Ivy Academy high school goes 100% online

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Johannesburg-based high school Ivy Academy has introduced an online-only offering for grades 10 to12, as it pivots to become a fully online learning institution.

Ivy Academy is a registered distance education provider with the South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute and offers grade 12 tuition, to help pupils meet the requirements of the National Senior Certificate (NSC).

Having run a successful classroom- and teacher-based high school for a number of years, while achieving a 100% matric pass rate, Ivy Academy says it has now gone fully digital and added additional grades, accredited by Umalusi – the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education Training.

Following the sudden increased need for online learning in 2020, the school says it has curated a home school offering for grades 10 to 12 that follows traditional schooling, such as timetables, schedules and teachers, available for online one-on-one and online extra-curricula, all through a digital process.

The school says it is now offering a fully curriculum assessment policy statements (CAPS) aligned syllabus, based on the latest technologies, incorporating lessons, e-books, online assessments and learner diagnostics tools to ensure learners are fully engaged.

Registrations are currently open and online classes will commence on 25 January.

Eli Katz, CEO of Ivy Academy, says it is envisaged there will be a significant move from traditional to online schooling in 2021, which will be exacerbated by a second wave of COVID-19.

“Our extensive experience, gained over many years, together with lessons learned, positions us uniquely in introducing a leading state of the art high school in the cloud that actually solves the various challenges associated with digital learning.

“This is achieved by providing the technology, teachers and proactive support to ensure student success. A key differentiator is the ability to harness the power of the technology to track and support learners, ensuring ‘no learner is left alone’,” notes Katz.

Ivy Academy says it uses an online platform that enables learners to drill down into their student-specific weaknesses and remedy these via customised learning paths.

The e-learning platform will enable learners to compile and build their digital portfolio of assessment in line with the requirements for NSC certification.

Although Ivy Academy is fully online, learners will have a fully structured schedule with live online lessons daily from 8am through to 2pm, to allow them to engage in an online real-time environment with their classmates and teachers. All lessons are recorded, thereby allowing learners to review the material in their own time.

The teaching and learning is enhanced by the use of adaptive learning, gamification and artificial intelligence (AI) learning systems.

As additional support to learners, Ivy says its team of experienced and SACE-registered teachers provide telephonic and e-mail assistance.

“Online learning is not simply a case of lectures which are available online,” adds Katz.

“There are multiple advantages for online learning which add significantly to the teaching and learning experience, and harness the power of technology, such as the ability to track student engagement and deploy diagnostics on an ongoing basis, which enable the educator, learner and parent to constantly be in touch with the learner’s progress.”

The academy says its systems rely on AI technologies to identify learners who are at risk, based on multiple criteria, which would not be possible in a classroom-based environment.

For learners who want to have access to facilities and physical infrastructure, as well as the opportunity to create a social environment, the institution has set up centres in Pretoria, Orchards and Bedfordview, Johannesburg, where learners will be able to utilise IT facilities.

While the progress tests and diagnostics are online, the learners will sit for formal invigilated examinations at various intervals during the course of the year.

“Ivy has recognised the importance of extra-curricula programmes to ensure learners have a rounded experience. These include digital music production, coding, app development, introduction to robotics and over 100 short programmes on personal development, such as goal-setting, time management and team work,” concludes Katz.

School fees for all grades are R1 950 monthly for 12 months.

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