FUSION EDUCATION REPORT 2021
Contents A Note From Fusion Leadership
Schoolwide Learner Outcomes
Year in Review
Our 2019-20 Student Population
• Relationship Building
• Emotional Support
• Academic Thriving
• Student Engagement
• Academic Confidence
• Academic Success
• Social Confidence
Results of Long-Term Enrollment
• Improving Positive Relationships
• Achieving Goals
Class of 2020
Fusion Global Academy
A Note From Fusion Leadership Dear Fusion families, friends, and teammates, The 2019-2020 school year was unlike any other, so it may surprise you that this report looks relatively similar to years past. When COVID-19 hit, we had the strong foundation in place to adapt quickly. We had been using virtual instruction technology previously and were able to switch to 100% online overnight with no interruptions in learning for our students. We heard repeatedly that this stability was a lifesaver for our families, and the data you’ll read in this report shows that stability. You’ll see that our personalized learning model, delivered in-person or virtually, resulted in academic, social, and emotional growth for our students. The stories and data in the following pages are possible because of the hard work of our campuses and especially our teacher/mentors. This year they have all gone above and beyond to ensure student safety and stability, and we’re incredibly proud to be a part of this amazing team of Fusionites. In this report, you’ll see data about growth and success, but you’ll also find hope. We’re so proud of the students behind these numbers and the amazing humans they are and are growing to be. Our world will be better because of them. With gratitude and hope,
Peter G. Ruppert
Fusion Education Group
Fusion Global Academy 3
About Fusion Fusion Academy is an accredited private school providing one-to-one, personalized education for grades 6-12 with full-time and part-time programs. Since 2007, Fusion has changed the lives of thousands of students and their families. By tailoring the educational experience to each student and leveraging their unique strengths, interests, and learning style, Fusion unlocks each student’s true potential.
Our Mission Guided by a fundamental belief in the immense potential within every person, our mission is to help each Fusion student flourish – emotionally, socially, and academically – through positive mentoring relationships and a personalized education experience.
Fusion Academy students will be: Resourceful individuals who…
Our Schoolwide learner outcomes
• • • • •
know how to seek out information are able to advocate on their own behalf participate in their own educations and lives are able to manage their time and prioritize their responsibilities are productive and creative problem-solvers
Compassionate individuals who… • recognize the value of their own and others’ unique strengths and challenges • wholeheartedly strive to build inclusive and connected communities • demonstrate curiosity and caring for the thoughts, beliefs, and perspectives of others
Emotionally secure individuals who… • • • •
exhibit empathy toward others understand the balance between systems and relationships have high self-worth communicate effectively
Independent, critical thinking individuals who… • • • • • •
possess literacy across multiple disciplines use higher-order thinking skills to problem-solve are effective oral and written communicators can work autonomously, collaboratively, and as a leader are life-long learners who demonstrate innovation and creativity engage in global discourse
The one-to-one classes allowed me to work at my own pace and learn about things I was truly interested in. Every teacher I had at Fusion was incredible. They were all so experienced in the topics they taught and incredibly enthusiastic, which made learning fun. Without Fusion Academy, I never would have gotten into my dream school that I now attend, Fordham University in New York City. A lot of people wonder if I had difficulty making friends when I tell them I went to such a unique and small school, but for me, that was not the case; I made lifelong friends. Overall, Fusion Academy was absolutely the right choice for me, and I am so grateful for the time I spent there. Olivia Valkenburg, Fusion Alumna
Year in Review Fusion is designed to support the needs of diverse learners. We meet students where they are and help them thrive. While most 2019-2020 Fusion Academy students had above-average academic skills, many reported struggling in their previous school environments for a variety of reasons. Through our thoughtfully designed approach of â€œLove, Motivate, Teach,â€? we help students of all types better understand themselves and envision the kind of future they have the power to create.
Fusion Academy 2019-2020 School Year
Served 6,246 middle and high school
Across 17 states and Washington, D.C.
Campuses and graduated
A snapshot of our 2019-20 student population In the 2019-20 school year, many students came to Fusion feeling unsupported, disconnected, disengaged, unheard, and unsafe. Despite strong academic abilities, they often lacked confidence, struggled socially, and experienced school-related conflict with their families. While every student is unique, each learns best when they feel safe, cared for, engaged, and confident. This report shows that students quickly begin to flourish in the Fusion school environment. We believe our focus on creating positive, authentic relationships â€” fostered by our one-to-one learning model â€” is key to unlocking academic and personal potential.
Before Fusion: 82% did not receive the ACADEMIC SUPPORT NEEDED at their previous school
69% Lacked confidence in their ability to learn the material
54% did not feel comfortable being themselves
69% did not enjoy participating in social activities and only 49% participated in activities at their previous school 10
When asked what they wanted out of their Fusion experience, most students said they desired a good education, more confidence, and to pursue their goals.
I would like to learn more about topics that interest me and feel safer to ask more questions in class. Also getting homework done before I get home, and subsequently not have as much back and forth with my parents about my homework!
An education without extreme amounts of stress.
I hope to have a good education, relationships with both peers and my teachers, and be prepared for my future.
FALL 2019 FUSION ACADEMY MAP SCORES 33%
33% 26% 19%
1st - 20th percentile 21st - 40th percentile 41st - 60th percentile 61st - 80th percentile 81st - 99th percentile
The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test is a nationally-normed, independent assessment developed by NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association). It is given to students when they first begin attending Fusion full-time. This assessment covers three areas: Language Usage, Mathematics, and Reading. The results of this test allow Fusion to have a more accurate sense of student strengths and gaps in knowledge or skills.
Real Results Survey results from hundreds of students and parents1 affirm that Fusion students experience life-changing shifts that result in long-term transformation. By first establishing positive, authentic relationships and then customizing the entire educational experience, Fusion helps students reverse their patterns of disconnection and disengagement. When Fusion students feel safe and understood, they fully engage in their personalized learning process. This allows them to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. Fusionâ€™s revolutionary approach focuses on the success of the whole student â€” relationally, academically, socially, and emotionally. In this section, we share our results in four key areas:
1. Relationship Building 2. Emotional Support 3. Academic Thriving 4. Social Confidence
Survey reflects responses from approximately 1,650 students (gathered in March-June of 2020) and approximately 1,650 parents (gathered in March-April of 2020)
Relationship Building POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS 93%
Felt listened to and treated with respect by their teachers
of parents report that their child has positive relationships with his/her teachers.
Felt listened to and treated with respect by their administrators
Felt cared about by adults at school
After 3 months at Fusion
At Fusion, every educational journey begins with the relationship between student and teacher. In the 2019-2020 school year, our students quickly developed more positive relationships with Fusion faculty and administration than they experienced at their previous schools.
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT Students Who Highly Prioritize Emotional Support 87%
Like adults, many adolescents struggle with emotions: the fear of failure, the search for social belonging, or the aftermath of negative experiences. These challenges can be painful and lonely to navigate. They also make it difficult to focus on and engage in school.
Fusion teachers use their training as mentors to ensure students are emotionally supported, clearing the path for them to learn. Not all students come to Fusion seeking emotional support, but we identified a subset of students in our data who recognized emotional support as a high priority or essential. Of these students, only 27 percent felt they received the emotional support needed at their previous school. At Fusion, the number quickly soared to 87 percent. Research in neuroscience tells us that a person must feel safe in order to learn. When students experience fear, stress, or anxiety in school, they not only have difficulty learning, but they also associate negative emotions with it that can lead to a neurobiological aversion to school.
Before Fusion After 3 months at Fusion
Felt they were receiving the emotional support they needed
Classes I was never interested in before are now my favorites because of the teachers. 2020 Student Mid-Year Survey Response
92% of Fusion parents report that their child is
Positive changes in mindset and academic behaviors yield positive changes in learning outcomes. Once trusting relationships and a safe environment are established, Fusion students experience a reawakening of curiosity, an infusion of confidence, and a positive connection to school. Teaching in a one-to-one setting and customizing each course builds on this foundation and shifts the way students relate to learning. This sets students on an upward trajectory toward academic flourishing.
2019-2020 STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
Likely to ask questions or offer thoughts in class What theyâ€™re learning is related to their interests Frequently excited or curious about something new Able to explore creative interests Had fun at school
47% 95% 31% 84% 43% 85% 42% 87% 31% 66% Before Fusion
Enrolled at Fusion
STUDENT ENGAGEMENT 100%
0% 6th Grade
Student Engagement When a student’s interest is captured, they are more likely to persist through challenges, retain new information, and pursue learning independently. If you’ve ever seen how quickly a teenager learns to navigate a new app, you’ve seen this in action! Learning is always most effective when students are intrinsically motivated by an interest in, or personal connection to, a subject. Fusion teachers personalize learning by leveraging each student’s creative and personal interests. This sparks curiosity and excitement for learning, and it results in dramatic increases in student engagement.
Engagement at Fusion
After just three months at Fusion, 86 percent of students describe themselves as frequently excited or curious about something new; 95 percent take the initiative to ask questions or offer thoughts in class. At Fusion, student engagement is not only higher than the national average, it is consistently high across all grades. Student engagement is critical to success in high school and a strong predictor of postsecondary outcomes. According to national data from the 2016 Gallup Student Poll, student engagement is a persistent problem and rapidly declines by grade across the country.2 This is in contrast to Fusion student engagement, which starts high and remains steady throughout high school.
2 Based on a 2016 poll of ~ 3,000 students nationally. Gallup defines engagement as “the involvement in and enthusiasm for school.” Fusion student engagement is based on an index of the first four questions shown in the previous graph (n=1,641).
Academic Confidence Reigniting studentsâ€™ belief in themselves is as important as finding the right classes, teachers, content, and teaching styles. Students who are confident in their ability to learn perform better in a post-secondary environment.3 This positive mindset is also critical to being a lifelong learner. At Fusion, student confidence soars as they experience success as learners. Nearly 70% of students lacked confidence in their ability to learn when they started at Fusion, but that begins to change within a matter of weeks upon starting classes at Fusion. Student confidence in their ability to learn also increases the longer they are enrolled at Fusion.
CONFIDENCE AS A LEARNER: INCREASE OVER TIME 4.05
Scale of 1-5
of parents report that their child is more confident overall since attending Fusion.
of parents believe their child is more successful academically at Fusion compared to their previous school.
4.00 3.95 3.90
of students say they are proud of the work they do at Fusion.
Less than three months
Four to six months
Seven to twelve months
One to two years
More than two years
Length of Enrollment at Fusion
Nagaoka, J., Farrington, C.A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Keyes, T.S., Johnson, D.W., Beechum, N.O. (2013). Readiness for college: the role of noncognitive factors and context. Voices in Urban Education, 38(45-52). 3
Academic success The connections Fusion teachers form with students not only create an environment of safety and support, but also an opportunity to customize their teaching style and content as they get to know the students. Fusion teachers set their students up for success and reverse the pattern of failure by adjusting their pace, approach, and assignments to target each student’s needs and ensure mastery of the curriculum. A student’s academic mindset, behaviors, and learning are all strengthened when supported academically in the right school setting. The majority of our students said they weren’t getting the academic support they needed prior to Fusion. After a few short months, 98 percent said that they are getting the academic support they need to be successful. Learning soars and students take pride in their accomplishments when they are engaged in the classroom, feel confident about themselves as learners, and regularly complete school work.
Fusion has been helpful in so many ways. My communication skills have improved, I have a great interest in my academics, and I feel supported by staff, teachers, and peers. It is a comfortable and safe place to express yourself without judgment. It celebrates the parts of our identity that the world and society often convince us to hide. 2020 Student Mid-Year Survey Response
ACADEMIC SUPPORT 89%
18% Before Fusion
After 3 months at Fusion
Getting the academic support they need to be successful
Positive psychology suggests that a sense of positive accomplishment is key to overall well-being.4 For students with a history of negative experiences such as academic failure, bullying, and/or social/ emotional issues – all of which are typically marked by or result in feelings of worthlessness – believing in themselves is scary. Self-deprecation can be a survival mechanism for adolescents. High self-worth, on the other hand, requires trusting that you no longer need those defense mechanisms. It requires vulnerability, a safe space to explore, and the tools to effectively build confidence. Fusion students who experienced a pattern of academic failure at their previous school have been able to reverse that trend and find success in all academic subject areas. 4
Seligman, Martin E. P. Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. 2013.
The way that Fusion teaches me takes my academic experience to a whole new level. I am excited to go to school every day. 2020 Student Mid-Year Survey Response
Homework Homework is a common struggle for students before coming to Fusion, but it quickly resolves itself through the structure and support of our Homework Café®. This dedicated space on campus provides students with easy access to teachers and resources that support their success. Fusion students begin to shift their relationship with homework in as little as a few weeks through a positive Homework Café® experience.
STUDENT PERCEPTION OF THE HOMEWORK CAFÉ ® Less than 3 months after enrollment
It’s easy to get help from teachers
I know how to find the resources I need
Doing homework on campus throughout the day helps students reinforce learning shortly after class and develops executive functioning skills like time management, organization, and prioritization. Students who complete their homework not only flourish academically but also are free to enjoy their time outside of school. These academic behaviors are key predictors of success in college.5 5
Nagaoka, J., Farrington, C. A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Keyes, T. S., Johnson, D. W., et al. (2013). Readiness for College: The role of
22 noncognitive factors and context. College Readiness Indicator Systems, 45.
Fusion is literally the best place ever. I love being at the Fusion campus with all my friends. Fusion saved me, and now I’m very successful. 2020 Student Mid-Year Survey Response
Fusion has helped me come out of my shell. I used to be afraid to ask questions and be confident, but Fusion has helped me so much, and I feel much better about both now. 2020 Student Mid-Year Survey Response
Fusion creates a safe, supportive environment that fosters positive relationships among students. Fusion recognizes that it takes time for adolescents to gain confidence and develop social skills. Our trained Homework CafĂŠÂŽ staff evaluate what students need and create opportunities for them to flourish socially and academically. By providing clubs, offering engaging activities, and working closely with students, our teacher/mentors are able to provide immediate and ongoing feedback to support social and emotional growth for our students. The longer students stay at Fusion Academy, the more likely they are to participate in social activities.
83% feel quite
or completely safe
by other students
89% of Fusion Alumni agreed or strongly agreed that they Gained
86% feel they have
friendships with other students
79% feel comfortable
while at Fusion. 23
We have been a Fusion Family for two years and cannot imagine a day without their incredible approach to education. Our 11th grader has been at Fusion almost since the school opened in our city. Our son needs to ask questions without slowing down a larger class of students. He is a true thinker and needs to discuss rationales and ideas with his teachers. Fusion offers that and more. One-to-one classes have not hindered his social life. He has flourished academically and socially at Fusion. Kim Moore, Fusion Parent
Results of long-term enrollment 25
Improved positive relationships
Students tell us the connections with their teachers matter and have led to increased comfort in communicating with the adults in their lives. Our 2019 Student Survey shows the longer students experience positive relationships at Fusion, the more confident they are in advocating for themselves. According to Gallup Poll research, the most important elements for student success are having someone who cares about their development and having an opportunity to do what they do best every day (Busteed, B. Gallup Business Journal, 2014). In our one-to-one classrooms, teachers provide students with opportunities to learn and to demonstrate essential life competencies, including communication skills that translate into greater student advocacy.
LONG-TERM IMPACT OF POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
Scale of 1-5
Feeling Connected to Teachers
Comfort Communicating with Adults
Comfort Advocating for Yourself
My son struggled for years to find the right fit for school. The passion and commitment of the teachers and administrators at Fusion is something I haven’t seen anywhere. They are so committed to these kids and they treat them all individually, encourage their specific strengths, and support them in their challenges. I can’t say enough positive things about our experience at Fusion—they truly care about these kids. Stephen Kessler, Fusion Parent
Less than Four to six Seven to One to two Two to three three months months twelve months years years
higher Goal Achievement
According to Dr. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, â€œThe gold standard for measuring well-being is flourishingâ€? (2012). At Fusion, each student creates a minimum of three goals that are supported by Fusion faculty members. At least twice per year, students do a self-assessment on their progress toward achieving their goals. Teachers also review goal progression and implement ongoing support strategies for each student.
PURSUIT OF GOALS 76% 58%
Persisted in working toward a goal
Motivated to work toward goals
Before Fusion After 3 months at Fusion
Viewed challenges as opportunities
81% of Fusion Alumni reported that Fusion prepared them well to be
Class of 2020: Bright Futures While success is defined differently for each Fusion student, one thing is true: our goal is to help them discover and pursue their own unique path.
academically successful in college.
For many students, this means finding the right four-year college or university — not just the school that sounds best on paper, but the one that allows them to flourish. Our students are accepted by and attend a wide array of public and private schools, ranging in size, geographic location, and areas of specialty and training. At Fusion, we are committed to helping students find the path that’s right for them. This sometimes means pursuing highly specific interests that may be best developed outside the traditional college model. We help connect students to local opportunities, internships, specialized programs, and/ or certifications to develop their expertise and launch their careers. For example, one of our recent graduates was accepted to the Mark Kislingbury Academy for Court Reporting. Another chose to attend E.I. School of Professional Makeup for special effects makeup. A few students decided to take gap years — one is spending her year working with AmeriCorps, and another is headed to Israel to study Hebrew, do community service, and work for a lifestyle blog.
96% of Fusion students go on to college. According to our 2019 Alumni Survey, 70% attended a 4-year college, and 26% attended a community college or technical college.
Sample of College and University Acceptances Top-tier schools Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford, Columbia, Brown, Vanderbilt, Cornell, Georgetown, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and Northwestern Small, liberal arts schools Dartmouth College, Sarah Lawrence College, Wesleyan University, Goucher College, Trinity University, Bard College, and Loyola Marymount University Large state universities New York University (NYU), University of California (UCLA, UC Berkeley), University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Ohio State University, University of Virginia, Texas A & M University, Penn State, North Carolina State University, and Arizona State University Some of the best fine and performing arts schools in the country Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, California Institute of the Arts, Pratt Institute, Berklee College of Music, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Tisch School of the Arts, and The Juilliard School
Technological and technical-vocational schools Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, DigiPen Institute of Technology, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of Sciences, and New York Film Academy
Fusion Global Academy
OUR NEW 100% VIRTUAL SCHOOL In 2020, we launched Fusion Global Academy (FGA), our 100% virtual school. Long before other schools were scrambling to move online, we had been planning for this option. FGA offers the same life-changing personalized education in a virtual environment. Beyond the classroom, they have a thriving community in their Global Homework Café that includes clubs, field trips, events, and more. Students and families alike have been thrilled with this new option. We are excited to see Fusion Global Academy continue to grow and look forward to sharing incredible success data in next year’s Education Impact Report.
Our daughter could not face the prospect of returning to her public middle school for 8th grade. She craved being pushed to her academic limits, and public school couldn’t challenge her enough. After much evaluation and conversation, it was clear that Fusion Global Academy suited her in every way the independence of learning from home while the chance to be pushed to her unique limits. She opted to attend year-round so that her schedule would be consistent and she could take more courses than 8th grade required. She is off to an amazing start, and the experience has even exceeded our expectations (which were high). Her instant rapport with her teachers has led to her embracing her class time with them as well as her homework assignments. She went from a sullen, sad child who was convinced that school would always bore her to a smiling, excited child who is confident she will be pushed to her potential. Wynne Brown Fusion Global Academy Parent