by Susan Dawson and Molly Young
Far too many middle school students are performing below grade level and failing to achieve academic success due to a lack of content literacy and critical thinking skills. To address this key area of need, E3 Alliance launched RAISEup Texas: a targeted, whole-school approach to improving student achievement in middle school.
RAISEup Texas™ (Research-Validated Approach to Instruction for Secondary Excellence in Texas) is a viable, whole-school solution wherein teachers are intensely trained on research-validated tools and strategies to enhance their ability to help all students meet high standards for high school-, college- and career-readiness while targeting struggling learners to help them rapidly catch up.
The RAISEup Texas framework includes a set of learning tools that break down every lesson to actively engage every student in a roadmap for conceptual learning. RAISEup Texas:
- Builds deep conceptual learning skills
- Uses powerful instructional tools in every class, for every student
- Supports in-depth teacher planning to increase rigor
- Focuses on struggling learners to close achievement gaps
The effective solution is a whole-school implementation of RAISEup Texas where every teacher, in every subject is using research-validated tools and strategies to help ALL students “learn how to learn” and think critically.
E3 Alliance, ESC Region 13, and targeted schools in six school districts in Central Texas (Austin, Eanes, Hays, Leander, Round Rock, and San Marcos) recently completed a 3 ½ year demonstration project of RAISEup Texas. The results are compelling: in every grade over multiple years, struggling learners in RAISEup Texas schools gained more than 10 times as many points on pre-versus-post-tests than their nationally-normed peers across the country.
Based on these compelling results, and guided by the Greenlights/Innovation+ Accelerator program, E3 is now planning to rapidly scale RAISEup Texas. We have already launched RAISEup Texas in three Fort Bend schools, and other schools in Lubbock and the Houston area have shown interest. By using a “scatter shot” approach throughout the state we could benefit tens of thousands of students, but would it truly have a strategic impact?
Instead, we decided to use a much more focused approach: leveraging our 3D Growth data (funded in the Central Texas region by Michael & Susan Dell Foundation) to identify schools:
- With high populations of struggling students
- Showing student academic growth and achievement below the state average
- In a concentrated geographic area.
By targeting enough of these schools – about 16 of the 24 potential target schools in the region – we should be able to close achievement gaps and demonstrate true population-level impact in Central Texas.
Through the Greenlights/Innovation+ Accelerator program, E3 Alliance is now seeking $3.3M in private investment, to be matched by $2.2M in district investment, to reach these 16 schools of concentrated need over the next five years, and thus show extraordinary economic impact in our region. If instead we choose not to act, and just 1/2 of the struggling learners in those same 16 middle schools drop out, it will cost our taxpayers 2.8 BILLION dollars more in lost wages and taxes.
By “connecting the dots” between a data-driven solution to transform middle school teaching and learning – i.e. RAISEupTexas – and data-driven decision-making through our 3D Growth tools, we can guide investment now to create unprecedented economic impact for our region’s future. As the kids would say: “It’s a no-brainer!”
Susan Dawson is the President and Executive Director of E3 Alliance. Susan can be contacted at SDawson@e3alliance.org
Molly Young is the Director of Raiseup Texas. Molly can be contacted at MYoung@e3alliance.org