Changing the Way Teachers Teach and Learners Learn

We can’t expect kids to be 21st century ready if we are teaching the way we have always taught… We have to get students to be globally competitive citizens, and that’s not going to happen with rows, textbooks, worksheets, and lectures.

—Dr. Chris Marczak, Superintendent of Schools

In 2016, Maury County implemented a community-created, district-wide improvement plan entitled, “7 Keys to College and Career Readiness.” This initiative identifies seven educational goals each student must reach in order to achieve his or her full potential.

Among the goals, there are three that pertain to math: Keys 2 and 3 require students to execute at or above grade level at the close of fourth and sixth grades respectively, and Key 4 requires all students to be proficient in Algebra I by the end of eighth grade. With these goals in mind, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chris Marczak and his team partnered with DreamBox to help prepare Maury County to systemically and systematically meet the math needs of the 21st century classroom.

“When we started to look at Keys 2, 3 and 4, DreamBox was the software program that rose to the top,” says Marczak. “We loved the layout, we loved the format, we loved how it grows with the student as they progress with fluency—and the research behind it said that even if you use DreamBox just 20 minutes a week, your students are going to see growth.

Additionally, to support the 7 keys initiative, Marczak used existing funds to create three new school-based instructional coach positions in every single school: one focused on project based
learning (PBL), one on leading professional learning communities (PLCs), and one on using data to
inform instruction.

These data coaches collaborate with Maury County’s district-based data coordinator to understand the student performance data they’re getting from DreamBox. “We are assessing students to determine where they are and then really working with teachers to make sure they take that data and actually do something meaningful with it,” says Marczak.

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