Three schools in the Stony Point High School feeder pattern have been awarded Tier III Innovative School Grants. Robertson Elementary School, Hernandez Middle School and Stony Point received three of the six grants awarded.
The Tier III grants, totaling $1.21 million, align with Goal 1 of the RRISD Strategic Plan, which states “we will implement, enhance and support innovative teachings and learning models.” The District previously awarded 34 schools $1.9 million as part of the grant program’s Tier I and Tier II process.
Robertson has been awarded a total of $295,000 in grants, including a $250,000 Tier III grant, which the campus will use to close its achievement gap through a Blended Learning model.
As part of a Raise Your Hand Texas pilot program, Robertson is embarking on a five-year journey to implement blended learning and enhance the teaching and learning that happens in classrooms.
“Blended learning is a combination of traditional learning with the use of technology to scaffold instruction,” Robertson Principal Dr. Patricia Ephlin said. “With the software, we are able to meet students where they are and grow them. One student may be receiving reteach while another is receiving accelerated instruction.”
By implementing a personalized, blended learning approach starting in math and language arts classrooms, students will receive personalized instruction to increase student achievement. Personalized learning is defined as: learning that is tailored to each student’s strengths, needs and interests; including enabling student voice and choice in the what, how, when and where they learn; to provide flexibility and supports to ensure mastery of the highest standards possible.
Hernandez was awarded a total of $349,957 in grants, including a $250,00 Tier III grant which the campus will use to apply a learning model centered on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) throughout the school.
The proposed instructional plan is to build upon current interdisciplinary practices with a focus on math, science and technology in order to build future STEM students, primarily through the introduction of a new STEM lab/programming which will empower all students to understand the world around them. The grant will fund flexible STEM labs, Girls Who Code and STEM Scouts clubs, professional development for staff and STEM Career Exploration in the community.
“We envision a school that has flexible STEM labs, Girls Who Code, STEM Scouts, and instructors who teach interdisciplinary IB units where skills are integrated instead of isolated, IB Coordinator, Desiree Le said. “ Student motivation and personalization is at the heart of this grant. We are excited to implement STEM and get students excited for advanced academics in high school and beyond. Our dedication to community partnerships will allow the students to envision themselves in STEM opportunities and careers.”
An intentional focus on common instructional methods and interdisciplinary development of content can strengthen student achievement. The interdisciplinary understandings will be developed with an emphasis on real world understandings from engineering and computer science disciplines.
Stony Point has been awarded $110,000 for the creation of an Audio-Visual lab to enrich current campus courses, increase campus communication and facilitate the development of student-centric training initiatives.
The two-year project will include the implementation of innovative, advanced courses like Advanced Journalism and Broadcasting/Campus Media Services. Students will work collaboratively while learning hands-on skills to tell the campus’ positive stories through a variety of mediums and share their work on social media.
“One of the goals for the journalism area has been to provide our students the opportunity to expand their print journalism experience and include production opportunities using audio, video and multimedia components so that they are fully prepared for post-secondary training,” Stony Point Journalism Teacher, Rebecca Plumley said. “We see the potential for students to collaborate and build interactive portfolios that tell their personal stories in a way that can be used for scholarship applications in the arts. We also see the potential for our core courses and language teachers to use audio/video production for both learning and vertically connecting teams across multiple levels of learning.”
The key component that separates and elevates this grant is that it is more about instruction than technology. New instructional opportunities and technologies will open opportunities that engage in strategic, scientific, creative and mathematical thinking. The model will create a self-sustaining system of instruction, provide one or two skilled adult trainers to maintain a safe lab climate, train non-paid student staff and the opening of a lab for extended hours.
Stony Point also received a $100,000 Tier II Innovative School Grant for Increasing IB Participation Through MYP Authorization, which will bring the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) to the campus to better prepare students to graduate under the IB Diploma Programme.