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StrongMind Story:
Valor Academy of Ohio


Hybrid School

135 students in grades 4-8

Columbus, Ohio

Accredited by Cognia

About Valor Academy of Ohio

Valor Academy of Ohio is a public community (charter) school for grades 4-8 in Columbus, Ohio. The school was founded in 2019 and has since grown to serve over 135 scholars. Students attend in-person 5 days a week for a modified hybrid learning model that uses station rotation for personalized and blended learning. The school offers small classroom sizes with modern, open workspaces to facilitate collaboration. The hybrid model was modified to meet the needs of the local community, allowing students to stay onsite for the entire school day. The school also offers various volunteer and community service opportunities.

Partnering with StrongMind

Valor Ohio came to StrongMind for a high-quality digital curriculum, a Learning Management System (LMS) to support its modified hybrid model, a Student Information System (SIS), and marketing services to promote the school and recruit new students. 

Students and teachers use StrongMind digital curriculum for English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and electives. Courses engage students with rich media and interactives, including videos with closed captioning and transcripts. Learners of all types are supported with opt-in scaffolds like read-aloud, translation for up to 18 languages, a digital dictionary, and annotations marking key concepts, terms, and other relevant information. 

StrongMind digital curriculum also includes robust teacher resources that support the hybrid environment, saving teachers time with lesson plans that align with digital activities. Teacher Resource Guides (TRG) include course resources such as a complete scope and sequence; a graphic organizer library; activity-specific resources including lesson plans and grading/scoring information; and guidelines for authentic project-based learning.

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Student promoting grades at Valor Ohio

Valor Academy of Ohio uses StrongMind's PowerSchool SIS and PowerSchool Enrollment to enroll students, streamline attendance processes, and provide comprehensive reporting and data for administrators and educators. 

StrongMind has supported Valor Ohio in growing the school with digital and traditional marketing that includes a brand new website, social media content, organizing and promoting open houses, and print collateral such as postcards, branded letters to families in the community, and flyers. In addition, StrongMind helped Valor Ohio recruit highly qualified, certified teachers through social media marketing, website content, and print and digital recruitment flyers. 


The Model

Students in grades 4-8 receive a tuition-free, high-quality education that leverages StrongMind digital curriculum. Students attend Valor Ohio for in-person learning 5 days a week and engage in a station rotation model that includes direct instruction, small group learning, one-on-one instruction, and project-based learning. StrongMind provides real-time insights so teachers can closely track all student progress in their independent learning, leading to more personalized learning that may include intervention, remediation, and/or extension activities. 

The hybrid model affords Valor Ohio more flexibility in providing a robust catalog of elective offerings appealing to the personal interests of students and encouraging them to build more agency in their learning. Small-group activities and collaboration let students and teachers build rich relationships. According to Valor Academy of Ohio Executive Director Marvis McGowan, “Valor’s founders firmly believe that students are most impressionable in the middle grades and are developing the social and learning skills they will take into high school and beyond. Our teachers can discover what motivates students and guide them to success.”

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The Outcomes

Students and teachers thrive at Valor Academy of Ohio. The 2022-23 school year had many highlights:
  • The Columbus Dispatch featured Valor Ohio in a story about teacher shortages, showing how the hybrid model continues attracting highly-qualified, certified teachers due to small class sizes and great flexibility in teaching and learning
  • The Ohio Department of Education rated Valor Ohio as 3 out of 5 stars on their school report card — which is higher than surrounding schools — showing an attendance rate of 81.3%
  • The Ohio Department of Education found Valor Academy of Ohio 100% compliant for special education.
  • Students with excellent attendance and/or academic standing were treated to a field trip to a National Hockey League hockey game
  • Students attended an off-broadway performance of Hamilton at the Ohio Theater
  • Valor Ohio participated in or facilitated several community events:
    • Earth Day celebration during their open house — Valor built a community garden where students can plant vegetables and herbs.
    • In addition to the community garden, Soleil White —2023 USA National Miss Heart of Ohio — visited students to discuss her initiative, Grow Your Magic." She also donated backpacks and school supplies to Valor Ohio students!
    • A Student Success Walk in which teachers, parents, and students participated
    • Valor Ohio held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of their first Bookworm Vending Machine™, promoting literacy for students
Students at Valor Ohio celebrating Earth Day with a new community garden

Project-based learning is a key element to the success at Valor Ohio. StrongMind supports authentic project-based learning with a library of projects designed for students to think critically, apply skills and concepts to real-world problems, and demonstrate an understanding of complex course content. To support teachers, StrongMind provides project guides that include explicit directions and plans for completing a project, a schedule and pacing guide, materials lists, and grading guidance. Teachers guide students step-by-step as they complete projects, allowing them to identify any concepts a student might struggle with and determine how to support or re-engage them.

[sample project? Yes]

StrongMind has over 20 years of experience supporting hybrid schools and districts in K-12. We know what it takes to build strong communities within flexible learning environments and elevate the learning experience for students.