Posted Date: 12/10/2018
Atlanta ISD has recently been awarded the Math Innovation Zones planning grant by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). One of only 15 districts awarded in the state of Texas, this grant will guide AISD in establishing blended learning classrooms in Atlanta Middle, Elementary, and Primary Schools. Through the grant, TEA will support schools in the creation and expansion of high quality blended learning programs aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Math Innovation Zones seeks to provide schools the opportunity to dramatically impact the life trajectory of students by improving academic outcomes in math at all grade levels.
Research shows that the use of blended learning programs across the country has led to impressive improvements in both student and teacher focused outcomes, particularly with regard to closing the achievement gap between students. Through a state approved online curriculum and a robust technical assistance network composed of experts in blended learning implementation, Math Innovation Zones (MIZ) will support schools in building and scaling high-quality blended learning programs. Blended learning has its roots in online learning and represents a fundamental shift in instruction that has the potential to optimize learning for each individual student in ways that traditional instruction never could. Although AISD schools have been using computers and technology for some time, this grant will provide the training and tools needed to use technology to provide students with a true blend of instruction.
Sidney Harrist, AISD Superintendent, stated that "Creating blended learning classrooms can be very challenging for teachers. We have been researching this concept recently and this grant is a perfect fit for us. With the support and guidance provided, we will be able to apply blended learning in Pre-K through 8th grade. We currently have some excellent pockets of blended learning in our schools and they continue to have great success. This grant is an excellent opportunity for all of our students to have access to the latest research and the very best instructional methods that we can provide, especially in math, where it is so vital that they comprehend and excel. We want our teachers to feel secure and supported with high quality professional development, our project sustainability to be properly planned, and our technology infrastructure to be optimal for learning. The MIZ grant will provide a technical assistance network of experts in these fields that will guide and support us in this huge effort."
Beginning in fall 2019, blended learning classrooms in AISD will be in Kindergarten, 3rd grade, and 6th grade, with expansion to all grades levels PK-8 over the following two years. The MIZ planning grant amount is $125,000 and the implementation grant will be $150,000. The MIZ Project Manager for AISD will be Liz Booth, who is a math specialist at Atlanta Elementary and has extensive experience in math instruction, data analysis, and leadership. Mrs. Booth, along with AISD principals, math teachers, and district leaders will attend the MIZ Summit in Dallas on December 10-11, where they will begin the shift towards blended learning.