December School Spotlight— The John Cooper School!

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

Although it was a rollercoaster ride of a year, one of our high points will be shining our school spotlight onto The John Cooper School this December! Cooper was chosen among many wonderful partners for their strong ability to put students first as they introduced Studyo. 

Rebecca Brady, Cooper’s Academic Dean, really gets to the heart of what makes the school amazing— the school staff members  are, “dynamic, innovative, caring and committed to developing the entire student.” 

The John Cooper School, located in The Woodlands, Texas, offers a challenging college-prep program with individualized help for each student. Students are supported through every step in the college preparatory process, whether it’s getting ready for post-secondary admissions, charting their curricular path, developing strong decision-making skills, and cultivating personal values among a diverse set of students. The school ensures that students have many academic opportunities, giving juniors and seniors access to 21 AP courses, as well as advanced courses in math and world languages. The students make the most of these opportunities:  “The average number of AP courses taken by Cooper students by graduation is 6,” Rebecca shares. 

The school takes a SEL-based approach through the Counseling and Learning Resources Office, a team of counselors and learning specialists that “[assist] students in their intellectual, social, and emotional development”, Rebecca summarizes. She also notes their advisory programs as a strong support for students, in which faculty members work with small groups. “Whether working one-on-one or in a group setting, our goal is to promote student well-being through the development of self-awareness, independence, coping skills, self-advocacy, and resiliency,” she adds. “Our collaboration with parents and teachers is essential in order to create the best learning environment for our students.”

The John Cooper School is no stranger to developing learning skills in a variety of innovative ways; this year alone they partnered with Global Online Academy to get middle and high school students ready for online education through a “Learning to Learn” course. Students and faculty members have also had access to learningscientists.org. The site provides “information on effective learning strategies,” Rebecca explains, “particularly these 6: retrieval practice, spaced practice, dual coding, interleaving, concrete examples, and elaboration.” 

Rebecca began looking into Studyo to develop executive functioning skills in students, and wanted to explore the platform for its digital nature and ability to connect with Blackbaud. Distance learning during COVID-19 was also a factor. “We needed something adaptable to different schedule iterations,” she recounted, and added that the flexibility compared to a paper planner was an appealing trait. Though buy-in was an extended process, she eventually brought Studyo to the finish line at Cooper and took a strong leadership role in developing messages and demonstrations about the platform for faculty, as well as to parents and students. 

For now, Rebecca is hoping to continue encouraging students to use the planner. This month, we’ve seen over 100 students who had previously been off Studyo re-engaging with the platform for the exam period. Gathering student feedback is another key focus for the John Cooper School. “[In the future, we’ll] dive into the analytics provided on Insights and think about how to use the data,” Rebecca adds.  

Her advice for any schools starting out with Studyo? “Explore the features of Studyo from a student’s perspective and think about how the planner can help meet the needs of your students. For example, our students found the ability to break down a long-term assignment into action steps to be a valuable way to prepare for mid-term exams.”

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