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

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    AUSTIN, TX (April 13, 2016) – Raise 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 LearnersSM initiative. Fifteen 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.

    CONTACT:
    Petri Darby, VP of Marketing
    pdarby@ryht.org or (512) 617-2137

    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 an innovative new breed of 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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