Driving Personalized Math Instruction in a Title I Focus School

Overcoming economic disadvantages to close achievement gaps and change outcomes

For the first time in at least 50 years, a majority of public school students across the U.S. are considered “low-income,” according to a new study by the Southern Education Foundation. While poor children are spread across the country, concentrations are highest in the South and in the West. Take Missouri for example.

At Westport Elementary in Missouri, the number of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL) is now close to 90 percent. A Title I Focus School, Westport Elementary is considered a high-poverty school in a high-poverty district, and until recently, they had very low math scores. Unfortunately, this an all-too-familiar story as achievement gaps often reflect economic status.

Two years ago, the district made DreamBox part of their personalized learning initiative and today the school’s proficiency on an external District Standardized Assessment has increased by 36 percent, the largest growth they’ve seen in years. How did they do it? We recently asked numeracy coach Colleen Dorsey to share her district’s strategy for small group instruction and walk us through the steps she took to help her teachers get up and running fast with DreamBox.

Shortly after implementing DreamBox in 2015, Dorsey’s team determined that the skills gap at Westport Elementary spanned as many as four grade levels, with some fifth graders performing at a first-grade level. They knew they had their work cut out for them, so they set about devising a manageable plan using DreamBox data to monitor and measure each student every step of the way.

For teachers and students alike, the challenge was to set aside perceptions, embrace a new mindset, and change outcomes. To find out how kids at Westport managed to achieve a 98 percent growth in student standards on DreamBox, download the case study now. The Westport Elementary School story is an inspiring one that we hope you’ll read and share with your colleagues.

Kristen Ramaley

Kristen Ramaley

Sr Marketing Manager at DreamBox Learning
Kristen is a strong believer in the idea that every student learns differently and has spent the past 8 years working in edtech exploring different approaches to teaching and learning. When she is not behind a computer engaging with educators, she can be found hiking in the mountain passes surrounding her native city of Seattle, or on her paddle board with her furry companion Isla.
Kristen Ramaley