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‘Blended-Learning’ Programs Grow in D.C., with Students Relying More on Computers

When Ketcham Elementary School was selected to roll out a schoolwide computer-based learning initiative, Principal Maisha Riddlesprigger was skeptical about “putting kids in front of computers.”

Less than two years later, the effort has brought her school a kind of celebrity status. Superintendents and state lawmakers from across the country have begun stopping by this well-wired school in a poor pocket of Southeast Washington — where nearly a third of the students are homeless — to see how they are learning.

While test scores barely budged District-wide this past spring, Ketcham saw an 11-point increase in its math proficiency rate — to 49 percent — and a 4.5-point increase in reading — to 35 percent. Officials attribute the gains to the move to “blended learning.”