A very interesting discussion on the pedagogical gap in online-offline hybrid learning methodology for younger kids.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to Calvert Education.
Steve Gross: Calvert is a very established organization. It was founded in the early 1900s. It’s probably the world’s first distance learning organization. It was founded as part of a private school in Baltimore, which is where the company is based. It is fair to say that we have been doing personalized learning genuinely since 1906.
Over the course of time, we’ve had very famous, illustrious alumni including President Obama, William F. Buckley, Grammy Award winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners. I would have to say that, for obvious reasons, it has been largely a print-based program for the majority of our history. In recent years, we’ve aggressively moved to digital learning and we’ve also moved beyond traditional home school into virtual schools.
Sramana Mitra: How does your online program work today?
Steve Gross: It’s a digital first online program in which we typically work with virtual schools or individuals or families as well as international schools. That is often used as either the core curriculum or a dual degree program with a high school in China where they might offer the local Chinese high school diploma as well as Calvert diploma which is sanctioned by the State of Maryland. People can get American diplomas while they’re studying in Beijing. Those are the primary ways in which the program works.
Sramana Mitra: What do you charge students for participating in your diploma program?
Steve Gross: It varies. We don’t charge students most of the time. We typically present ourselves through schools. Schools charge the students. In the United States, the most frequently occurring situation is that they are either going to public or charter schools which are paid for by their tax dollars.
Sramana Mitra: I don’t understand. You’re not working direct B2C?
Steve Gross: We are B2C in the sense that we have sold home school curriculum to consumers. That can range from $1,500 to several thousands dollars depending on the degree of support the family wants. Alternatively, we also work with schools. In addition to selling to consumers directly, we work with schools that typically offer our curriculum either in their online virtual school whether that be a charter school or a public school.
In those cases, we are compensated by the school and the family is in charge for the services because their tax dollars are going to pay for their Calvert education.