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    Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Launching Second Application for Blended Learning Initiative with $6 Million in Grant Support for 20 School Districts

    – Applications open May 1 for a year-long competitive process for up to 20 grants –

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

    AUSTIN, TX (May 1, 2019) – The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation today opened the second application for the Raising Blended Learners grant initiative. After a year-long competitive process — consisting of a written application, semi-finalist and finalist workshops, and a resulting business plan — up to 20 districts will be chosen to each receive up to $300,000 in grant funding and three years of comprehensive implementation support. Applications are due June 30 and up to 75 semi-finalist teams will be selected by August 1.

    For the first cohort of the Raising Blended Learners initiative, five demonstration districts — Birdville ISD, Cisco ISD, KIPP Texas-Houston, Pasadena ISD, and Point Isabel ISD — were chosen to receive grant funding and implementation support and another 15 received implementation support without grant funding. To date, the initiative has impacted more than 50 schools, 600 teachers, and 35,000 students.

    “The first cohort of Raising Blended Learners districts demonstrated the potential of blended learning to advance academic achievement by personalizing instruction and learning across grades, subjects, student demographics, and different types of districts,” said Dr. Shari Albright, president of the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation. “We are thrilled to launch another round of programming support for districts interested in pursuing blended strategies to transform teaching and learning.”

    Raising Blended Learners is grounded in research from the Christensen Institute, the book Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, and lessons learned from the first cohort of participating districts.

    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. It combines the best of in-person classroom teaching with online technology to personalize instruction, distinguishing it from simply equipping classrooms with technology and from full-time virtual instruction.

    Blended learning is characterized by three key tenets:

    Blended Learning is Personalized. Teachers work one-on-one with students to address the individual needs, skills, and interests of each learner.

    Blended Learning is Data-Driven. Teachers use classroom technology and data to better understand
    each student’s individual learning level and help guide content and activities that challenge them at their appropriate pace.

    Blended Learning Encourages Student Ownership. Students are empowered and responsible for doing the thinking in the classroom and own the process of learning, acting on their understanding of where they
    are in the learning journey.

    All Raising Blended Learners materials are free and available to any district interested in piloting blended learning approaches. Those resources, the application, and more information about the initiative are available at RaisingBlendedLearners.org.

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    ABOUT RAISE YOUR HAND TEXAS AND THE RAISE YOUR HAND TEXAS FOUNDATION

    Raise Your Hand Texas and the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation are reinventing public education for the future—because the future of Texas is in our public schools.

    Raise Your Hand Texas supports public policy solutions that invest in our students, encourage innovation and autonomy, and improve college and workforce readiness. For more information, visit RaiseYourHandTexas.org.

    The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation develops and strengthens school leaders and teachers, engages families in the educational experience, and advances classroom learning with innovative instructional practices to benefit all students. For more information, visit RYHTFoundation.org.

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