Accelerate Math Learning for All
Uncovering strategies to address learning needs
The combination of a growing population, shifting demographics, and changing standards is a challenge familiar to many schools. Aldeane Camito Ries Elementary School in Clark County, Nevada, was no different. “We were struggling with the fundamental questions: How do we reach all of our students effectively? How do we keep students moving forward while simultaneously filling gaps in their learning and how do we engage students in learning that will prepare them for jobs that do not exist today?” recalls Dr. Aimee Brady, Assistant Principal.
Ries administrators recognized that creating a school culture that embraces collaboration, prioritizes personalized learning, and leverages learning data in meaningful ways is the pathway to success, for students and educators.
Good teaching has not changed, the toolbox has
Supporting teachers in addressing the challenges the school already faced was no small task for Ries’s school-level administrators, and rolling out a Blended Learning initiative added to the pressure. However, shares Dr. Brady, “We decided to invest in Blended Learning because we needed a way to reach and engage every student.”
Administrators fully embraced the school’s pivot to Blended Learning, which invites a new way of thinking, investing in technology, and implementing strategies to get the most out of the new model and digital curriculum. One of the first steps of the transition was changing the way teachers felt about integrating technology into their instruction and using data to inform instruction. The second step was selecting a digital curriculum that surfaces the information teachers need to make in-the-moment instructional decisions through intuitive and easy to navigate reports.
After some investigation and word-of-mouth, Ries partnered with DreamBox Learning for the school’s math solution because of its ease of use for teachers and effectiveness for student success. DreamBox captures student data in real time, providing a way for teachers to identify areas of strength or need and then adjust their instruction to support both for every learner.
“Before, the teachers weren’t able to pinpoint the specific skills that students were struggling with,” Dr. Brady explains. “Now, not only do they have that ability, but through our continuous professional development, school-wide learning community, and teaming process they can learn from other teachers and expand their strategies for approaching instruction. Then they can share best practices. Everyone gets better.”
Leveraging the methods that work
As the 2014-2015 school year at Ries progressed, the Blended Learning approach to classroom instruction took hold and with the help of an in-house Blended Learning specialist and the district’s digital coach, teachers began to see its transformative effect. “It took a lot of trust for some of our teachers to step away from the front of the classroom and embrace Blended Learning, ” recalls Dr. Brady. “But as technology became more ingrained in our instruction, the teachers could quickly see learning gaps and adjust instruction on-the-spot. That’s powerful.”
DreamBox’s professional development support also gave teachers the opportunity to innovate and share new ideas. Through DreamBox and the teachers’ personalized learning strategies, every student could be engaged in their learning—no matter the class size.
Blending Learning pays off
Students at Ries who used DreamBox more than 60 minutes per week progressed in the curriculum more than one year’s worth of learning, an assessment proving the level of dedication and engagement was worth it. Students in the first grade saw the greatest learning gains, averaging over 2 years of growth.
And it’s not only the students who are more engrossed with what’s going on in the classroom. Teachers have found themselves rethinking what it means to be an educator. “I don’t feel comfortable standing in front of the class [lecturing] anymore,” one teacher shares. “I’d rather work closely with each student, like I can do now.”