When Ellen Usher started teaching at an adult education facility in St. Louis, she jumped into teaching right off the bat.
She had a couple years of experience as an English adjunct professor at nearby St. Louis Community College.
But she also knew adult education would be a different beast entirely.
So when the opportunity came for her to jump into her work, Ellen took it. After a day, she knew she made the right choice.
“I was asked to substitute my first week here,” Ellen says. “After a day, the students begged me to be their teacher.”
Ellen did stay, working with a diverse range of students with different backgrounds, ambitions, and challenges.
So when she took the job, Ellen knew she’d need a resource to help her with meeting the needs of these students.
When Ellen started teaching, she quickly encountered some setbacks in her classroom.
First, the instructional materials she had didn’t properly equip her to accommodate different student needs.
The materials worked for the class size — at the time about five students — but all she had were textbooks.
That motivated Ellen to find something new.
“I started researching ways in which to engage students in business and computer classes,” Ellen says. “I had a book on Microsoft Office and a book on professionalism. Students only had books. There was no computer instruction at all.”
Because Ellen taught so many computer-related skills, she naturally wanted a computer-oriented solution to teaching her students.
It had to accommodate the variety of students she encountered though. That meant students between the age of 16 and 24 from all economic and educational backgrounds.
And as she continued teaching, the diversity of her classroom grew more and more — often in the middle of a marking period.
After weighing her options, Ellen found Applied Educational Systems.
“I found AES, and I used it as a trial,” Ellen says. “My students were really excited. They really liked the videos [and] the interactive portions of each course.”
Not only did her students like it, but Business&ITCenter21 made it easier for Ellen to help her students succeed.
Best of all, AES gave Ellen the differentiation and engagement that she needed to see results. She could finally reach all of her students — even the ones who joined halfway through a marking period.
“We have different types of learners, especially in this setting,” Ellen says. “A lot of my students are working towards getting a high school diploma as well as getting what we call a ‘trade.’ AES worked perfectly because it helps with all types of learners.”
But reaching her students was just one of the challenges Ellen wanted to overcome.
She also had to address an unusually high rate of student turnover.
Students come to class one day, and the next day they’re gone. Whether it’s by choice or totally out of that student’s power, they just leave.
Ellen's school experiences that kind of turnover all the time because their instruction is free and completely optional.
In other words, it’s easy for students to decide to show up for a week and then duck out without any warning.
“You not only have a high volume of students, you also have a high turnover rate,” Ellen says. “It’s the nature of this type of organization. What I like about AES is that you can cater it or tailor it to your specific needs.”
Ellen recycles her student accounts in Business&ITCenter21 to go to different students whenever current students leave her class.
With that strategy, turnover becomes a smaller problem. Ellen can repurpose student accounts or add new ones to accommodate a classroom that’s constantly shifting.
So whether she loses a student or gets five new ones in a week, Ellen can adjust her digital curriculum accordingly.
“Business&ITCenter21 is integral at every level of my class,” Ellen says. “I get on average two or three new students every week, so I can’t start a class over again. Business&ITCenter21 helps me teach them at a pace where they’re learning and they can graduate.”
Because she faces so many variables in her classroom, Ellen uses Business&ITCenter21 as a core component of her curriculum.
She can track every student in her class that way, complete with automatic grades, assessment tracking, and full customization options.
“I’ve broken my curriculum down into different levels so it’s easy for me to grade,” Ellen says. “I can customize everything from home and students can see their grades instantly. In other programs that I’ve used, you actually have to go through and manually grade.”
But Business&ITCenter21 is more than a gradebook.
It’s also an opportunity for students after they graduate.
“With AES, students can actually do projects,” Ellen says. “They can do hands-on work so they can actually see what they’ve learned and turn it into a project at the end of a unit. They’ve got a portfolio that they can build.”
This portfolio serves as the basis of a student’s work. With it, they can show all of the projects they’ve completed, among other information.
Then, students can take their portfolio to a job interview and kickstart their careers.
But there’s one more key part of Business&ITCenter21 that Ellen — and the school accountants — simply love.
When it comes to cost, Ellen found Business&ITCenter21 to be a breath of fresh air.
“I have other programs where you have to pay $25 to $30 per student to have access, and only one student can use it,” Ellen says. “With Business&ITCenter21, I can make up certain classes and add students. So the fact that I have a lot of students who come in — and others who might not finish — works with this system really well.”
So for Ellen, Business&ITCenter21 goes beyond a teaching aid. It’s more than a curriculum supplement.
In her words, it’s almost everything in one.
“It’s a class benefit,” Ellen says. “It’s a good bargain.”
You can manage your classroom just like Ellen!
All you need is Business&ITCenter21 on your side.
If you teach business education, computer applications, or career readiness, this is the digital curriculum for you!
Start your free trial today!