• 1. What is the Seton Blended Learning Network?

    The Seton Blended Learning Network is an innovative network of twelve urban Catholic schools in seven cities driven by results, smart collaboration, and character formation that serves over 3,000 students, 98% of whom are minorities and over two-thirds of whom qualify for the federal meals program. Seton provides partner schools with the know-how, training, and fundraising required to convert to blended learning. Our goal is to substantially improve the academic performance and reduce the operating costs of financially struggling urban Catholic schools.   

  • 2. What is blended learning?

    The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Education provides a good overview of blended learning. “Blended learning is not the same as technology-rich instruction. It goes beyond one-to-one computers and high-tech gadgets. Blended learning involves leveraging the Internet to afford each student a more personalized learning experience, including increased student control over the time, place, path, and/or pace of learning.” Blended learning combines a traditional, bricks-and-mortar educational experience with on-line learning. This video of our first blended learning school showcases Seton’s rotational blended learning model.

  • 3. Is Seton a for-profit company? How much does it charge for its services?

    No. Seton is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to revive opportunities for disadvantaged children to receive an academically excellent and character building education. Seton does not charge archdiocesan offices or individual Catholic schools to bring them into the Seton Blended Learning Network. 

  • 4. What types of schools does the Seton Blended Learning Network serve?

    The Seton Blended Learning Network partners with Catholic schools serving a large percentage of students who qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program and are seeking to serve more traditionally underserved students.

  • 5. What does Seton’s blended learning model look like?

    Seton works with each partner school to customize a model and roll out that meets the needs of each school’s staff and student population. Most often, we implement a classroom rotation model that uses a mixture of adaptive software and data-driven, small-group instruction. The software, procedures, training, and “culture” of the model differ by grade level (i.e. K-2, 3-5, 6-8).

  • 6. How does Seton support partner schools?

    Successful blended learning schools often have central teams dedicated to professional development, content selection/negotiation, technology infrastructure management, model/device consulting, and data analysis. These teams provide the research and guidance necessary to stay on top of a constantly changing field. Unfortunately, these teams are often only found in charter school networks or public school districts.

    Seton provides these services for urban Catholic schools that are often under-resourced and under-served. Each school gets a full-time, on-site manager to help them implement our model and manage first-line tech support, teacher PD/coaching, data analysis, and school culture best practices. Every member of Seton’s team is an experienced former inner-city teacher, and we have designed every aspect of this program from a teacher’s perspective. To learn more, watch this video about our Network.

  • 7. What is the role of Seton’s on-site Blended Learning Manager?

    The role of Seton’s Site Manager is to manage the blended learning launch by providing full-time, on-site support to you and your staff. Site Managers provide first line tech support, teacher professional development and coaching, data analysis, and consulting on school culture best practices. Their sole job is to make your school successful and your teachers feel supported and happy!

  • 8. Who are your Site Mangers and what qualities do you look for in them?

    Seton Site Managers come from a variety of backgrounds. Every member of our team is a former inner-city teacher who Seton has observed teaching and with whom Seton has discussed student data. While we do not limit ourselves to any particular program, the majority of our team members are graduates of Teach For America or the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Program.

    Prior experience with blended learning is not a prerequisite! We will train you to be a blended lead. With Site Managers, we select for skills, not specific content experience. Since Site Managers spend their time on coaching teachers on how to implement blended, use data, and create a positive achievement focused culture the most important things are knowing what good teaching looks like, comfort and skill with data, understanding the importance of school culture, being reflective, taking initiative in problem solving, and keeping high expectations for both students and teachers. We’ve found that if you possess those skills and mindsets, then you will be successful in implementing this model. As a result, we’ve hired education professionals from various specialties, roles, and grade levels to serve as Site Managers. 

     

  • 9. How does Seton roll out the program and how long does the on-site person stay at the partner school? What happens when the on-site manager leaves?

    It depends on the size of the school, its expansion goals, and success in fundraising. In schools that have a single class per grade level, Seton typically rolls out the program all at once and the manager typically stays for one year. In a larger school with two or more classes per grade level, or a growing school (i.e. schools that are expanding to serve more grades), Seton rolls out the program in segments over the course of two to three years. Every rollout is customized to the needs of the school.

    In both cases, Seton works with the school leadership to determine a transition plan that sets the school up for success once the on-site manager is scheduled to leave. We have had schools hire their on-site managers directly, free up the schedules of teacher-leaders to take over elements of the job, or divide the responsibilities across a variety of teacher-leaders while paying additional stipends. It all depends on the school’s unique situation.

  • 10. How does Seton support schools after their launch phase?

    Seton’s goal is to help each school get off the ground and make the program their own. However, the relationship doesn’t end there. Seton continues to provide each partner school with on-demand and step-by-step best practice professional development, content selection and negotiation services, device consulting, data analysis, and general troubleshooting. Each year, Seton hosts a gathering for all network principals at a different partner school in an effort to foster camaraderie and learning from one another.

  • 11. What types of student academic results have you seen?

    Incredible ones! Students at partner schools have consistently demonstrated student growth on par with or outpacing that of many high-performing charter networks. To learn more, please visit our results page!

  • 12. Does this program have an impact on enrollment?

    Yes! Schools have been able to leverage the combination of personalized learning, small group instruction, and academic results to drive significant enrollment increases. Figures differ by location, but Seton Blended Learning Network schools have collectively increased enrollment 30% from pre-Seton totals. As a result, schools average significant reductions in per-pupil operating costs. To learn more, please visit our results page!

  • 13. How does Seton’s Blended Learning model impact school culture?

    Blended learning is not a silver bullet, but rather a tool that can be used by a good leader and reflective teachers in a strong school culture to achieve above-average results. Blended learning can increase student/teacher interaction, enable targeted small group instruction, and provide an opportunity to celebrate good character (i.e. courage and grit). As a result, Seton works with each school’s leadership team to inject best practices from high performing, “no excuses” urban schools in order to help build a culture in which scholars develop the knowledge, skills, and character necessary to earn a college degree and pursue lives of value, faith, and integrity. 

  • 14. How can my school join the Seton Blended Learning Network?

    The process of becoming a Seton Blended Learning Partner School takes time as it involves lots of planning and fundraising. Each summer, Seton accepts applications for schools interested in beginning the process to launch as a Seton blended learning school during August of the following school year. However, we’re always interested in learning more about potential partner schools no matter what time of year it is! Sign up for our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss the application deadline and, introduce yourself to Network Director, Jeff Kerscher, at Jeff@SetonPartners.org.

  • 15. How does Seton decide to partner with a school?

    Seton's evaluation rubric takes into consideration school level leadership, potential to grow enrollment, Catholic identity, impact on the community, and our own value-add. The areas given the most weight are school leadership and potential for increased financial viability via enrollment increases. While the other elements are very important, we have found that in order to get the most benefits from our program a school needs strong leadership and the ability to add new seats for underserved children. 

    Seton defines strong leaders as those who are comfortable with data, focused on academic results, understand the importance of school culture, have a clear vision for the school’s future, and can lead a staff in achieving that vision.

    To have potential for increased viability, a school must have a delta between the number of students it is currently serving and what it could serve at full capacity. Depending on the physical space, blended learning allows you to fit roughly 30-32 students per classroom and give them a better academic experience due to the mixture of adaptive software and small group instruction. To learn more, visit the Join Our Network page. 

  • 16. Does Seton require partner schools to have a minimum number or percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch?

    The short answer is “no”. We look for schools that serve a large number of low-income children and want to find ways of serving more of them and serving them better. Classrooms must be able to hold roughly 30+ students, and schools must be able to serve over 250 students in total.

  • 17. I want to be a Site Manager. What happens after I launch the program at my site? Is it only a yearlong commitment?

    This is a hard question to answer as Seton’s support differs depending on each school’s situation. Typical on-site support can range from one to three years. In all cases, Seton works with leaders to determine a transition plan that meets the needs of the school. As a result, there will be a number of options for site managers after the blended learning launch year(s). For example, your school may offer you an administrative position or you may move on to another site depending on Seton’s growth within a particular city.

  • 18. Do you work with high schools?

    Unfortunately, we do not. Seton’s blended learning work is focused on building academically excellent and financially sustainable PK-8 Catholic schools.