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Better Schools Lead to Increases in Student Enrollment

Racine Unified focused on personalized learning in its middle schools and within a year saw more students engaged in their classrooms. RUSD is turning a corner in enrollment drop, and Education Elements is proud to be RUSD’s partner in this journey.


of teachers report students are more engaged


of teachers report students are more self-directed


of middle school students feel like they belong in school


of middle school students say their teachers care about them


of school administrators report that teachers collaborate more effectively

Racine Unified School District, WI

Racine Unified School District, located approximately 30 miles south of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, serves nearly 20,000 students across 34 schools.

The Challenge

Over the past eight years, RUSD has seen a nearly seven percent decline in total enrollment. The decrease in enrollment has been even greater at the middle school level with a 15 percent decline over the past six years. The district attributes this to change mostly to the area’s overall population shifts due to a depressed economy and birth rates; however a state policy of vouchers and open enrollment also allows students to leave the district for another public school district.

How We Helped

Racine Unified School District chose to roll out a personalized learning initiative to their five middle schools. During the first year, a group of teachers, called the “Blended Learning Champions” were chosen to implement differentiated instruction in their classrooms using the core four elements of personalized learning. Currently, in their second year, personalized learning efforts are being scaled across all classrooms.

The Results

  • Both survey and observation data indicate that student engagement is higher in classrooms that have implemented personalized learning. Teachers who are implementing blended learning report that their students are more engaged (83%) and self-directed (73%) since starting blended learning. In a survey, middle school students reported that they felt like they belonged in school (62%), and that their teachers care about them (68%).
  • Additionally, school administrators report that since they started blended learning, teachers collaborate more effectively (71%).
  • Racine Unified School District is losing fewer students to open enrollment. According to 2016-17 budget numbers Racine saw a 38 student drop in the number of district students open-enrolled at schools in other districts in the region. That’s a 3 percent change in students leaving the district through open enrollment in just one year.

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