Blended Learning | News

Washington DC Middle School Switching to Blended Learning Model

Kramer Middle School in Washington, DC, will launch a blended learning model in the 2012-13 school year, and it has selected Adaptive Curriculum to provide courses in the areas of math and science. Students at the school will participate in traditional classes 50 percent of the time, and the rest they will take online.

The program will also be deployed in three other Washington, DC, schools: MacFarland Middle School, Johnson Middle School, and Shaw Middle School.

Kramer Principal Kwame Simmons initiated the new hybrid model in order to meet the following goals set out in the school district's five-year strategic plan:

  • Improve college readiness with an increased emphasis on 21st century skills;
  • More focus on science, technology, engineering, and math; and
  • Boost student engagement with educational technology and a strong curriculum.

"We conducted a great deal of research on school improvement models, curriculum, instructional delivery, and technology," said Simmons. "Adaptive Curriculum immediately rose to the top as a solution we knew would help us achieve our goals. Their deep conceptual learning approach is based on an active learning pedagogy that provides the content, resources and strategies to help teachers engage students, dispel common misconceptions, and emphasize real-world connections in math and science. It's exactly the approach we need to engage and motivate our students and take them to the next level."

The school will pay for the deployment with Race to the Top funds and a school improvement grant, and teachers will begin training in June.

Adaptive Curriculum, which is appropriate for grades 6-12, provides hundreds of activity objects, such as interactive simulations, graphics, and 3D models. They are aligned to textbook, Common Core, and state standards. It also includes assessments by student and assignment at the end of each activity, and printable activity sheets. Lessons can be presented on interactive whiteboards, and assigned to either groups or individual students.

"Based on what the research shows, I strongly believe that this new blended learning model will help us reach and even exceed our goals," said Simmons. "This model speaks to students because of the technology, of course, but it combines that with the guidance of a caring and qualified teacher. For the teachers, it will help automate various tasks and provide more time to focus on what they do best--guide, direct, and mentor their students."

Kramer Middle School, in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, DC, has nearly 300 enrolled students.

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About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.