Hybrid Schools: The Future of Learning? with guest Dr. Brent Goldman

About this Episode

Interested in learning what some educators think is the best school model? Heard about hybrid schooling but aren’t sure what it’s all about? On this episode of Brainy Moms, Dr. Amy and Teri interview Dr. Brent Goldman from Xceed Preparatory Academy, a network of private college-prep schools providing a personalized curriculum with flexible schedules along with hybrid and online learning options. Dr. Goldman shares the benefits of the hybrid learning approach and tells us why he believes it’s the future of education.  If you’ve got kids in grades 6-12, tune in to hear about the hybrid learning model.

About Dr. Brent Goldman

Dr. Goldman is a former public school educator who has always been passionate about teaching and learning. However, as a young teacher, he began to believe that the traditional model of education was antiquated and decided there had to be a better way to help students learn. 25 years ago, Dr. Goldman left public education to co-launch and lead pioneering private schools including The Sagemont School in Weston, Smart Horizons Career Online Education, and now Xceed Preparatory Academy and Xceed Preparatory Academy Virtual School.

As a recognized leader in innovative education, he has been profiled in the FloridaTrend 500, Thrive Global and Authority Magazine for his commitment and dedication to providing a personalized and flexible learning environment for Xceed students focused on subject mastery, not seat time or testing standards. Both Xceed Preparatory Academy and Xceed Preparatory Academy Virtual School were also recently recognized nationally on NBC News for its academic teams’ unique hybrid collaboration across all five schools.

Dr. Goldman holds a Bachelor of Arts from The College of William and Mary and both a Master of Science and Doctor of Education from Nova Southeastern University, where he is often a featured speaker at the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education.

 

Connect with Dr. Goldman

Website: https://www.xceedprep.org/

Social Media: @xceedprep

LinkedIn: @BrentGoldman1

Mentioned in this Episode

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LearningRx is a worldwide network of brain training centers offering cognitive, reading, and math remediation and enhancement for all ages. LearningRx has worked with more than 100,000 clients who have learning struggles and disabilities, ADHD, traumatic brain injury, autism, and age-related cognitive decline. Visit www.LearningRx.com or call 1-866-BRAIN-01 to learn more. 

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Read the transcript for this episode:

Dr. Amy Moore:

Hi and welcome to this episode of Brainy Moms brought to you today by LearningRx Brain Training Centers. I’m your host, Dr. Amy Moore, here with my beautiful co-host Teri Miller, coming to you today from Colorado Springs, Colorado. We are excited to welcome our guest today, Dr. Brent Goldman.

Dr. Goldman is a former public school educator who has always been passionate about teaching and learning. However, as a young teacher, he began to believe that the traditional model of education was antiquated and decided there had to be a better way to help students learn. So, 25 years ago, Dr. Goldman left public education to co-launch and lead pioneering private schools including Xceed Preparatory Academy.

Teri Miller:

So glad to have you here.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Well, thank you. I’m excited to speak with you today.

Teri Miller:

Good. Before we launch into all the interesting information you have for us, I want you to just tell our listeners a little bit about yourself, your personal story and how you came to where you are now with Xceed Prep Academy.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Oh, great. Well, I had a 30-year career as an educator. As Amy mentioned, I started as a public school teacher. My first job was an interesting job, it was fifth grade dropout prevention. With just the title alone, we’re already labeling 10-year-olds as potential dropouts was a little problematic but I had a lot of fun and connected with the kids. And then I was a high school social studies teacher for four years and then got together with my family and we had an opportunity to open a K12 private school in South Florida, in Weston, Florida called the Sagemont School and we owned and operated it for 17 years, grew it to about 820 kids, sent kids to great colleges and universities. I had a fantastic fine arts program, college prep program, sports program. But along the way, we’ve done some pretty cool non-traditional stuff as well. We started an online high school in 2002 with the University of Miami and, if you think back to 2002, I didn’t get my first email address, I think, till 1994.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, in 2002, the online schooling world was brand new, now it’s ubiquitous. Online learning is everywhere, elementary school, middle school, high school, college. My son got his driver’s permit in the state of Florida online, so it’s everywhere. But in 2002, people looked at you like you had an eye in the middle of your head when you told them that you can learn school online, in your house, in your pjs. So, we were the first private SACS accredited online school, so that was pioneering and that-

Teri Miller:

It’s a big accomplishment.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Yeah. And then we sold that school to the Washington Post in 2007, they own Kaplan at the time. So, it was a crazy time but we became serial educational entrepreneurs. We were co-founders of an online high school that we started in 2009 that has now, I think we’ve graduated 13,000 students, called Smart Horizons which is an online school geared towards adult high school dropouts. We partner with McDonald’s, where you partner with Amazon, we partner with public libraries across the United States to help students who dropped out of school, generally because of a life problem, a parent passed away, they got pregnant and maybe they had three years of high school but they didn’t finish.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, we started that in 2009 and then, in 2016, we conceptualized Xceed which today we have seven schools across the United States mostly in the state of Florida. We have one school in Georgia, one school in Iowa and then a virtual school. And Xceed, basically, is a combination of my 30 years of experiences. It’s a hybrid blended learning environment where we deliver our curriculum online but in a live brick and mortar setting with live subject certified teachers. So, because we deliver the curriculum online, the students have access to their school 24/7, 365. They can do their work Saturday morning, Sunday nights, at 1:00 in the morning on Wednesday.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Where in a traditional school, the doors are locked and you don’t have access to that, you don’t have access to your teachers when the final bell rings. But then, they come into school with live subject certified teachers so they have one on one contact with their teachers and, obviously, the socialization that the strictly online school doesn’t have where they can be around friends. So, it’s you have your cake and eat it too and that’s our model. So, we had launched 2017 with two schools in South Florida, we now have three schools in South Florida, one at Daytona Beach, Florida and this was pre pandemic.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Hybrid now is much more … We work hybrid, we move to different states because it doesn’t really matter where we live anymore with our jobs if we don’t have to come into the office. So, when we started Xceed, adults really did not get it. Kids got it because kids are growing up in an on demand world. The adults, we go back to how we were educated and how we envision our schools to look like and what our teachers are supposed to do and our hardcopy textbooks but kids today are growing up with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Uber and smartphones, so it’s a much different world for them and this hybrid way of learning really fits how they’re growing up in today’s world. So, it’s been a very interesting 30-year journey from public school, starting a traditional K12 private school to online schools for all ages and, now, a blended learning hybrid model.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, I want to ask you, you firmly believe that the hybrid model is the future of education? You alluded a little bit to it a minute ago, because times have changed and our kids are different now, is this a logistics issue or is this psychological? What is it about the hybrid model that is going to sustain it? Why is it the future?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

I think a number of things. I think the main reason that traditional school exists “as is” is a childcare issue, more so than anything else.

Teri Miller:

Wow.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Parents need to work and they need to be able to house their kids, to have their kids supervised while they’re working. So, now the world is changing and more people are working from home and more people have flexibility with their workplace. So, I think that we’re a private school but I think that this model can work also in the charter school world or the public school world as well. And I think that kids today are different than 15, 20 years ago, they have interests that school gets in the way of. It could be they’re a competitive athlete, it could be that they want to work, it could be that they have an internship opportunity or they’re a singer or they’re in a traveling Broadway dream or their parents want to travel but they can’t because of the rigidity of the traditional school.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, I think the pandemic accelerated all this but I think that parents saw how kids learn for the first three months, specifically during the pandemic but even the course of the next year, and I think the remote learning obviously got bad press. But I think, for a lot of kids, it was the first time in their lives they were successful academically and their parents saw that, their parents … Why is that? Well, maybe it was because, in a traditional classroom, they’re embarrassed raise their hand. Maybe in a traditional classroom, they’re being bullied and maybe they have attentional issues and they can’t focus for seven hours but they can for three or four. So, I think parents discovered that, “Hey, my kid is being successful for the first time. Are there different programs out there, whether it’s a strict online school or hybrid model, that my kid can finally learn and be successful for the first time?”

Teri Miller:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah, I have said this multiple times since the pandemic started. But I think one of the reasons why online learning got such bad press early on is because the schools that didn’t have a learning management system already in place, schools that didn’t have that infrastructure in place to support online learning-

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

… really had to drop back and punt. My sister teaches math in a rural area of West Virginia, they did not have any online infrastructure in place so she was screwing a whiteboard into her dining room wall to teach high school math online, right?

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Amy Moore:

And so, schools like that, they did struggle. Teachers didn’t have the resources they need, they didn’t have that system in place. Whereas, schools that already had a learning management system, that already had that option and were already running and were well oiled machines, they were thriving. Everybody just pivoted to the online option in the school systems, right?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Think back to March 2020, schools basically shut down on a Friday and reopened on a Monday, remote. So, there was no teacher training, there was a lack of infrastructure, there was a lot of kids that didn’t have high speed internet access at home so you were seeing kids pulling up to the McDonald’s parking lots to try to get hooked up to their classes. There were kids that were not turning their cameras on, so there was no accountability, if they were even there. There were all kinds of issues, but ultimately, it was just, at the end of the day, who could have envisioned and prepared for a pandemic that, over a weekend, you have to totally transform how you teach. And I think, unfortunately, even after that summer, we still didn’t have vaccines and there were still, obviously, a lot of unknowns. When the kids quasi went back to school, it still wasn’t good and I think that led to a lot of dissatisfaction that people had.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Absolutely.

Teri Miller:

Well, you also talk about class size. And so, you say that you believe that the answer to student engagement is smaller … Some people believe the answer is smaller class sizes but you believe the answer is actually smaller schools. Tell us more about that.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

I’ve always been a believer in small schools, the hokey, be a name, not a number. I’ve always believed that if you get to know your kids, that the kid is going to be more successful in school. So, in large schools … I remember I went to a large public middle school and my dad and I, I was in seventh or eighth grade, and my dad went to the back to school night or the open house and introduced himself to the principal and said, “Do you know Brent Goldman?” And the principal hesitated, hesitated and finally said, “Well, if he doesn’t get into trouble, I have no idea who he is because I only know the kids that get into trouble.” So, I just believe that there is power in, when you walk in the door, “Hi, Amy. How was your weekend? How are your parents doing? How’s your vacation? How’s your job at Publix?” Those connections are very, very important. And the small school size, everybody can say that the personalized instruction, all the big buzzwords but how can you do that?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Our high our public high school down here has 6,000 students. It’s a great school but there’s no way they can individualize, it’s just basic math, it can’t happen. And for a lot of kids, they do great there and my concern isn’t for those kids, it’s those kids that are getting Cs that don’t get into trouble. They don’t bother anybody so the teacher is probably not going to call you and say, “Your daughter or your son is causing problems in my class,” and they’re surely not going to call to say that, “Hey, she’s a C student and she has a potential to be an A student.” She’s not bothering anybody, so she’s got to continue just moving along and be that C student and I strongly believe in smaller environments that you don’t get lost in the shuffle and it’s really all ends of that traditional bell curve.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Those kids in the middle have always concerned me but the kids that struggle on one end of the bell curve in larger environments, larger schools, let’s be real, how much opportunity do those kids have for true remediation? So, even if they were highly motivated kids and they want to get one on one help with their teacher, okay, maybe I can catch him at lunch, maybe I can catch him before school but they’re probably at a faculty meeting or they’re sponsoring a club or coaching sport so the chances of me getting extra help are probably slim to none. And then the real bright kids, they’re slowed down too because the teacher has to keep everybody on the same page.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, the small school size, to me, comes back to you want your kid to be a name and not a number. And as hokey as it sounds, I just can’t see how that happens in very large environments. And I want my teachers to be proactive, I want my teachers to call you if your kid is an A student and gets a C and that’s not their normal deal. But the employee handbook says I only have to call you if they got a D or an F. But what if they got a C? Well, I don’t have time to call you, I have 200 kids.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, it’s not that I don’t care, I don’t have the time. In smaller schools, I think the proactive measures that good teachers take, it’s more apt to occur than in large environments. And I could be proven wrong on that, I’m just giving you … And I know there’s studies on the small schools and students success. Small class size is great, it sounds great but sometimes it’s too small. You have a class of seven, eight kids, there’s really no opportunity for really positive conversations going back and different points of view. What if it’s all boys and one girl? To me, what is exactly a good class size number?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, I’ve always been a believer in small schools. So, when we designed Xceed, it was based on some other micro school, there’s this micro schools genre of schools. So, the one that I was most familiar with is called Fusion Academy and they have multiple locations across the United States but these are private schools designed for around 100 kids. So, when we were conceptualizing our schools, that was a model that we were looking at because, again, they’re mastering this micro school world.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, where do you see the parents’ role in education?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

I think the parents have to be a partner with the school. If they aren’t, it’s probably not going to work unless you have a really, like I said, special, highly motivated kid that doesn’t need so much support on their own. Obviously, in more traditional settings, there’s a lot of ways for parents to get involved which I believe are positive. At younger ages, volunteering in classrooms, reading to kids, be getting involved in PTAs, advisory groups with the principals or heads of school where they can help set direction, those are great ways. But I think that there’s a lot of …

Dr. Brent Goldman:

You mentioned learning management systems, there’s a lot more technology now where we can really know what’s going on with our kids’ grades. So, I have two teenagers, I have to great kids but I’ve always told them, “Listen, I believe the adult more than you, always. I’m going to side on the side of the teacher.” So, back in our day, parents asked you, “How are you doing in social studies class?” “Good.” “What does that mean?” “I’m doing fine.” “Do you have an A?” “I think so, maybe.”

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, now, with Canvas or Blackboard or PowerSchool, there’s all kinds of systems that schools use where you can get real time, see real time how your kids are doing. And a lot of these back ends, you can see how much time they’re spending in each class. You can see how much time they spend interacting with their teachers, teachers can [inaudible 00:21:50] communications. So, I can go in and see that my child, I think, wasn’t telling me the truth on exactly how well they’re doing so I think there’s accountability there as well. I think my fear with parents, as a lifelong educator, is there has to be that line also.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Education is the one field where everybody thinks they know everything because they went to school and I think that the lack of respect for teachers and educators also was magnified over the past two years as well. So, I like for parents to know their place also and trust the professionals to do right by your child. But I think that, obviously, good schools always find ways to involve parents and I think when kids see that you’re involved and you care about your child’s education, I think that, obviously, also leads to academic success.

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, in a hybrid or online environment, what is your recommendation to parents for how they can connect with the teachers but not micromanage the process? From a teacher’s perspective, what are their expectations of parents’ involvement and communication?

Teri Miller:

Yeah, because it seems like such a-

Dr. Amy Moore:

To make their job easier.

Teri Miller:

Such a fine line, what I’m hearing from both.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, what’s my advice and, again, I’m using my I’m a parent as well, is do not helicopter. I think with all of these opportunities to get involved, again, that’s why I mentioned that line, your kid also has to figure it out. And I think that, right now, there’s just way too much, without being political, with all this stuff going on, with book banning and all this stuff, trust the school, trust the school’s going to do a good job. But I think in our environment, a lot of our kids, and I’ll use this term because it can be many, many different kids, are square pegs in a round hole.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

They could be Harvard bound kids but they haven’t been successful in their current environment and that’s why they’re looking for change. So, a lot of our families are like, “Oh, my god. For the first time in my kid’s life, they’re being successful.” So, I said, “Because our schools are four to 5,000 square feet, that’s a tiny footprint. Most schools are 100, 200,000 square feet. How we involve our parents is different than we would in more of a traditional setting and obviously, the pandemic, where you don’t want visitors on campus as much to try and not have all the different germs and stuff.”

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, we don’t do as much as we used to with having parents on campus but if we have big events, whether it’s curriculum fairs or honor society inductions, obviously, we want parents to be involved. But I think if you can check in on your kid’s progress online and if you’re seeing some slippage or your kids are struggling, obviously, to reach out. And I think, also, in our environment, we have a head of school that’s really the head coach of our schools. Again, with 75 to 100 kids, it’s a much different role for every one of our folks. So, that person’s the first liaison with parents. But I think the biggest piece of advice is be involved but don’t helicopter.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Your kids are going to have to figure it out. And with my 17-year-old son who’s going to college next year, I don’t go on his Canvas. He happens to be a good student, he’s a senior, I can see some slippage, he’s got three weeks left to school but I’m like, “Your college can take away your admission.” He’s going to be 18 in a couple of weeks, he’s going to have to figure that one out. And then I think, also, the real micro stuff, what curriculum do you use for teaching English or what math curriculum do you use, that’s not our expertise as parents, that’s the school’s expertise. And the reality is does it a make a difference if they’re using Pearson or Houghton Mifflin or whatever? The curriculums are all designed to state standards, all of them.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, ultimately, I don’t think you need to be reading through the social studies book to make sure that everything is cool or that your friend’s kid is using Pearson, it really doesn’t matter. I try to use my parenting, how I deal with my kids’ school, as far as how I would give advice to parents.

Teri Miller:

Okay. Talk to us about dual enrollment. There are more and more high schools across the country, even into middle schools, trying to prepare kids for college classes by offering dual enrollment which means they’re in high school getting that high school credit with a class that they are also getting college credit for. So, talk to us a little bit about that and why you think that’s important.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, colleges, again as a parent, my son just went through the college application process. So, colleges look for, really, three different things when they’re deciding whether to admit you. The first is that you’re challenging yourself to the best of your ability, taking the most rigorous college prep curriculum that you can handle. Then your resume, what makes me different than you. And then, finally, your test scores and more and more schools are going test optional now.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Anyways, which leads back to the first component of are you challenging yourself to the best of your ability. So, generally, kids do that through AP, through advanced placement classes. The other way is through dual enrollment classes just like you said. Typically, juniors and seniors that would go … Most of those programs, they go to a local community college and take a college level class. Personally, I’m not a big believer in AP, even though we offer them in our schools and have offered them in every school that I’ve taught at, for a couple of reasons.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

One is it’s very teacher directed, there’s not much room. You’re teaching to a test. So, it’s very intense, you’re teaching to a test at the end of the year, there’s not much flexibility to add or delete different things based on what’s going on in the world because you’re accountable for how your kids do on that test.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Okay? So, then, the kids take the test, it’s graded one through five, three and above is passing but there’s no guarantee that college is going to take those credits. So, even if three is a passing, most colleges aren’t going to take that three. It’ll be really for fours and fives and some colleges don’t take them at all. Okay, so the dual enrollment piece, you don’t have to take a test to pass the course. Generally, you have to get a C or above to get the college credit and colleges are more apt to accept those college credits from other colleges than they are from AP. And I think that it also gives the kids, really, an opportunity, especially the highly motivated kids, to see what a college class is like.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

And there are a lot more online options now for dual enrollment but the kids that are going the more traditional dual enrollment where they’re stepping into a community college, you’re going there with college kids and you have a real professor in front of the room. It’s great preparation for when you’re going to matriculate in a four-year school. So, the dual enrollment piece, I personally believe is a better way to demonstrate that you’re challenging yourself and taking a rigorous curriculum than AP for the reasons that I said before and it’s not for everybody, it’s a college class. So, I think schools have to be and parents have to be realistic and selective on who they recommend take these courses.

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Yeah, it’s not going to be a good fit for every kid, that’s for sure.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

It’s not a good fit for every kid.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

We have experience with both in my family. And so, my middle child did AP courses in high school. I don’t know, calculus, physics, some of those and I have never seen that level of stress in a child than I did when he was facing those exams and he got lucky or he worked hard. So, he got fives and he got college credit or advanced placement credit for those fives. How meaningful was that years’ worth of work? I don’t know. Whereas, my youngest child has done dual enrollment since his freshman year of high school and, really, that sense of satisfaction that he got from those courses, without the same level of stress that I saw, and every child is different, like we’re saying, but Teri and I are both big proponents of dual enrollment.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. And Amy, it was the same with us. Autumn and Eliza both took AP classes and it’s exactly what you’re saying. Those courses were so stressful, they required so much extra work, so much extra time as opposed to my son, Canyon, who’s doing college courses, he had dual enrollment all through high school and he’s getting the actual college credit and it’s way less stressful.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

[crosstalk 00:34:18]

Teri Miller:

He’s not having to put in all this extra work, these extra hours.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

And you’re working on that one class.

Teri Miller:

Yes.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Most of these kids are taking three or four or even five AP classes. So, you can quadruple the amount of stress and then, you look at the odds of getting into Harvard, I’m putting Harvard in quotes but it could be any tier one college, if 70,000 kids are applying for 1,400 slots so the odds of you getting into these schools is slim, if not slim and none. And you’re doing homework till 1:00 in the morning and then you had to get up at 6:00.

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

And I think that ties into my hybrid, being a big believer in the hybrid model, is our kids don’t have to get up at 6:00 in the morning to catch the bus.

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Our kids create their own schedules. So, if you are a morning person like I am, I would come in to our school every day at 7:30 and try to be out before lunch but there’s a lot of [inaudible 00:35:37] now. Obviously, sleep research with teenagers but so many teenagers are sleep deprived. My son, I drive to school every day, I’m thinking, “Oh, this is a great opportunity for us to bond,” and I’d say, 90% of the time, he’s sleeping all the way to school.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, it’s not a great place to bond but I see how stressed out and tired he is. And the hybrid model, again, our kids could come in a tank and get some extra sleep. So, pushing that model again but how that ties into kids are going after the big prize of a tier one college acceptance and taking a bunch of AP classes.

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Well, but I don’t want to discount the importance of honoring those circadian rhythms in teenage kids, right?

Teri Miller:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Amy Moore:

I don’t understand why public high schools ignore it.

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

It’s a-

Teri Miller:

It’s insane.

Dr. Amy Moore:

It drives me nuts. Does it mean the research is-

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Well, it’s a very simple-

Teri Miller:

Go ahead.

Dr. Amy Moore:

The buses. It’s the buses, right?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Buses and extracurricular activities, it’s real simple. But it’s mostly buses. So, they’re picking kids up and they’re dropping kids off. Sometimes it has to do with field space for sports teams after school and you have to get out at a certain time so that means you have to start earlier. In a lot of districts, the buses drop the high school kids first and then come back and get the middle school kids next. Maybe that should be flipped but they can’t flip it because the high school kids have the sports after school. So, they can’t start practice at 4:30 when daylight savings time, it’s dark in a lot of places at 4:30 in the winter. So, that’s the number one reason and, again, that goes back to the fundamental question, my fundamental belief is that the whole system is broken.

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

And that’s obviously a part of it that makes no sense. Teenagers need sleep yet they’re doing homework until midnight and they’re getting up at 5:30 a.m. to catch the bus at 6:00.

Teri Miller:

Yeah.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

And then you wonder why they don’t do well in their first few classes because they’re half asleep.

Teri Miller:

Right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, do you think that creating private schools or charter options like you have done, do you think that that’s a great workaround or are you trying to create a model that could possibly globally work and replace the system?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Well, I think, ultimately, the biggest problem is childcare. So, is it going to replace the entire system? I doubt. But could it provide a real nice option for lots of families? Absolutely. Again, going back to the early 2000s when online schools started taking off, I live in the state of Florida. Florida Virtual School is the, I don’t know what the … 68 public school district in the state of Florida with millions of kids taking classes, either full time or part time, that’s a tremendous disrupter, that was a tremendous disrupter to the existing system and providing more choices to parents. I believe our hybrid blended model can be a similar disrupter.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

So, we’re in the private school world. So, when we created Xceed, it was to disrupt the private school world and that does not mean that our model couldn’t be used in other places because reality is it’s not that hard. We’re in small footprints with a small number of staff with online teachers, what we’re doing is not that hard to do, it’s just a matter of forward thinkers. And I think that the charter school world has that freedom to think more outside the box, obviously, hence the whole process. But why not give parents and families and other choice just like with the advent of public online schools, charter online schools that are available in many, many states across this country? I think the more options we can give families, the better.

Teri Miller:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah, absolutely.

Teri Miller:

The choices. Having the option is so good.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. So, we need to take a break and let Teri read a word from our sponsor. And, when we come back, let’s talk specifically about Xceed, where you are, how listeners can find you and why they should want to.

Teri Miller: Reading sponsor ad from LearningRx

Are you concerned about your child’s reading or spelling performance? Are you worried your child’s reading curriculum isn’t thorough enough? Well, most learning struggles aren’t the results of poor curriculum or instruction, they’re typically caused by having cognitive skills that need to be strengthened. Skills like auditory processing, memory and processing speed. LearningRx one on one brain training programs are designed to target and strengthen the skills that we rely on for reading, spelling, writing and learning. LearningRx can help you identify which skills may be keeping your child from performing their best. In fact, they’ve worked with more than 100,000 children and adults who wanted to think and perform better. They’d like to help get your child on the path to a brighter and more confident future. Give LearningRx a call at 866-BRAIN01 or visit learningrx.com. That’s learningrx.com.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And we’re back talking to Dr. Brent Goldman about Xceed Preparatory Academy and the hybrid learning model. So, Dr. Goldman, talk to us specifically about Xceed, where you are, how listeners can find you and what’s so special about you.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Okay, great. For your listeners and viewers that live in South Florida, we have three schools in Miami Dade and Broward County. We also have a strictly virtual option for families anywhere that can enroll in our school called Xceed Prep Virtual. And then we have schools that are embedded in existing sports academies. One in Daytona Beach, Florida, one in Atlanta, Georgia and one in Des Moines, Iowa. So, our standalone schools, what’s special about them is really how different they are.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

The schools look like a combo of a high tech startup space and a Starbucks, it doesn’t look like anywhere where we went to school, and our families create their own schedules based on their children’s academic needs or special talents or interests and that’s what makes us unique and special. Our website is xceedprep.org and it’s a great way to learn about us, our locations, our programs, et cetera. I’m also personally active on LinkedIn, so you can search me out on LinkedIn. We’re very active in the education world, specifically in our space with hybrid learning and online learning.

Teri Miller:

Okay.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And then tell us what makes your virtual school different than the other virtual school options.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Again, for us, it’s a virtual school, the success of it comes to, I believe, on how accessible your teachers are. So, again, the student teacher ratio at our virtual school is much smaller than other private virtual schools and, specifically, public or charter virtual schools where teachers can have hundreds of students and generally have 24 to 48 hours to get back to you to answer any type of question. We want our teachers to get back as quickly as possible to the kids. We also have a partnership with an online tutoring company where our kids can get off hour support until midnight in every subject area where they can zoom in with a certified teacher in algebra, English, science, et cetera. If their teachers are off, it’s 9:00 at night and I’m working through algebra, I can’t understand this question, they can go on to our off hour support tutors and get extra help.

Teri Miller:

Wow.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

We have comprehensive college counseling starting in high school for our virtual students. In 11th and 12th grade, it’s obviously much more hands on. Ninth and 10th grade, it’s really helping them plan out their academic schedules, build their resumes, provide trend information to the parents, learn about the differences between the SAT and the ACP, et cetera. Eleventh and 12th grade is more your application, SAT, ACP prep, visiting colleges, et cetera. And the final piece, which you brought up when we were talking about dual enrollment, is we partner with a group called Outlier and it was created by the founders of Masterclass and they have, I think, now 10 or 12 college courses that they deliver online and the credits are granted through the University of Pittsburgh. So, that is a way for our virtual students to dual enroll without having to go to their local community college and take it live because, obviously, our virtual students like learning online. So, those are ways that make us unique and different.

Teri Miller:

Okay.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, I know that you personalize the curriculum for each student, is there a part time option or is it a full time enrollment?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Full time only. We have a summer school where kids can take part time, one or two credits, but we’re a full time school.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Okay.

Teri Miller:

All right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Full time, full service?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Full time, full service. Exactly.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Is there anything that you haven’t gotten to tell our listeners that you’d still like to say?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

I think the biggest thing is I think there’s a myth about private schools about affordability. A lot of private schools offer financial aid, a lot of states offer very robust voucher programs like the state of Florida, where I’m at, which helps the affordability piece of private schools. But even if the private option doesn’t work financially for your families, there’s many choices available now and I encourage parents to research what is available in your area, in your district that might better meet the needs of your individual child than the local home public school that might not meet your individual child’s needs. It might be perfect but it might not.

Teri Miller:

Yeah, okay.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, thank you so much, Dr. Brent Goldman, for enlightening our listeners and us to this amazing hybrid private school option. I enjoyed this conversation with you very much today.

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Thank you very much.

Dr. Amy Moore:

If you would like information about Xceed, the website is X-C-E-E-D prep.org. So, xceedprep.org. And you can find Dr. Goldman on social media @XceedPrep, again, X-C-E-E-D prep. We will put those links and his social media handle in the show notes. You also said that you’re on LinkedIn, very active. What is your-

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Search me out on LinkedIn, I don’t know what the-

Dr. Amy Moore:

Under Dr. Brent Goldman?

Dr. Brent Goldman:

Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Okay, sounds good. So, thanks so much for listening today. If you liked our show, we would love it if you would leave us a five star rating and review on Apple Podcasts. If you would rather watch us we are on YouTube and you can find us on every social media platform at the Brainy Moms. So, look, until next time, we know that you’re busy moms and we’re busy moms, so we’re out.

Teri Miller: See ya.

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