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Last week, D.C. Chancellor Kaya Henderson said she is encouraging principals and the teaching corps to incorporate additional blended learning programs into the school system, like the one at Stanton Elementary and at nearby Hart Middle School. Eugene Dewitt Kinlow and I interviewed Ms. Henderson on WPFW-FM’s “D.C. Politics Hour,” and she said she is particularly interested in programs in North Carolina, where successful K-12 online schooling abounds.

As aging, half-empty school buildings continue to be shuttered across the country, Ms. Henderson’s push toward innovation and technology is surely welcome — and on point.

Clearly, brick-and-mortar schooling isn’t going to simply disappear anytime soon, but education advocates, colleges and the current teaching corps are going to have to think about the next generation of teaching model.

Students and their parents are already using computers, cellphones, smartphones, netbooks and e-readers as fifth appendages. Our public education systems must accelerate the slow pace of reform — including construction of a high-tech computer/technology lab at Stanton Elementary.

Blessedly, there are organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and CityBridge Foundation, which donated money to Stanton’s efforts and several other tightly structured blended learning programs in the city.

“To be able to help a teacher serve a student at a first-grade level and a student at a fourth-grade level at the same time, that’s what we’re excited about,” CityBridge Executive Director Mieka Wick told Smithsonian Magazine.

Hear, hear.

As I said: When the Smithsonian talks, we all should listen.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at