Hybrid Schools Accreditation
All Christian schools attempt to have some level of partnership with families. The scriptures are clear in communicating that God gives the primary responsibility for training and teaching children to parents (Ephesians 6:4). Discipleship- or covenant-model schools require that at least one parent be a committed believer to be accepted into the school. Open-enrollment schools also seek to partner with parents in significant ways. Hybrid Programs take parent partnership to a higher level. Parents actually take the role of co-teacher on the days that students are not present at school. This model is not homeschooling, nor does it fit the traditional model of Christian schooling. The difference is that the teacher is still the one that designs and directs the instruction. (Dill, CSE 18.3)
What is a Hybrid, or University Model® School?
A Hybrid Program or University-Model® school is a Christian, college-preparatory school which blends aspects of private and home schooling. Students meet on campus two or three days per week, and complete lessons at home on alternate days under the direction of professional teachers, with parents serving as co-teachers. Hybrid programs are schools that employ systems similar to the University-Model® but may not follow their prescribed system. It may not be called a University-Model® program unless it is registered under that name and belongs to that association. In our protocol and other documents, ACSI uses the term “Hybrid” to encompass programs that are officially recognized as University-Model® programs as well as those that are not.
The National Association of University-Model® Schools (NAUMS, Inc.) was founded to assist existing and developing University-Model® schools. Advocates for NAUMS cite four primary reasons in supporting this model: 1) it encourages family time since the school schedule does not control their family schedule, 2) it is built on a very strong partnership with parents since parents have to be actively involved in monitoring and supporting their child’s instruction and performance, 3) it costs less money than the traditional Christian school, and 4) schools claim to deliver strong results in academic achievement and spiritual formation. (Dill, CSE 18.3) Hybrid programs would claim these advantages as well.
Why is accreditation of a Hybrid Program important?
While it is recognized that good traditional and hybrid programs have many aspects in common, it cannot be assumed that a school with a quality, accredited brick-and-mortar program will necessarily know how to provide excellent education in this non-traditional model. There will be differences in the accreditation standards both in quality and in specific areas that must be considered as a school is developing a hybrid program. There is a danger that these types of schools will be thought of as “homeschool support co-ops” rather than a school that can actually be accredited. Unique standards and indicators will help schools determine if they are truly teacher-directed, using effective educational strategies for the non-traditional schedule, and have appropriate supports in place for this type of program.
ACSI’s hybrid protocol can be used three different ways:
- ACSI accredited schools that are partly traditional and partly hybrid use a subset of indicators in the hybrid protocol focusing on the hybrid program in conjunction with the full REACH protocol.
- Schools accredited by a secular agency use a subset of indicators focusing on the spiritual formation and biblical foundations of the program.
- Schools that are entirely hybrid and for which the ACSI document will be the primary accreditation protocol use all indicators; other secular agency documents may be added as secondary documents for dual accreditation.