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Raising Blended Learners

Raising Blended Learners

The engine to power personalized, student-centered learning at scale across Texas

Students in a diverse and colorful classroom engaging in learning on blue devices.

Our vision

Every classroom across the state becomes a space that fully fosters student agency and personalization.


About blended learning

Tomorrow’s leaders will be tasked with tackling problems that a factory model approach to education will not solve. Educators are responsible for helping learners become college- and career-ready for the 21st century, but have inherited a classroom model built to prepare earlier generations. What is needed in education is a shift to personalized, competency-based approaches — or student-centered learning. We believe blended learning – which combines the best of in-person classroom teaching with online technology – represents the engine to power personalized, student-centered learning at scale across Texas.

About Raising Blended Learners

Raising Blended Learners is a four-year demonstration initiative showcasing strategies for using blended learning to improve student achievement across diverse student demographics and geographic regions in the state, particularly among schools and districts with persistent opportunity gaps. Our ultimate goal is for blended learning to be systematically utilized throughout Texas and is seen as a replicable model for all educators.

Raising Blended Learners consists of two cohorts. The first cohort, a $2.5 million dollar grant opportunity with extensive technical assistance, launched in 2015, supported 5 pilot and 15 demonstration districts (50 schools, 600 teachers, 35,000 students). Although this grant has concluded, the cohort continues to scale and sustain the work of blended learning. 

The second cohort, Raising Blended Learners II, is a $15 million dollar initiative providing grants and technical assistance to 20 districts. Districts spent the 2020-21 school year planning their blended learning programs and began implementation in the 2021-22 school year. Upon conclusion of the second cohort, we project that the Raising Blended Learners statewide initiative will have impacted 40 districts, more than 1,200 teachers, and more than 75,000 students across the state of Texas.

Program goals

  1. Improve statewide student engagement, ownership, and joy in the classroom
  2. Support districts in scaling personalized, student-centered learning across their entire system and by extension the state
  3. Empower districts to showcase strategies for using blended learning to improve K-12 academic and non-academic student achievement
  4. Support districts in implementing programs that subsist beyond the three years of the initiative
  5. Partner with universities and professional development providers to incorporate blended learning into their coursework 

Pillars of quality blended learning:

All of our work is aligned with blended learning best practices captured by the pillars of our Raising Blended Learners Instructional Continuum.

  • Pillar 1: Assessment and Data Driven Instruction – Teachers and instructional leaders utilize a systematic approach to assessment and data informed teaching to design and deliver instruction based on students’ specific learning needs, monitor student learning and provide feedback to students.
  • Pillar 2: Personalized Instruction – Students are offered a variety of learning opportunities to master standards according to differentiated learning objectives dependent on students’ level of mastery, and frequently receive individual feedback about their progress.
  • Pillar 3: Student Agency – Refers to the level of control, autonomy, and power that a student experiences in an educational situation. It can be manifested through goal setting and feedback cycles, input in assessment and instruction decisions and opportunities for advocacy.
  • Pillar 4: Relationships – Students develop positive, collaborative relationships with teachers, other adults/mentors and peers which are focused on high expectations for academic and personal growth.
  • Pillar 5: Rigor – Students engage in the work of the lesson, think critically and do heavy lifting on content that is grade-level, college-ready or student appropriate, and continually practice and receive feedback until mastery is demonstrated.

Fast facts:

Raising Blended Learners I

$2,500,000

Invested

20

Districts supported

600

Teachers impacted

35,000

Students impacted

Raising Blended Learners II

$15,000,000

Grant funded

20

Districts supported

600+

Teachers projected to impact

40,000

Students projected to impact

Key takeaways from the evaluation conducted during year three of Raising Blended Learners I. In the 2017–18 school year,

  • 98 percent of all RBL schools met state academic standards.
  • More than half of all RBL campuses received at least one academic distinction, with some campuses achieving as many as six distinctions.
  • Students in RBL schools are more likely to be collaborative, to seek help if they are struggling, and to have better relationships with their teachers.
  • 76 percent of RBL teachers report that they enjoy their jobs more since incorporating personalized blended learning into their classrooms.
  • 84 percent of teachers reported believing more strongly that ALL students can learn due to personalized blended learning.

Program contact information:

Chris Lowak

Director of Raising Blended Learners

Check out our other statewide programs