Reynoldsburg News

Hannah Ashton Middle School

Blended learning is part of improvement plan

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A peer-tutoring program created by students is part of a continuous improvement plan for Hannah Ashton Middle School that features blended learning, linking lessons with technology.

The plan also offers students an extended after-school enrichment program.

Principal Denise Lutz and Assistant Principal Jim Jones presented the plan to the Reynoldsburg Board of Education March 19.

Lutz said mid-year assessments show that blended learning and after-school initiatives may be improving student performance.

"We've seen increased strength in fifth-grade math and science and sixth- and seventh-grade reading," she said. "We have also increased our tutoring efforts and improved our focus on fifth-grade reading and sixth- and seventh-grade math and are definitely seeing growth in those students."

She said blended learning means personalized learning and differentiated instruction for each student.

"Our seventh-grade pilot combines blended learning and project-based collaboration," she said. "Our four basic goals are that students learn at their own pace; have fun while learning; set achievement goals and make one year's academic growth."

Another aspect of the program, Virtual Nerd, is a mathematics program that students can access at home.

Lutz brought two seventh-graders to the meeting, David Gueye and Madison Mathias, who write for the school's online newspaper, The Raider Rumble.

Gueye said each seventh-grader was given a laptop computer to use and assignments are submitted digitally.

"We also started a peer tutoring group at the end of the school day, when we have tech time," he said. "We posted a forum on Google and had 27 kids sign up for tutoring."

Mathias said she likes being in control of her lesson plans.

"We can work at our own pace and some of us can be challenged if we need to be challenged," she said. "I also like the Mastery Connect program, because we know right away what we are getting as a grade."

Jones said the "Achieve After 3" program begins at 3 p.m. and extends until 7 p.m.

"Research indicates that the majority of juvenile offenses occur between 3 and 6 in the afternoon," he said. "Our after-school program serves 11 percent of our student body between 3 and 6 p.m. We serve a snack and dinner and offer a variety of enrichment classes for students.

"What makes our program stand out is that it truly is an extension of our school day," he said.

He said students might have one hour of working in a computer lab after school, then go on to participate in modern dance, the STEM Club, Garage Band, the Raider Rumble newspaper or other activities.

Achieve After 3 tuition is $55 per week, but is based on individual family financial situations, along with free and reduced-price lunch status.

"The administration has put together a real learning community and that sense of community is why they get the results that they do," Superintendent Steve Dackin said. "It is a whole different approach to teaching and learning."

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