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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: June 8, 2015 02:12 PM
From: Senator Ryan P. Aument
To: All Senate members
Subject: Creation of the E-chievement Program
In the near future I intend to introduce legislation to integrate technology in the classroom to improve student achievement.

Pennsylvania has a strong history as an educational technology policy leader. Starting in 1995, Governor Ridge launched “Link to Learn”, which introduced pre-broadband digital technology into classrooms. In 2004, the “E-Fund” was enacted, bringing broadband access to schools. And in 2006, Governor Rendell launched “Classrooms for the Future”, which provided training and hardware to take advantage of the new broadband infrastructure deployed through the E-Fund.

Unfortunately, all of those programs have since expired in Pennsylvania.

My legislation would continue this investment in educational technology and create the “E-chievement” Program. This program is a forward-thinking, education initiative focused on using technology investments to improve student achievement while holding down costs. Administered by the PA Department of Education, the “E-chievement” Program will distribute funds on a competitive basis for planning and implementation of hybrid learning.

Hybrid learning is an instructional strategy that blends digital resources with classroom teaching to increase student engagement and improve academic achievement. It is characterized by the frequent use of benchmarks to track student performance, the analysis of results for differentiated instruction, and the use of small groups to maximize personal interactions.

Hybrid learning is a proven model. Over the last three years, 50 Pennsylvania schools have successfully launched digital educational strategies focused on student achievement and they have produced remarkable results. Among the participating schools, 94% achieved higher academic performance in their hybrid classes compared to non-hybrid (traditional) classes in the same district or statewide benchmarks. All hybrid learning schools met or exceeded state standards for academic growth.

While many schools have expressed strong interest in implementing hybrid learning, not every school has been able to afford the start-up and transition costs.

By creating the “E-chievement” Program, the PDE will distribute funds that may be used for hybrid learning components including: digital content, classroom management tools, operations support, technology and equipment, professional development, instructional coaching and planning services.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this proposal to give all schools the opportunity to implement a cost-effective and, most importantly, proven teaching model that can benefit all students in the Commonwealth.

Introduced as SB924