Customer Story

Building a Sense of Community in Online Learning With Class

Laurel Springs School has been using online asynchronous learning since 1991. Now, they trust Class to enrich their live, synchronous virtual program—building connections and fostering a sense of belonging between students, teachers, and administrators.



teachers from 41 U.S. states


countries represented in the student body


time zones represented


years of online asynchronous learning (since 1991)


The ChallengeIncreasing connection and belonging for students

Laurel Springs School, a private online school, recognized education technology was evolving—which meant their school could too. Through feedback from students and monitoring student behaviors, administrators identified gaps in their existing virtual learning program that could be addressed by live, synchronous learning opportunities. They wanted to increase connection and belonging for students in class together—to emphasize a shared community. To do this, they sought a platform that offered more live interaction to build unique moments in time between students and teachers.

“We have an increasing population of students that are looking for interactive moments, academic moments, where they can be connecting with their peers and their teachers around the globe,” begins Renée Mindek, Dean of Student Engagement at Laurel Springs. “And as a school, we were looking for the kind of dynamic and engaging platform that would feel like a meaningful and purposeful classroom in a digital space.” Laurel Springs School needed a virtual learning partner who could enrich their program while integrating easily into outstanding workflows and systems.

The SolutionPartnering with a student-focused online learning provider

After doing product demonstrations with Class team professionals, Laurel Springs identified a pilot group of eighth grade students. These students were enhancing their school year with a live interactive course about being consumers of critical information. The group tested out Class’s environment in a small pilot of critical thinkers for the larger student body.

“Class was very interested in hearing our students’ perspectives and listening to their suggestions,” shares Renée. “That speaks so much to the moment that we’re in, where students have become our partners in collaborating on how to solve the problems that education faces now.”

“Class allows for that learner-centered, student-focused learning environment that a flatter, less dynamic online experience was offering us,” adds Sarah Clancy, a teacher at Laurel Springs.

“That’s really what drew us to Class. That feeling of being in a space that is interactive and student-centered. Students are able to come together in an active, participatory way.”
portrait of renée mindek of laurel springs school
Renée Mindek, Dean of Student Engagement, Laurel Springs School
Easy-to-use technology

“Class makes my life easier as a teacher. The ability to see all of my students, knowing we’re going to have discussions and actively engage in our topic for the day. Class makes that really easy. I can view all their work together, so I can quickly see the areas that require me to dig a little deeper, ask more questions to build clarification, or maybe partner kids in a breakout. It’s all there right in one application,” explains Sarah.

“In Class, I’m able to chat to students individually and check in with them. Or maybe I notice that a student hasn’t turned their camera on and so I have the opportunity to chat directly to them and say, ‘Hey, you doing okay today? I’d love to see your face.’ So the chat feature is a really important one,” shares Sarah.

“It is virtually impossible for students to have their cameras off because there are all sorts of ways to keep them accountable to what’s happening in Class and doing so can help build relationships at the same time. Class also syncs with your learning management system so your attendance is taken care of,” says Sarah.

“Class has figured out how to make the student-teacher experience as real life as possible. It allows for a lot of informal opportunities to engage with students. That might look like me setting up a poll or giving them a short answer question at the beginning of class so I can check in to confirm that they read what I asked them to prepare for class,” notes Sarah.

The ResultEnabling more meaningful virtual learning experiences

By adding Class to their already-successful online learning program, Laurel Springs developed a better online learning experience for students, educators, and administrators. Choosing a flexible solution like Class empowered Laurel Springs to increase connection and belonging, spur live interaction, and create community and meaningful relationships outside synchronous class time.

“We realized that our students not only wanted but needed to have some consistent community and interaction with their peers. And being able to offer that now, as part of our learning model is critical for us. We want to have our students have very full, meaningful lives, and with that, we know that they have to have some live interactive moments on a consistent basis. So it’s very exciting for us to be able to bring that to our school and to be able to do it with a platform like Class where it’s going to be impactful and meaningful to the students right away,” shares Renée.

“An asynchronous school environment has a ton of benefits. The flexibility, the ability to do it anywhere, the way in which we have an international population and students are logging in to do their work at all hours of the day. The synchronous opportunities that Class affords us brings students together with that academic focus and an opportunity to have those really active learning experiences that students strive to engage with,” concludes Sarah.

With Class, Laurel Springs School is:

Improving relationships among students and teachers

“Students formed meaningful relationships with each other and with their teacher because of the engaging ways they came together in the Class space. It’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience for our students,” shares Renée.

Bringing lesson plans to life online

“Our teachers found that the Class technology was intuitive. They can tell it comes from people who know what students and educators need, from taking attendance to tracking participation,” boasts Renée.

Increasing student engagement from anywhere

“Tracking talk time with Class technology is even better than in a live setting because as teachers, we’re trying to get to everybody. We’re trying to make sure that every voice is heard. With the talk time tracking, we see which students are eagerly participating and which students need to be brought back into the conversation. Teachers are able to see if our students are paying attention and doing the activity,” says Renée.

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