Five Winners Announced for $5 Million Raise Your Hand Texas Blended Learning Grant Initiative

15 additional school districts selected as non-grant-funded pilot
sites

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#RaisingBlendedLearnersRaise
Your Hand Texas
today announced the five school district winners
selected as blended learning demonstration sites, each receiving up to
$500,000 in grant funding over three years and comprehensive
implementation support, through the Raising
Blended Learners
initiative
. Eighteen additional districts were
selected as pilot sites and will receive implementation support without
grant funding to promote the expansion of blended learning statewide.

Five Demonstration Sites

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. Sites were chosen through a 10-month consideration process
involving 75 semi-finalist teams and include:

  • Birdville ISD (Tarrant County, northeast of Fort Worth)
  • Cisco ISD (West Texas, east of Abilene)
  • KIPP Houston (Harris County, Houston)
  • Pasadena ISD (Harris County, southeast of Houston)
  • Point Isabel ISD (Cameron County, Port Isabel)

Each of the demonstration site grant winners seek to apply blended
learning strategies to remedy a specific challenge in their schools,
such as low literacy rates, learning challenges among specific student
populations such as English Language Learners and special education
students, lack of student motivation, lagging high school graduation
rates, low postsecondary readiness skills, or poor student performance
on state assessments.

“We selected demonstration sites reflective of the overall Texas student
population and varying size and diverse needs of our school districts,
as well as their capacity to implement a targeted, scalable blended
learning program,” said Alison Badgett, interim executive director for
Raise Your Hand Texas. “Our goal is to use what we learn to help school
leaders across the state personalize instruction and improve student
achievement.”

Fifteen Pilot Network Sites

The Pilot Network consists of 15 sites implementing smaller scale,
non-grant-funded pilots and will help catalyze statewide expansion of
blended learning. Raise Your Hand Texas will commit expert
implementation assistance, coaching, and professional development to
these pilot sites: 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.

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.

Contacts

Raise Your Hand Texas
Petri Darby, 512-617-2137
VP of Marketing
pdarby@ryht.org