Spotlight on Pasadena Independent School District
3 takeaways from Texas teachers who added DreamBox to their rotation
Pasadena Independent School District (ISD) is one of the 15 largest districts in Texas, serving more than 65,000 students. Nearly 80 percent of the student population are considered economically disadvantaged and almost a third speak English as a second language.
Three years ago, the district began rolling out DreamBox Learning® Math to their 36 elementary schools as part of a blended learning initiative focused on smaller group instruction and flexible teaching environments. Last month, we caught up with four Pasadena ISD teachers as they wrapped up the school year and readied for summer break. We asked them how they were using DreamBox in their classrooms and what advice they might offer fellow educators anxious about integrating edtech into their curriculum.
From setting early learning goals with Kindergarten kids to instilling confidence in a reluctant 5th grade mathematician, these educators have made DreamBox a key component of their blended learning instruction—and they’re thrilled with the results. . In the meantime, here are three key takeaways from these meaningful discussions with teachers about getting started with DreamBox and keeping the momentum going strong all school year long.
- Don’t be intimidated: Today’s kids are exposed to technology right out of the crib. Because most toddlers know their way around a toy-grade tablet, by the time they get to Kindergarten they’re surprisingly tech-savvy. So, when it comes to digital learning, kids understand and adapt quickly to the medium and they find it very engaging. That’s great news for teachers, but it can also be a little intimidating, especially for educators who are being asked to add a new digital component to their rotation for the first time. The advice from teachers in Pasadena ISD? Don’t be afraid. Talk to teachers who’ve already made the leap. Then, just try it for yourself. DreamBox comes with a lot of support. There are a ton of resources, including webinars, short how-to videos, a professional learning community, and even job-embedded PD that’s accessible anywhere anytime.
- Make the time: Whether its 15-minute sessions daily or 20-minute sessions every other day, these teachers say making DreamBox part of their regular rotation is key to driving growth. In fact, administrators at a number of schools we talked to actually open the doors to their computer labs for a half hour before and/or after school to accommodate kids who want to log extra time on DreamBox and maybe don’t have access to the Internet or a device at home. Fifth grade teacher Hector Del Rio says kids who complete the most lessons tend to show the most growth—and he ought to know. His class scored the highest in the district on their math STAAR assessments. Want further proof? A recent study by the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University found a linear correlation between DreamBox usage and improved scores on the Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) assessment.
- Celebrate small wins: At the beginning of the school year, first grade teacher Roxanna Salcedo sets a modest goal for her students to complete five DreamBox lessons per week. Over time, as her students build skills and confidence, she increases their goals. Roxanna keeps her mathematicians motivated by providing one-on-one support as needed, encouraging them to persevere, and keeping math fun. They get a star on the wall when they meet their goals, and they get to have lunch with the teacher. Plus, every Friday, they get to visit the Arcade, a learning incentive within DreamBox that lets kids spend the virtual tokens they’ve earned while completing their recommended lessons.
To read more about how teachers in Pasadena ISD are using DreamBox to meet kids at their level and motivate them to become better problem solvers and lifelong learners, download the Spotlight Story now.