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Elevate- Blended Learning

In 2016, Cisco ISD was selected as a blended learning demonstration site for the State by the non-profit group Raise Your Hand Texas. With that Cisco began a journey toward a redesign of instruction for math and science in elementary and junior high. At Cisco, blended learning means integrating the best of who we have always been, great teachers educating hard-working students, with the best support of the newest technologies. 

Since we started: major technology updates have happened across CES and CJH; extensive training has empowered teachers to meet every student where they are; and students are taking ownership of their learning. Anyone walking the halls can see a dynamic change.

Year 3 (2018-19) will see the completion of our plan with RYHT. We will have blended math and science from 1st grade through 8th grade. Rooms outside of our plan have also begun incorporating pillars of blended learning; one can see the impact of this program all around. 

Four pillars guide our work: data driven instruction, student agency, personalized learning experiences, and rigor. Each pillar is implemented in various ways depending upon the grade level, subject, and teacher. 

Data Driven Instruction means that teachers and students use various sources of data to determine where the student is on his/her journey. Identifying strengths and weaknesses allow the student to set goals and to understand that he/she can and will grow with effort in need areas. Data enables teachers to understand where a student is and where he/she needs to go. Cisco uses NWEA’s MAP as a primary source of data, but curricular supportive software also plays a key role.

Student agency is a way to empower students in their own education. Giving them some choice and control over their lessons is a part of fostering ownership in students. This agency takes different forms in each classroom but it can mean: choosing what specific lessons on a topic to complete, where they sit in class, demonstrating mastery early and moving on in their studies, and more.

Personalized learning experiences is a commitment that each student is unique. With that understanding, students are given the opportunity to have equally unique learning paths. Testing out of already known lessons, moving ahead at a pace that fits each student, and engaging in projects that take them farther in understanding of a topic are some examples of personalization in our classrooms.

Rigor. Pushing students to reach beyond the basics and raising expectations of students are a part of increasing rigor. CISD is committed to finding ways to challenge our students and to assist each of them to attain their highest levels of academic achievement. 

Cisco Jr. High was recognized as a national model school by The Learning Accelerator, a leader in blended and personalized learning. Take a few minutes to review the CJH feature to see videos of our classrooms and an in-depth look at our blended program.

CISD was selected in May 2018 as a pilot site for the Texas Education Agency’s Math Innovation Zone initiative. This will allow for an expansion of our math work down to Kindergarten and PreK over the next year. This support by TEA will not only expand our program but support it potentially through 2020-21. We are proud to be a part of this new initiative!

Since we began, Cisco has hosted hundreds of teachers, dozens of school districts, and multiple universities who want to see the great work of our teachers and students. Visitors have also come from out-of-state and internationally. Blended learning is not perfect, but it is a commitment to give teachers what they need to meet each student where they are. This is education for every student.