Hays CISD Selected for Raise Your Hand Texas, Blended Learning Initiative

Kyle, TX – Raise Your Hand Texas announced that Hays CISD is among 15 sites across the state selected for a blended learning pilot program as part of the Raising Blended Learners initiative.


The Pilot Network consists of 15 school-sites that will receive technical assistance support to implement blended learning without grant funds.


Raise Your Hand Texas will commit expert implementation assistance, coaching, and professional development to pilot sites in the following districts: Austin Achieve, Austin High School (Houston ISD), Clear Creek ISD, DeSoto ISD, El Paso ISD, Georgetown ISD, Hays CISD, Leander ISD, Mineola ISD, Round Rock ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Temple ISD, Tulia ISD, Young Women’s Leadership Academy (Grand Prairie ISD), Ysleta ISD. Sites were chosen through a 10-month consideration process involving 75 semi-finalist teams.


The goal of the pilot network is to demonstrate how blended learning can be implemented across Texas.


Each of the Pilot Network sites seek to apply blended learning strategies to remedy a specific challenge in one of their schools. As a pilot site, Hays CISD is implementing two five-year plans that target math classrooms in 8th Grade and 9th Grade. This summer, as a part of the pilot, Hays CISD will implement a flex model blended learning classroom for 8th grade math students who have twice failed the 8th Grade STAAR test, with the goal of having 90% of those students in the program passing the 8th grade STAAR on their third attempt, up from 30% or less in the last three years.


Additionally, this Fall, Lehman High School will pilot an individual rotation blended learning model with two teachers of Algebra I. The goal for Lehman students is that 95% will pass the 9th Grade end of course (EOC) exam on their first attempt, which represent a nearly 30% increase as compared to the last three year’s data.


“As part of the Raising Blended Learners Pilot Network, Hays CISD will help demonstrate how blended learning can be implemented as a school-based pilot, with a focus on building capacity within the district to expand blended learning and pursue continued innovation,” said Alison Badgett, interim executive director for Raise Your Hand Texas.


“We were impressed with the district’s keen understanding of its strengths and challenges, and its plan for addressing the needs of its students. We look forward to supporting Hays CISD by providing targeted implementation support and strategies to support sustainability.”


“We are extremely excited to be part of the Raise Your Hand Texas Blended Learners Pilot Network,” said Michael McKie, Hays CISD Superintendent. “We are committed to the transformational work of Raise Your Hand Texas and the work of other school districts that are focused on creating a New Vision for Public Education. This includes the work of the Public Education Visioning Institute, five demonstration school sites, and the 14 other Blended Learning Pilot Network schools.


We are confident, with the help of the Raise Your Hand Texas experts, our teachers and students will benefit from this remarkable commitment to innovation, learning, and teaching.”


Five Demonstration Sites

Raise Your Hand Texas on April 13 also announced five grant winners, selected as blended learning demonstration sites, to receive up to $500,000 in grant funding over three years and comprehensive implementation support.


The five winning demonstration sites – a mix of small and large, urban and rural, public school districts and public charter schools – will serve as proof points for the effective implementation of blended learning and include Birdville ISD, Cisco ISD, KIPP Houston, Pasadena ISD, and Point Isabel ISD.


To help other districts and schools interested in learning more or pursuing blended learning, Raise Your Hand Texas also launched a public blended learning resource portal with curated national resources and materials, as well as content created exclusively for the Raising Blended Learners initiative. Raise Your Hand Texas is investing in third-party research evaluation and will publicly report on implementation, beginning in the 2016-17 school year, to drive broader statewide adoption of blended learning approaches.


The Raising Blended Learners demonstration initiative is funded by the Raise Your Hand for Texas Education Fund, Educate Texas, and The Meadows Foundation. Funding will support technical assistance for the Raising Blended Learners grantees and pilot network, including support for edtech selection, budgeting and financial analysis, teacher and school leader professional development, and project management.


About Blended Learning

As defined by the Christensen Institute, blended learning is a blend of online learning and brick-and-mortar schooling that takes place when students learn at least in part online, with some student control over the time, place, path, and/or pace of their learning. This is a departure from the broader trend of simply equipping classrooms with devices and software and different from full-time virtual education, which does not include peer engagement and in-person student-teacher interactions.


For more background about blended learning, the initiative, and the initial application process, download the Raising Blended Learners grant summary. Downloadable Raising Blended Learners images and embeddable videos are available in the media kit section of the Raise Your Hand Texas online newsroom.


About Raise Your Hand Texas

Raise Your Hand Texas is a non-profit, non-partisan organization advancing public education by igniting fiercely innovative leadership and advocacy for our state’s 5 million+ students. We invest in best-in-class programs to develop innovative leaders for Texas public schools, and lead research-driven public policy advocacy that elevates the quality of Texas public education, ensuring that our economy remains strong and Texas’ future remains bright. Visit RaiseYourHandTexas.org to learn more.

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