ve gotten to know my students and what their individual learning patterns and skills are.”

For some students, the social stress of an in-person classroom is too distracting. Others may seek non-traditional learning through Pivot to make up for lost credits, accelerate their learning to graduate early or accommodate scheduling conflicts. There are also opportunities to use Pivot’s curriculum as a supplement to homeschooling.

Ritz said the key to success in this kind of learning environment is a self-starting mentality and a willingness to embrace open lines of communication.

That correspondence applies to both students and parents.

“If you want to do Pivot and go that route, you have to be great with communicating with the educational coordinator and kind of helping to keep your student accountable to going through their courses and schoolwork,” Ritz said.

Courses are almost entirely online, although Ritz said Pivot is working on offering more opportunities for in-person learning and socializing for those who are interested. Pivot resource centers offer a few in-person courses as well as opportunities to meet teachers face-to-face, or to attend a club meeting or field trip.

For more information about Pivot Charter School San Diego’s customized learning programs and how to enroll, visit PivotSanDiego.com.

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