Spring City Elementary Hybrid Learning School welcomed parents and the community into the school on the afternoon of October 15 to show off the new hybrid learning setup.
The program officially launched on September 18, and principal Mitchel Edmunds is very pleased with how the launch is going so far.
"I'm most impressed with how excited the kids and parents are," Edmunds said. "We've gotten lots of positive feedback from parents."
Librarian Mary DeAngelis was showing off the Smart Board already installed in the media center. One student was sorting objects by touch for a lesson in magnets, and a second student sorted library books by call number.
All the classrooms will be getting Smart Boards and iPads within weeks, which will add to the teaching methods that teachers can use.
Edmunds said Spring City was the ideal candidate for the pilot program because there is only one class per grade.
Each class is broken up into groups and rotates through three stations in the classroom: computer stations, a collaborative learning group and direct instruction by the teacher.
Teachers get constant feedback on how students are doing with each lesson, test scores, and many other data points such as how long they spend doing a task.
First grade teacher Gay Snyder explained that she can give each student a pre-test in subjects like math and reading, and then tailor their lessons to their level.
"We get progress reports on everything they're doing," Snyder said.
Laura Bonner, the fourth grade teacher, said the great part about the software is that she can teach the same lesson regardless of a student's ability.
"I have the key concepts, and I can assign an article through [the software] Achieve 3000. Each article has versions for all reading levels, so the students get all the same information," Bonner said.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Keith Floyd told Patch that the teachers have told him that the differentiated instruction is the best part.
"Teachers have said this changes their process of planning. They can make changes on the fly, with the live data they're getting," said Steve Reynolds, director of technology.
Floyd said that there have been glitches, but that issues were expected.
"The good thing is, there's no blueprint, but the bad thing is, there's no blueprint," Floyd said. "We can adapt it as we need to."
Fourth-grader Jillian said her favorite part is "the computers."
Jillian's father said she is excited about school and is enjoying the format very much.
"She's having her best year so far," he said.