A Southeast D.C. middle school is planning to teach half of its coursework online next year in an effort to boost proficiency levels at the struggling campus.
Kramer Middle School is planning to use funds from local and federal grants to create online courses in math, science, English, social studies and other subjects. The courses "offer rich, multimedia content"and give students "real-world scenarios" while providing places for students and teachers to connect about areas needing improvement, school officials announced Thursday.
"This is not just technology for technology's sake," said Principal Kwame Simmons. "We have been very intentional about what research says drives learning. We chose strategies to improve learning not just by one or two grade levels but by multiple grade levels."
At least 70 percent of Kramer students are behind grade level currently. Nineteen percent of students showed proficiency in reading on the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System last spring, along with 29 percent who made the grade in math.
The school is hoping to reach 64 percent proficient in reading and 70 percent proficient in math by 2014. Simmons said he believes the new online model will make it possible to increase proficiency by 13 to 15 percent each year.
Scores improved by 2 percentage points in reading and 11 points in math over 2010.
Kramer already employs some online instruction, which Simmons said has helped some students accelerate quickly in just two and a half months.
Yon Chung, an eighth-grade teacher at Kramer who teaches these courses, said the program "frees me up to talk about softer, more tangible stuff or things that [students are] struggling with."
Kramer has scheduled an open house on Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. to show the new technology to the community.