Small K-4 School Revives Its Academics With Hybrid Learning Initiative
Three years ago, Spring
City Elementary School was in a tough
situation. The K-4 school of 120 students in the economically
Pennsylvania town with a population of 3,300 was the only one in the Spring-Ford Area School
District that had failed to make progress as defined by
the No Child
Left Behind program.
Keith Floyd, director of curriculum and instruction
district, said he knew he had to do something dramatic — and he did. The
invested $300,000 in iPads, desktop computers, Apple TVs and white
boards, fully commiting to hybrid learning.
Today, every student, from kindergarten through grade 4, spends a large part of each day somehow involved in digital
They move constantly back and forth, often as frequently as every 15 or
minutes, from independent work with their iPads to small group
one-on-one interaction with their teachers.
District representatives said test scores have improved and,
the new technology played a role, it was more than that, according to
"It wasn't about technology, but about our
told the Philadelphia Enquirer. "We wanted to change the model of how we do business."
At any given moment now, fourth-grade teacher Deborah
might have a handful of students sitting at computers, reading and
vocabulary and comprehension questions about what they just read, while
others are using their iPads to research essays she has assigned them.
Eaton herself is likely to be working with another handful of students
writing of those essays.
The individual attention she is now able to give the
thanks to the additional use of technology, has made all the difference,
"I feel I know my students better now than in any
in my teaching career," Eaton told the paper.
The Spring-Ford Area School District plans to
pilot program in hybrid learning to more of its schools.
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.