Learn more about each of the current 20 Raising Blended Learners districts from the problem they are solving in their districts using blended learning to key features of their blended implementations. Districts are spending the 2020-21 school year planning their blended learning programs and will begin implementation in the 2021-22 school year.
Located midway between Dallas and Fort Worth, Arlington ISD serves nearly 60,000 students on 78 campuses. In 2016-17 Arlington ISD designed the Arlington ISD Active Learning Cycle to establish a common context for learning across the district with an emphasis on catering to the individual learner. Arlington ISD plans to pilot blended learning to enhance practitioners’ abilities to deliver the Active Learning Cycle and meet campus specific student outcome priorities. The district’s alternative high school campus will launch blended learning to increase credit acquisition and attendance. Within traditional campuses, one elementary and one junior high campus will target reading improvement while a high school campus will focus on science outcomes.
The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) is a network of four partnership schools in three school districts across San Antonio. Through their blended learning program, CAST will create the culture and systems to support personalized, student-led learning in an environment where teachers act as facilitators, mentors, and guides. CAST plans to create a road map for 9th-grade students and teachers, with blended learning as a key tool for personalization, so students begin high school ready for autonomous behavior, coupled with strong supportive structures in place for teachers.
Serving nearly 154,000 students across more than 230 schools, Dallas ISD is the second largest school system in Texas and the 14th largest district in the country. In 2014, the district launched a personalized learning cohort of five schools to help better meet the needs of each student. The cohort currently comprises 14 fully personalized schools and nine emerging schools which collectively serve almost 14,000 students. Within these schools, Dallas ISD is interested in expanding students’ opportunities for self-direction and use of real-time data. The district will launch blended learning strategies in eight elementary schools aimed at developing a systematic approach to student agency. To support continued expansion of the personalized learning cohort, Dallas ISD recognizes the need to codify foundational teacher knowledge and skills that enable a transition from whole group instruction to student-driven instruction with voice and choice.
DeKalb ISD is a small rural community located in East Texas that serves 800 students on three campuses. Building on the district’s recently increased focus on CTE programs and college preparation courses, blended learning will better align secondary and postsecondary programs to help students make seamless transitions from K-12 education to college, gainful employment, or both. DeKalb will offer a flex academy option within their high school campus. Students participating in the flex academy will complete self-paced core classes in a compressed morning schedule to allow time for afternoon internships with local businesses. Flex academy participants will rely on technology to gather data, facilitate instruction, and enable teachers to best support students as they develop skills and dispositions necessary for post-secondary success. Blended learning strategies in regular high school classes will deepen learning and provide more collaborative experiences to improve college and career readiness.
Denton ISD is located in North Texas, near the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and is situated in one of the nation’s fastest-growing corridors. The district currently serves close to 31,000 students across 40 campuses. Because of the student population explosion, the school district struggles with maintaining consistent delivery of the algebra curriculum as students enter from all over the nation with gaps in their learning. To better support these non-continuously enrolled students, the district will introduce blended learning strategies to increase instructional flexibility in high school algebra classes and improve academic and non-academic outcomes. Students will engage in online and offline learning activities, small group instruction, group projects and participate in a peer-supported new student induction process.
East Central ISD encompasses suburban, urban and rural areas of Southeast San Antonio and serves over 10,000 students across 11 campuses. The district’s blended learning program will increase literacy achievement by better engaging students in content and increasing student ownership of their learning. Through implementation of blended learning strategies, East Central ISD will shift classrooms from teacher-centered to student-centered. Initially, the district plans to focus on revising teacher planning units around students’ needs, offering targeted interventions and creating strong goal setting cultures within blended classrooms. Another district priority for the blended learning initiative is to create a more supportive atmosphere for innovation within the district culture.
Ector County ISD, located in the Permian Basin of West Texas, educates 34,000 students across 43 campuses. The district is implementing blended learning to provide learning opportunities to close academic achievement gaps in elementary reading. Blended learning strategies they plan to introduce include small group instruction, hands-on learning activities, and the intentional use of adaptive online learning programs. Teachers will personalize students’ learning activities using results from proficiency-based growth assessments and provide students a variety of learning modalities to reinforce reading skill development.
Floresville ISD, southeast of San Antonio, is a rural district serving 4,100 students across five campuses. The district will implement blended learning to improve reading scores across K-12 and shifting the district culture to an environment that encourages taking risks; establishes clear, defined expectations regarding instructional content; and one that relies on strong data-driven practices. Floresville ISD will implement blended learning in elementary, middle, and high school reading and language arts classrooms focusing on effective instruction and the use of real-time data to personalize instruction through small groups, online content, and other data-driven learning activities. Instruction in blended learning classrooms will become more individualized and better aligned to science-based best practices, and students will have more opportunities to make meaningful decisions about their learning.
Garland ISD, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, educates 56,000 students across 72 campuses. During the past several years, Garland ISD has been focusing on the work of data-driven instruction. Through these efforts, the district has recognized an opportunity to improve students’ acquisition of foundational reading skills in K-2 classrooms. Garland ISD will launch blended learning to support efforts to refine early reading instruction anchored in the science of reading, which will allow for personalized learning and growth towards individual student goals. Blended strategies will include skills-based stations which provide meaningful instruction and practice activities and promote student engagement and agency.
Harlingen CISD currently consists of 30 campuses which serve 18,500 students in the Rio Grande Valley. Harlingen CISD will use blended learning to build on strong progress the district has made toward improving elementary literacy outcomes through a multi-year partnership with Neuhaus Education Center. The blended approach will complement and extend the strong literacy instruction currently offered in K-2 classrooms to better meet students where they are academically and emotionally. Blended classrooms will offer personalized instructional delivery in a small group format, opportunities to master literacy skills using online and offline practice activities, and a student facing approach to setting goals and monitoring progress.
Hutto ISD is a fast-growing district of 8,000 students with 10 campuses located northeast of Austin. The district is launching blended learning to redesign the learning experience in middle school algebra classes and foster more self-awareness, self confidence, and student ownership of the learning process with an emphasis on improving academic and non-academic outcomes for at-risk populations. Blended strategies will enhance differentiation, support the closing of academic gaps, introduce meaningful goal setting and data-driven instructional practices and promote the development of student agency skills. In addition, a blended learning approach at the district’s alternative campus will more deeply engage students in their own learning while simultaneously supporting students to close academic gaps before they pursue a post-secondary path.
Lamar CISD, a rapidly growing suburban school district in southwest Houston, currently serves 35,000 students across 42 campuses and is projected to reach 50,000 students by 2026. Lamar CISD will pilot blended learning to improve student motivation and increase math achievement for 4th and 7th grades students. The district will implement blended learning strategies aimed at improving differentiated instruction to better meet individual students’ needs and allow every student the opportunity to fully master skills. Another district priority for the blended approach is to foster student agency. Blended classrooms will provide time for students to reflect on learning goals during regularly scheduled student-teacher conferences; discuss what they are learning during peer collaboration time; and frequently communicate with parents about their progress.
Lewisville ISD, a district of 53,000 students served across 76 campuses, is located in North Texas near the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. District stakeholders are committed to four cornerstones (i.e., student learning, student experience, community engagement and resource stewardship) which define their vision for future-ready learning. Lewisville ISD will shift from a one-size fits all instructional model to a blended learning approach as a means to more fully realizing these objectives. The district’s initial blended learning efforts will focus on changing the format of instruction in middle school language arts classrooms to improve reading outcomes. Blended classrooms will individualize for student needs and work towards growing each individual learner no matter the students’ initial literacy levels.
Roscoe Collegiate ISD is a rural school system in West Texas serving just over 600 students on two campuses. Roscoe ISD will implement blended learning to focus on building student ownership and agency among middle school students who are at risk for disengaging with school and reducing the number of students who graduate high school with associate degrees. Middle school math and science classrooms will implement blended learning strategies designed to support positive student-teacher interactions, promote student agency, and fill academic gaps through a more personalized, data-driven approach to instruction.
Socorro ISD in El Paso serves more than 47,000 students in 49 schools. Socorro ISD believes the power of literacy lies in the ability to read, write, and apply skills throughout life and therefore will launch blended learning to address early childhood literacy gaps impacting student success and their social development in becoming lifelong learners. Core objectives of the district’s blended learning classrooms include adherence to instruction aligned to the science of reading, increased instructional coaching, and more systematic monitoring and response to assessment results. Blended learning teachers in Socorro ISD will focus more deliberately on systematic phonics instruction as they deliver instruction, support students to develop agency, and effectively leverage online instruction to enhance learning.
Stephenville ISD, located in West Texas, serves close to 4,000 students across six campuses. The overall objective for the blended learning effort within Stephenville ISD is to ensure every student demonstrates strong academic growth each year and endeavors to master or exceed grade level standards. Stephenville will utilize blended learning strategies in first through sixth grade reading and math classrooms to personalize learning for students and promote student agency. Teachers will focus on offering differentiated instruction to small groups of students based on data indicating students’ learning needs and build learning pathways which allow students to help navigate their own learning.
Terrell ISD, located 30 miles east of Dallas, is home to over 4,800 students on six campuses. The district believes blended learning will contribute to its strategic effort to build a more streamlined and focused approach to early literacy instruction and increase the number of third graders reading on grade level. The district will create a framework for literacy instruction, develop and utilize effective support structures to develop a blended data culture, and protect teacher time to allow them to grow and feel more inspired in their craft. Blended classroom instruction will shift in accordance with the new literacy framework and students will become more involved and engaged in the learning process as they set academic and social-emotional goals and participate in weekly mentor meetings with teachers.
Tomball ISD is a rapidly growing district in the Houston area with a student population exceeding 18,000 across 20 campuses. Tomball ISD will pilot blended learning to further individualize the learning experience for early elementary students as they acquire foundational reading skills. The district will launch blended learning in K-2 reading classrooms in four elementary campuses to ensure all students master on grade level standards beginning in kindergarten. Through blended learning, teachers will fully embrace all core elements of reading instruction aligned to the science of reading, provide a range of learning opportunities for students to receive instruction, and practice skills in multiple formats and varying levels of intensity, and gather specific data on students’ individual progress toward mastery of each skill.
Venus ISD, a district 30 minutes south of Dallas-Fort Worth, serves 2,200 students on four campuses. The district is dedicated to implementing blended learning to help teachers close gaps in student learning and promote student growth. Venus ISD will leverage blended learning to close gaps and improve reading outcomes for students in grades six through nine. Blended classrooms will provide data-driven instruction that involves whole-group, small group, and personalized learning activities. Further, the district will make adjustments to secondary school schedules to allow time for students to receive additional in-person and online instruction to support mastery of below grade level standards and achieve as much academic growth as possible each academic year.
Located in the Rio Grande Valley, Weslaco ISD serves 17,000 students across 21 campuses. Weslaco will pilot blended learning to better ensure K-2 students master foundational literacy skills. Priorities for blended learning: ensuring campus and district leaders possess instructional expertise in the science of reading; building job embedded coaching and ongoing professional development for blended teachers to extend their knowledge and instructional practices related to the science of reading; and developing strong campus data cultures. Weslaco will also launch blended summer school for rising third grade students who have not yet mastered grade level reading skills. For this program, the district plans to partner with parents to create an opportunity for students to complete some online lessons at home using district issued devices.