Mineola ISD is a rural district located approximately 90 miles east of Dallas with a population of 1,600 students. In 2015, Mineola became involved in the Raising Blended Learners initiative to address a lack of readiness for advanced math in their middle and high schools as demonstrated by stagnant student scores on state assessments and local benchmarks. In addition to issues of academic readiness, the team is addressing student agency through a redesign of student/teacher relationships rooted in data transparency and goal setting.
“Every child should have their own personalized instructional learning plan for maximized growth in all areas of study. Blended learning is not a program, it’s a mind-set in how we plan and guide instruction for each and every student.” – Kim Tunnell, Superintendent
District and campus leaders set out to address a lack of student growth in middle school math performance, insufficient readiness for Algebra I, and a deep-seated apathy toward math as demonstrated by stagnant student scores on state assessments, local benchmarks, and student survey data. In addition to making academic improvements the team intends to develop learners who will navigate their own progress, demonstrate mastery, and lead change.
Mineola ISD’s blended learning strategy is rooted in the Mineola ISD Learning Framework which includes the blended design pillars, strategies and expectations district leaders believe will give students the courage and ability to set goals, navigate their progress, demonstrate mastery, and lead change.
This shift from a teacher-directed, standardized model of instruction to a highly personalized model that puts students at the center of the learning conversation and includes the use of components of the station rotation, individual, and flex models. In year one, Mineola launched a pilot using a station rotation model in 6th – 8th grade math classrooms at Mineola Middle School. In year 2, the pilot has expanded to include hybrid station rotation and individual rotation models in select grades and subjects at Mineola Primary School, Mineola Elementary, Mineola Middle, and Mineola High School. Each of the Mineola blended learning models include the targeted use of small group time, data-driven instruction, goal setting, student progress ownership and transparency, increased choice and flexibility, and targeted attention to student attitudes towards math and learning.
Transparency in Learning
Design pillars are used among all Raising Blended Learners sites to identify the essential design elements upon which each site’s student experience is based. The Mineola Student Experience Design Pillars are: Student Agency, Transparency in Learning, Personalized Instruction, Evidence of Learning, and Data-Driven Instruction.
Student Agency refers to the level of control, autonomy, and power that a student experiences in an educational situation. Student agency can manifest in the choice of learning environment, approach, and/or pace.
Transparency in Learning includes the intentional access to and support in analyzing student learning data for teachers, students, administrators, and parents. Students gain progress ownership, an understanding how their long-term goals are connected to their daily work and decisions.
Personalized Instruction refers to the intentional access to and support in analyzing and acting on student learning data for teachers, students, administrators, and parents. This increased progress and process ownership paves the way for students to play a vital role in pursuing customized learning paths aligned to their needs.
When Evidence of Learning is prioritized, student learning experiences are designed to demonstrate mastery of expected knowledge and skills. Evidence of learning emphasizes process over product, progress towards mastery, and thinking and learning over grades.
Data-Driven Instruction is a precise and systematic approach to improving student learning throughout the year. The cycle includes assessment, analysis, and action for the success of each student, and involves shifting to a data culture versus an accountability culture.
Evidence of Learning