Academic Planning

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Academic Planning for Online and Blended Learning
(for Administrators)

Dates TBD

Academic Planning for Online and Blended Learning helps curricular leaders, department chairs, and senior administrators understand the academic implications, challenges, and advantages of online and blended learning for independent schools. The course covers the landscape of online and blended learning in the United States, the strategic academic decisions that schools face, and the practical implications of implementing online and blended programs in a school. During the course, participants are exposed to national leaders and experts in online learning, including (and most importantly) experts within the independent school community. This course is also appropriate for schools that are beginning to incorporate online or blended learning into their curriculum, or who are contemplating doing so.

This course could be run as either a fully online or blended course. Participants will complete four weeks of online coursework (averaging four hours of work for each week). Online coursework will be fully asynchronous, allowing participants to schedule their own involvement in the course over a given week. With this course, there is an option to have an in-person workshop, which is suggested to be scheduled around the IBSC Annual Conference (if an in-person workshop is desired).

What participants had to say

“For people who are novices to or explorers of the multiple aspects of blended and online learning, this course provides a useful pathway. The modules are clearly structured and offer opportunities for a school's participants to think both widely and deeply. The course leaders are communicative, experienced, and able to facilitate effectively while also being frank. The class can help people push forward in a reflective manner, without any sense that there has to be one better way or any singular, predetermined outcome.” –Administrator from Seattle, Washington

“This course raises the questions, responds with the research and application, and encourages collaboration with others moving in the same direction.” – Head of School from Memphis, Tennessee

Course Facilitators: Lorri Palko and Brad Rathgeber

Lorri Palko is a strategic, creative, and analytical leader. She has spent her career combining both her leadership and financial skills to help manufacturing businesses and non-profits align and transform their missions. Lorri spent over twenty years in the business sector, serving as President of two different manufacturing companies, both with annual sales of over $200 million and over 1,000 employees. In 2001, Lorri joined the Atlanta Girls’ School as a teacher and coach. Soon thereafter, Lorri began to serve as the School's Associate Head. Lorri currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer at One Schoolhouse.

Brad Rathgeber is the Executive Director of the One Schoolhouse. Brad has been a leader in online and blended learning for independent schools for the last six years, having been a founder of the first online independent school in 2009. He is a frequent presenter at regional, national and international conferences, and has been quoted on the topic in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and on PBS. Brad holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina, where he was a Morehead Scholar, and a graduate degree from Dartmouth College. Prior to his work in online and blended learning, Brad was an administrator at Holton-Arms School.

Unit Plan

  • Unit 1: Deep Dive - The Changing Landscape of Online and Blended Learning
  • Unit 2: Academic Directions and Standards
  • Unit 3: Faculty Support and Guidelines
  • Unit 4: Resources to Facilitate Changer


  • $445 (USD) for participants from IBSC Member Schools
  • $525 (USD) for all other participants