HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Washington County Public Schools is introducing a new way of learning. In the program, students in the program can direct their learning while having consistent attendance patterns.

The Academy of Blended Learning Education, or ABLE, program was developed before COVID. When Washington County Public Schools saw a need to develop virtual learning, the pandemic helped accelerate the online program.

“Our students range from kindergarten to 12th grade, and those are students that applied to be a part of the program. These are students that thrive in online learning, they love learning from the quiet environment of their house. Some of them have some medical concerns. some of them just realized through the pandemic that this was the right place for them to be,” said Robert Stike, the principle of ABLE.

The program lives in what used to be Funkstown Elementary School. The classroom holds two teachers who were hired specifically to be online educators.

“ABLE gave me an opportunity to start at a school from the ground up, in an innovative new way,” said Paula Bright, a 6th through 12th-grade ABle science teacher.

ABLE stands for ‘Academy of Blended Learning Education and officials say it’s not just a COVID program, but a new alternative to learning.

Principal Stike says the program is data-driven and they want to ensure students are getting an equal or better education than the one they received during live schooling.

“I have learners that are auditory, and visual. You need to reach each of them where they’re at and this online platform allows me to do that,” said Bright.