“Four years ago, I had no idea” of blended learning, says Hawkins. “But now it’s given me new life as a teacher.”
Hawkins has redesigned her approach to teaching math, having students rotate through stations and spending part of their time learning online and the other part working with her in small groups. She also has designed a summer math program and a website with “playlists” of different activities and assignments students can do on their own and in groups.
“The more I know about blended learning and how to use it, the more I realize I need to learn, but I would rather have it that way,” says Hawkins.
While it will be months, or even years, before DCPS schools can point to the long-term effects of using blended learning, administrators here are confident that the program is helping students excel. From 2012 to 2014, Ketcham Elementary School, in Southeast D.C., saw an 11-point increase in its math proficiency rate and a 4.5-point increase in reading. And, over a three-year period, Stanton Elementary School, also in Southeast D.C., doubled its percentage of students proficient in reading while tripling its percentage of students proficient in math.
The district’s goal is to develop a blended learning feeder pattern so students have continued exposure to blended learning throughout their academic career. Currently, students at Randle Highlands and Ketcham will use some form of blended learning throughout their years in the district, since they are the feeder schools to Kramer Middle School and Anacostia High School, both of which have blended-learning programs.
“We’ve seen a real culture shift here and I suspect that we’ll see continued changes and a lot of success as we build up our blended learning program and the content for the students,” Rose says. “It’s a strong move forward.”
Lucille Renwick is a contributing writer for eSchool News.
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