CAST Schools to receive up to $300,000 and technical support provided
by the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation
CAST Schools is among the 20 school districts (or networks) selected as blended learning demonstration sites in the second cohort of Raising Blended Learners. CAST will receive up to $300,000 in grant funding plus additional in-kind technical assistance to implement a personalized learning program within their district.
The 2020 cohort of blended learning demonstration sites reflect the vast diversity within Texas’ public schools including suburban, rural, and urban districts with student populations ranging from 550 to more than 150,000 students.
“Our blended learning plan for our CAST Schools will focus on student agency and personalized learning, with a focus on incoming 9th graders and expanding to additional grades over time.”
– Jen Maestas, CAST Schools Leadership Coach
Blended learning merges best practices of 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.
“Through these resources we will be able to build a foundation of student agency from the minute students enter our network. Blended learning for CAST is a pathway for us to support students as they develop their own life plans and drive their own learning.” – Jeanne Russell, CAST Schools, Executive Director
Raising Blended Learners was originally scheduled to launch work with its second cohort during the 2020-21 school year. However, due to the challenging times 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 of 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 Learners demonstration sites with readiness support to help the districts revisit and revise, if necessary, their blended learning plans.
“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.
“We are grateful for the designation and look forward to working with our cohort to develop effective initiatives that will drive learning for our CAST students.” – Executive Director, Jeanne Russell