Special to the Flash
STEPHENVILLE (September 8, 2015) — Raise Your Hand Texas, a well-known public education advocacy organization, announced a statewide Blended Learning Grant Initiative earlier this year. Stephenville ISD along with public and charter schools from across the state applied to be a part of the $2.5 million program. On Tuesday, August 4, Stephenville ISD was notified that the district is one of only 80 applicants to be selected to attend a two-day, expense paid blended learning workshop in September and October 2015.
In January of 2016, Raise Your Hand Texas will choose 10 finalists to receive two months of intensive technical assistance to refine their blended learning models. As a workshop participant, Stephenville ISD is in the running for a finalist position. Five winning teams will then be chosen from the 10 finalists to receive up to $500,000 over three years as they meet mutually agreed-upon milestones. There are some blended learning models that help to make education a little unconventional for example something like the flipped classroom model, which moves homework in the classroom that could encourage discussion among students.
“We are excited to be a part of this professional learning experience. We feel that we have a team of administrators and technology support specialist that will make our District extremely competitive during this grant process,” said Superintendent Matt Underwood. “Moving from a one size fits all education into a personalized learning experience is at the heart of the blended learning experience. This opportunity fits nicely into our long range strategic planning and will compliment our focus on a technology rich learning environment.”
The primary goal of this initiative is to showcase strategies for using blended learning resources to improve K-12 student achievement across diverse student demographics and geographic regions in the State. School District with more than 40% free and reduced lunch populations are eligible to apply.
Blended learning is an educational method that allows students to receive instruction both traditionally and through a digital or online media format. The digital or online components of learning usually allow for the student to have some control over the pace, place or path of instruction. This initiative is committed to providing extensive technical assistance and funding to improve schools across the State.
Raise Your Hand seeks to showcase delivery models that demonstrate long-term sustainability. Recipients of the grant must be able to maintain their projects financially, either through program cost efficiency or by eliminating other unneeded or unsuccessful programs or processes. In some cases Raise Your Hand may provide fourth and fifth year matching funds to promote expansion of effective programs across the district or network. The upcoming Tax Ratification Election could also provide sustainability to the long-term transformation.