Pioneers in Catholic education: A Case Study
After launching the first robust blended-learning Catholic school in the country in 2011, Seton spent a decade growing the program to thirteen schools, improving academic results and enrollment, while at the same time decreasing operating costs.
Our belief that every child deserves an opportunity to achieve academic excellence led us to share our tested, ready-to-use resources for free in a continued effort to share our insights and partner for success.
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Blended Learning Program Background
There are two big and seemingly unrelated trends in education. The first is hundreds of urban Catholic schools disappearing and leaving fewer good educational options for traditionally underserved children. The second is that technology—cheaper computer hardware and personalized software—is starting to change the way students learn. Rather than simply let these two unconnected trends continue independently, we can harness one to reverse the other. Urban Catholic schools have a long tradition of providing personalized attention to the poor, and now technology can be used to both build on that tradition and help these schools thrive.
For this approach to work, the use of technology needs to be robust. To be worth doing, it must also be done in the classically Catholic way that prioritizes relationships and character development just as much as academic achievement. Seton launched its signature Catholic Blended Learning Network to make this connection happen—to show what is possible by helping Catholic schools transform into cutting-edge learning centers that help students build knowledge, good character, and faith in an economically sustainable way. That’s why Seton was the most sought-after blended learning partner for Catholic schools in the country.
The Catholic Blended Learning Network, piloted in 2011, leveraged technology, creative problem-solving, and nationwide collaboration to substantially improve the academic performance of students and reduce operating costs at urban Catholic schools. The network grew from a start-up pilot to a thirteen school, nine city network (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Chicago, and New Orleans) that served more than 3,000 students, more than 90 percent of whom are minority and more than two-thirds of whom live below the poverty line. During this time, network schools posted academic growth results on the NWEA MAP test that match or surpass the nation’s most acclaimed urban schools, while simultaneously driving a collective 20 percent increase in enrollment, which is remarkable in a context of decline. Our model also made the sudden transition to remote learning in 2020 easier on teachers and families alike to keep learning disruptions to a minimum. Seton’s unique blended learning program has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Forbes, The Philadelphia Enquirer, Education Next, and The Cincinnati Enquirer.