A local school is planning to test a program next year that combines two grades into one classroom.

Dmitriy Shironosov

It's happening at the Lillian Drive Elementary School in Hazlet, and is part of a pilot program approved by the Department of Education.

One test classroom in the school will combine 12-15 third and fourth-graders learning together for the year. The class will be especially focused on technology, not only equipped with iPads and laptops, but with the teacher collecting and grading assignments using the Google Classroom app.

According to the Asbury Park Press, "District officials envision a classroom where students learn at their own pace."

It's an interesting concept, but like most things, I think it needs to be done the right way and for the right reasons. If this is simply an effort to reduce the number of teachers and classrooms to save money, I'm not as thrilled about it. However, if students would really benefit from this less-structured environment, then why not do it?

It seems a little complicated, but I'm sure that's mostly because it's different from what we're used to. It certainly requires a little faith in Hazlet's school officials, and that's likely the biggest obstacle.