Pennsylvania's Acting Secretary of Education Says Hybrid Learning Benefits Students; Highlights Success of First-Year Pilot Program

LEBANON, Pa., Oct. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following a successful first-year pilot of the hybrid learning initiative in 15 schools across the state, Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn C. Dumaresq today visited Lebanon High School to see how the program works and encourage all schools across the state to consider use of the program in their classrooms.

"Hybrid learning melds together three learning models that are designed to provide a deeper understanding of course content and material, resulting in improved student academic performance," Dumaresq said. "Providing students alternative learning methods to be successful is the goal of this program. Schools that have implemented hybrid learning into their classrooms are to be applauded for bringing together technology and personalized learning for the benefit of students."

During the 2012-13 school year, 15 schools piloted hybrid learning in several classrooms.  Results show that the pilot schools met or exceeded program goals in academic performance, student engagement, parent confidence and teacher satisfaction.

Among pilot schools, 88 percent achieved higher academic performance in hybrid classes compared to traditional classes in the same district or statewide benchmarks, 75 percent reported better academic achievement, and all of them met or exceeded academic growth.

Hybrid learning integrates new instructional technologies with proven teaching techniques to deliver a more personalized learning experience for students to master three skills essential to succeed in the modern economy: using technology, working in teams, and learning independently.

Hybrid learning also combines three methods of learning into one classroom – instruction from the teacher, group activities, and self-instruction through digital content.

Through direct instruction, teachers can focus on smaller groups of students for lessons. This allows teachers to have more one-on-one time with each student.

At the same time, a separate group of students is learning independently in an online environment by using digital content, quizzes and other tools. This model provides teachers with real-time data about their students' understanding and performance so they can focus instruction accordingly.

Additionally, a third group of students participate in a collaborative group activity corresponding to that day's lesson to reinforce new content, helping to build teamwork, leadership and interpersonal skills.

"We are very pleased with our test results," said Dr. Marianne Bartley, superintendent, Lebanon School District. "This school year, we are broadening our approach and offering hybrid learning to all of the students in Lebanon High School. Our teachers and district are committed to offering the best learning experience possible to our students."

"The hybrid learning model gives our students a competitive advantage and strategically complements our one-to-one laptop initiative," said Jeffrey Starr, principal, Garden Spot Middle School, Eastern Lancaster County School District. "Students have come to expect technology integration in their lessons, and we need to be able to customize their education to meet the demand of 21st century learners. Hybrid learning does just that."

Hybrid learning does not replace teachers. It requires teachers to organize their classrooms in a different manner to educate students. In fact, hybrid learning helps teachers deliver instruction in small groups instead of large lectures.

Students who participated in the program during the 2012-13 school year indicated a high level of satisfaction with hybrid learning and were more likely to engage in learning.

"I really enjoy the classroom experience that hybrid learning offers," said Alicia Haitos, a Lebanon High School junior who first encountered hybrid learning in her core classes during the 2012-13 academic year. "I found that the hybrid program gave a more hands-on approach and allowed more students to be successful in the classroom. The way the three rotations smoothly intermingled and corresponded really emphasized what you were learning and stressed the important level of the materials at hand. The hybrid setup kept everyone engaged, leaving the classroom a new, more fun place for learning."

Media contacts:  Tim Eller, Department of Education, 717-783-9802
Bill Giovino, Lebanon School District, 717-821-6022
Jeffrey Starr, Eastern Lancaster County School District, 717-354-1563

Editor's note: Below are the 15 schools that piloted hybrid learning during the 2012-13 school year:

  • Allentown Central Catholic High School, Lehigh County;
  • Anderson School, Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, Montgomery County;
  • Crestwood High School, Crestwood School District, Luzerne County;
  • Dallas High School, Dallas School District, Luzerne County;
  • Garden Spot High School, Eastern Lancaster County School District, Lancaster County;
  • Garden Spot Middle School, Eastern Lancaster County School District, Lancaster County;
  • Hazleton Area High School, Hazleton Area School District, Luzerne County;
  • Lancaster County Alternative Education Program, Lancaster County;
  • Lebanon High School, Lebanon School District, Lebanon County;
  • Lower Dauphin High School, Lower Dauphin School District, Dauphin County;
  • Manheim Central Middle School, Manheim Central School District, Lancaster County;
  • Pottstown High School, Pottstown School District, Montgomery County;
  • Spring City Elementary School, Spring-Ford Area School District, Montgomery County;
  • West Side Career and Technology Center, Luzerne County; and
  • Wheatland Middle School, Lancaster School District, Lancaster County.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education



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