Uplift Education, the largest network of free, public, college preparatory schools in North Texas, received a $360,000 grant from The Morris Foundation to launch a blended learning pilot program at Uplift Mighty Preparatory and Uplift Meridian Preparatory in Forth Worth.
Funds from this grant will be used to accelerate learning in kindergarten through third grade and sixth through eighth grade. Teachers will use technology to personalize learning for each student, while simultaneously leading computer-based small group sessions.
Each day, students will have a 90-minute reading block and a 90-minute math block with 30 minute rotations in each block. For both math and reading, students will rotate between three stations: small group instruction led by the teacher, computer based instruction using adaptive software, and independent activities that allow students to practice skills that have already been mastered. Students will rotate between each station and teachers will deliver differentiated lessons using data and student interest collected on Uplift’s internal data tool.
Uplift Mighty and Uplift Meridian opened their doors in the August 2012, and the first year in south east Fort Worth confirmed the need for more high-quality schools focused on student achievement.
“Our scholars at the beginning of the year were on average scoring 3-4 years behind grade level on the national normed test Measurement of Academic Performance (MAP). By the end of the year Uplift Meridian and Uplift Mighty scholars had only grown on average a little over one academic year. We knew if we wanted to make sure every scholar was truly college ready when they graduated from high school, we need to accelerate their academic gains” said Yasmin Bhatia, CEO of Uplift Education.
The 2012-13 school year results for Uplift Mighty and Uplift Meridian caused a strategic shift in how to appropriately staff and organize the school for success. The cluster of Fort Worth schools added a few instructional Deans, added resident teachers to the middle school math classes to assist with small group instruction, and have been leveraging blended learning programs to better meet the needs of students who have a wider range of skills within a specific grade level. Uplift Mighty Middle School also leveraged additional teacher professional development support as part of their work with the Middle School Matters initiative at the George Bush Institute.
Teachers will use real-time data already available to them on Uplift’s internal portal to change groups and student assignments as needed. By creating multiple opportunities for leveled, small group instruction, teachers will be able to develop targeted lesson plans and focus on individual student goals to ensure mastery of skills and content.
“Because our scholars come to Uplift Mighty and Uplift Meridian with such extreme needs we have to rethink how we are delivering education and effectively meeting each scholar at their level and helping them grow to their highest potential. This opportunity from The Morris Foundation will have a meaningful impact on our scholars and at Uplift Mighty and Uplift Meridian,” said Uplift Managing Director Priscilla Parhms.