By definition, the word hybrid means “composed of mixed parts.” Until now, that has meant two parts: in school – where we largely haven’t been since mid-March – and at home.

When COVID-19 hit, we shut the classroom door and jumped into virtual learning with virtually no planning. Planning includes, but is not limited to, physical preparation and measures, social adaptation, ensuring emotional well-being, reassessing traditional educational standards – seeing them through a new lens – and having flexible systems ready.

In spite of most parties’ best efforts, results were abysmal.

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Now, with the nation’s back-to-school plans forming, we have the chance to add critical nuance and dimension to hybrid learning and set ourselves up for a higher level of success. The biggest mistake we can make is to replicate what we had done before – the physical school paradigm or the virtual experiment we were forced to construct this past spring.

There’s no denying that hybrid, or blended, learning will usher in the 2020-21 school year, and potentially stay for the foreseeable future. The good news is that we’ve learned a lot since March that we can put to good use.

Even more promising is that we are not locked into how we did things in the past, because the past is no longer an option. It is time to deliberately shape hybrid learning to maximize success for students, teachers, and families.

About the Author:

Ronald Chaluisán Batlle is the Executive Director of the Newark Trust for Education.

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