NexTech Leads the Pack with its Blended Virtual/In-Person Learning Model
The virtual school experience exploded with the pandemic, but for NexTech High School, it was just like any other day.
For a decade this innovative school in Grand Rapids has been offering students blended learning so they glean all the benefits of both in-person and virtual education.
Combine that with their personalized learning models and intentional relationship building, and you’ve got the recipe for the most unique high school experience in the area.
“We are a small school, focused on relationships with students and families,” says Principal Dan McMinn.
“We offer traditional onsite learning, but also provide fully virtual as well,” he adds, which means that your student doesn’t have to live in Grand Rapids to benefit from this innovative experience.
“We are a statewide virtual program,” says McMinn. “We have kids from across the state in Birmingham that are in our program and are fully virtual. And we have others that are here (onsite) all the time.”
But no matter where you attend from, you are known at NexTech.
“Every kid that walks on our campus will be known by everybody. That’s a big part of understanding and supporting,” says McMinn.
Families are Choosing NexTech for the Highly Curated Education Plans for Each Student
NexTech’s passion is to meet students where they are at, and find each kid their own unique path to success.
For some students, that may mean college. For others, it’s trade school or another career focus.
“The number one thing for our program is personalization,” shares McMinn. “We work to individualize the program to each student, preparing them for their next step.”
“We love trying to figure out what (a student) is looking for, and understanding what makes that kid tick.”
McMinn has seen students take the accelerated path and finish high school in three years. Other students come in from other schools where they struggled and might be behind in credits.
“Ultimately, they all have a good goal, and we meet them where they are at,” says McMinn.
Each student’s path may look very different from the peer sitting next to them in class, but the goal is the same – find that kid’s magic and tap into it. Show them how they can chase down their dreams.
“Where we really thrive is finding that connection for that student to push for their passion.”
NexTech Shows Kids all the Possibilities That are Out There
Because of their small size, staff are able to assess their students individually and show them what kind of opportunities there are for their interests and skills.
“We like to give them that first exposure to things that are the future of different industries,” says McMinn.
NexTech brings in guest speakers to show students what a real world application of their interests looks like.
After a digital artist came in, staff started scheming how they can help students pursue that, if there was interest. Students were floored when the Humane Society came in and shared that there are 75 different kids of jobs associated with that industry.
“It’s eye opening experiences (like this) that help students to branch out to what they can do,”
Core classes are the same for all students, but beyond that, the sky is the limit. NexTech is dedicated to helping students explore, and is there with staff and financial support.
“We have a student that has done coding with us and wants to take it one step further” by learning a new coding language, explains McMinn. That student identified a good curriculum and NexTech made it happen.
“We found a teacher that will run it, built it into our modules, and paid for those courses.”
McMinn adds that this could include outside interests, too.
Your kid might be interested in dance or eSports. NexTech is always open to seeing how they can support that. They just started an eSports program this year because students asked for it.
NexTech Breaks Down Financial Barriers – Including Free College Tuition
If the barrier is financial, NexTech can help.
“Kids should never want in our program,” says McMinn. “We provide them with all the tools they ever need.”
NexTech provides all students with a laptop that they can keep. Forever.
They have laser printers and a 3-D printer, and an array of tech toys that many kids haven’t been exposed to yet.
And if your kid is college bound, it could be free. NexTech is the only virtual school that is part of Grand Rapids Promise Zone, which offers free tuition to Grand Rapids Community College.
NexTech is a free charter public school, so there’s also no tuition.
Check out NexTech Today
McMinn has noticed increased interest in NexTech’s learning model since the pandemic. When some students experienced the freedoms of virtual learning, they struggled to go back to the rigidity of a traditional classroom.
Now they’re looking for the flexibility that NexTech offers.
NexTech enrolls between 100-200 kids and enrollment is open for the 2022-23 school year.
If this sounds like the perfect fit for your student, you can learn more about NexTech here.
You can also attend a virtual open house.
And as always, Principal McMinn says you can call him with any questions (616-458-4992 ext 302). He loves talking to prospective families!
NexTech High School
801 Broadway Ave NW UNIT 225, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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