POTTSVILLE – Five Schuylkill County school districts and the county's Intermediate Unit were recently awarded grants to accelerate the implementation of hybrid learning programs, according to local legislators.

Marian High School will receive $17,500; North Schuylkill School District will receive $20,000; Pine Grove Area School District will receive $20,000; Schuylkill Haven Area School District will receive $17,500; Shenandoah Valley School District will receive $20,000; and Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 will receive $17,500.

"These funds help our students improve their academic performance through 21st century learning innovations," Sen. David G. Argall (R-29) said.

"These grants enable local students to further their opportunities in the classrooms with both their teachers and their peers."

The hybrid learning program provides opportunities for K-12 students to learn in small groups, and rotates them through different education stations. These stations include direct instruction with a teacher, independent learning on a computer and group collaboration with peers.

"Innovations such as hybrid learning are necessary to ensure students get the best education possible," Rep. Neal Goodman (D-123) said.

"This wise investment of federal money will help make this important innovation possible. I also want to congratulate these school districts for incorporating hybrid learning into their educational programs."

"School districts are facing the same financial pressures as other organizations, which often has them looking to taxpayers for additional revenue," Rep. Mike Tobash (R-125) said. "These hybrid learning opportunities will afford our children access to innovative opportunities while keeping costs low. This presents the added benefit of allowing our school districts to keep property taxes for our citizens as low as possible."

This new approach to learning provides a customized learning experience in a cost-effective manner.

"I'm pleased that these grants will help expand educational opportunities for some of our local students," Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-124) said.

"When grants take pressure off local school boards while supporting innovative education strategies, it is a win both for taxpayers and students."

The successful pilot program was launched in 2012 in 15 Pennsylvania schools, involving 1,900 students and 48 teachers with $1.1 million in federal Title II A funds.

The program reallocates Title II A funding to pay for the program in 2013.