AUSTIN (KXAN) — Matt Pope, the Senior Program Director for RAISEup Texas and Monica De La Garza-Connes, the principal of Martin Middle School in East Austin, joined us in the KXAN studio to discuss the importance of achievements for middle school students.
RAISEup Texas is a targeted, whole-school approach to improving student achievement in middle school.
The program “transforms teaching and learning in the entire school, with every teacher, in every subject using research-validated tools and strategies to help all students ‘learn how to learn’ and think critically to meet high standards for college and career-readiness,” said Pope.
According to Pope, kids begin to disconnect in the middle school years due to boredom, hormones, and peer pressure as the rate of student absences start to steadily increase and students start to struggle with their academics.
“If one-half of struggling learners dropped out it would cost our state $2.8 billion dollars,” said Pope.
Success in middle school is key as students begin to make choices about high school classes that can help them get ready for college. The basic challenge for middle school students is that every day they go to seven classes taught in seven different ways.
RAISEup Texas is helping combat this issue with their whole-school toolbox with instructional routines, intervention strategies, graphic organizers and planning tools to help students learn and teachers to support independent student learning. Their goal is to make sure students have the tools and skills to become independent, engaged life-long learners.
“I am a new principal to Martin Middle School, but in the short time that I have been there, I have seen the impact of RAISEup Texas,” said Connes. “Martin Middle School was designated as an Improvement Required school by the Texas Education Agency for the past three years. Martin is now in the second year of RAISEup Texas program, first full year of implementation and since them Matt and his team have been working with our teachers, instructional coaches and school leadership to make sure they have the tools, routines and strategies necessary to help students succeed.”