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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Delco high school is pioneering a choice to learn at home, at school - or both | Education -

Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer explains, "As a freshman at Garnet Valley High School, Kevin Smith wasn’t doing as well as he’d hoped last year in his Algebra II class until he decided midsemester to try it as a so-called blended course — with some of the work online and some in the classroom with his teacher."

Kevin Smith and his mother, Kim, at their kitchen table with his laptop. Soon at Garnet Valley High School students will be able to choose the format of their courses – either in class, online, or a blended form of both. 
Photo: DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer

“I like that. … You could do it on your own, go at your own pace,” said Kevin, 15. “If you didn’t understand something, you could always go back in the section and watch the videos over again as many times as you needed. The teacher was also available anytime you needed.”

Kevin now is taking a completely online health class through Garnet Valley’s eSchool, but in the fall he plans to stick primarily to traditional courses. It is a highly flexible hybrid approach to learning that officials in the Delaware County district increasingly see as the future of schooling. It is a learning style found more in colleges than in high schools, which are bound to student schedules and often traditional teaching methods. 

Garnet Valley, which serves the rapidly growing Concordville area, is pushing ahead with an ambitious five-year goal to become what educators believe would be the nation’s first public high school to offer all its courses online, in a classroom, and in a blended or hybrid mode.

It started with a pilot program in social studies last year, and now 11 “blended” online and classroom courses will be offered when students return in the fall.


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