EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Socorro Independent School District (SISD) has been awarded a $300,000 grant to implement a personalized learning program within their district.
SISD is the first district in the El Paso region and among 20 school districts that have been selected as a blended learning demonstration site in the second cohort of Raising Blended Learners.
Blended learning combines in-person classroom teaching with online technology so educators are able to utilize data to personalize instruction while students are able to gain more ownership over their learning, officials said.
“We have long recognized the importance of technology in curriculum and doing everything we can to increase blended learning in all of our schools. I am proud and humbled that our teachers, students, and administrators are being rewarded for embracing digital teaching and learning in all of our classrooms,” said SISD Superintendent Jose Espinoza, Ed.D. “This prestigious grant will enable us to strengthen our already successful Operation College Bound and Operation Future Ready efforts to ensure our students are ready for success in post-secondary education and our fast-paced, technology-driven society.”
Raising Blended Learners was originally scheduled to launch during the 2020-21 school year. However, due to the school closures caused by COVID-19, the program will begin implementation during the 2021-22 school year.
“The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation recognizes this announcement comes at a challenging time for education across the state,” said Jennifer Jendrzey, vice president of strategy and evaluation for the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation. “In light of the trauma and chaos surrounding COVID-19, we know that ‘business as usual’ will not be possible for many districts as they head into the 2020-21 school year and, therefore, made the difficult decision to delay the launch of Raising Blended Learners by one full calendar year.”
During the interim, the Foundation will support the second cohort of Raising Blended Learning demonstration sites with readiness support to help the districts revisit and revise, if necessary, their blended learning plans, officials said.
“Even with a delay, Raise Your Hand is committed to helping districts maintain the momentum generated through the past year of the application and planning process, and supporting them in addressing the new teaching and learning reality of COVID-19,” Jendrzey said.
The first cohort of Raising Blended Learners selected in 2015, included five demonstration districts that received grant funding and implementation support. Another 15 districts received implementation support without grant funding.
To date, Raising Blended Learners has impacted more than 50 schools, 600 teachers, and 35,000 students.