Located in Central Texas between Austin and Waco, Temple Independent School District serves roughly 8,600 students. In 2015, members of the district leadership team set out to address a culture of learned helplessness, targeting students’ need for positive relationships and increased time with their teachers. They used the Raising Blended Learners pilot to improve the time and quality of student-teacher relationships, increase student ownership of learning and design a learning experience that better meets the individual needs of all Temple students.
“Our high school students are sharing that relationships with their peers and instructors were better in blended learning classrooms. That speaks volumes coming from teenagers. When teachers are sitting down and engaging with students in the content, it’s more personalized and individualized and students are going to have more meaningful experiences. It changes the relationship between the teacher and the student.” – Dr. Bobby Ott, Superintendent
The Temple team believed that a culture of learned helplessness within the student body was creating academic challenges and a lack of preparedness for post-secondary success. In response, they designed a pilot to target the identified needs of their student population and increase students’ time and relationships with their teachers. Team leaders hope this will lead to improved student academic outcomes and the development of student agency through growing motivation for students to own their learning progress in the daily learning experience.
To increase indicators of college and career-readiness and support the development of student agency, the Temple ISD team piloted the flipped learning model in Algebra I, Pre-Cal, English, Chemistry, Biology, and Advanced French classes at their high school campus. In year two, the team implemented hybrid blended learning models including station rotation, individual rotation and flipped models and scaled the pilot to include an additional Biology classroom and US History classrooms in Temple High School.
Temple High School is leveraging blended learning to increase 1:1 and small group time with students, targeting specific academic needs and learned helplessness and building intentional relationships–where students become valued partners with their teachers, increasing student agency, giving students not only transparent access to their learning data, but also the power to act on it in pursuit of their own learning pacing or pathway needs. In year two, Temple is further leveraging their flipped model content and other online resources to allow students more flexibility in their pacing and pathways, which frees up teachers to create dynamic instructional groups based on learning data and engage students in one-on-one coaching and goal-setting conversations.
Flexible Learning Environments
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 Temple ISD Student Experience Design Pillars are: Student Agency, Flexible Learning Environments, Positive Relationships, and Rigor and Relevance (focused on student growth).
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.
Flexible Learning Environments refers to the use of a variety of instructional groupings and learning modalities to maximize student performance and increase student progress ownership. Teacher and student learning choices are made in response to individual student data indicating the appropriate instructional level and pace.
Positive Relationships refers to prioritizing the time, care, and focus needed to ensure learners are known and supported by adults and peers.
Rigor and Relevance (focused on student growth) refers to students having the competence to think in complex ways and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired. Even when confronted with perplexing unknowns, students are able to use extensive knowledge and skills to create solutions and take actions within real-world contexts that further develop their knowledge and skills.
Rigor and Relevance