Translate into a different language

Monday, March 23, 2015

Praise adding up for Parkland's new math program

Kevin Duffy freelance writer reports, "Keeping lesson plans varied and in motion is the mantra of a pilot program in the Parkland School District poised for expansion in the 2015-16 school year."

Orefield Middle School teacher Jackie Hege leads instruction in a blended learning math class. 
Photo: Allentown Morning Call  

Parkland's Blended Learning Program, implemented last fall primarily in high school math classes, has kept students engaged and motivated to keep pace with their peers in the classroom, administrators say.

The program was launched with 13 teachers, seven at Parkland High School. The teachers volunteered to create new lesson plans and scrap traditional classroom techniques in favor of a concept embracing 21st century learning, according to Assistant to the Superintendent for Operations Tracy E. Smith.

"They started from scratch," Smith said during a recent presentation to the school board that included video shot in the classrooms.

Implemented with the aid of Kutztown-based consultant Dellicker Strategies, teachers divided 800 students into rotating groups that split their time between one-on-one instruction, independent computer study and collaborative groups where they are exposed to dialogue and team building with their peers.

Students have no time to linger and daydream in these classes — they are circulated in 10-minute rotations from one activity to the next.

Parkland High math teacher Kate Robbins said she was initially concerned about the pacing of the pilot instruction, but was put at ease after seeing it play out in her classroom.

"I am confident that students have a stronger mastery of the material and are more fully engaged," she said.
Lisa Pany, whose sixth-graders at Springhouse Middle School also are participating, said the format simulates environments they will be exposed to when they leave the classroom and enter the working world.

"It's like real life — students get a daily agenda that tells them what they need to get done," she said.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my Email Updates!