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Implementing Professional Development that Sets Teachers and Students Up for Success

Guest Post by Jessica M. Osipowicz, STAT Teacher at Vincent Farm Elementary

Jessica OsipowiczAs an educator with Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) for nearly 14 years, I have experience teaching both third and fourth grade. In my current position as a Student and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (STAT) educator, I provide professional development (PD) to all teachers in my building. Working closely with the administrative team, I facilitate teachers’ learning by identifying needs that tie into our School Progress Plan (SPP) and the Baltimore County curriculum.

Vincent Farm Elementary has been using DreamBox as a component of the current BCPS mathematics curriculum for almost two years. DreamBox is just one of the ways that BCPS ensures that students receive personalized instruction.

Creating a meaningful professional development plan

Last summer, I was part of the first DreamBox “Train the Trainer” cohort, sponsored by the BCPS Mathematics Office and DreamBox Learning. During this time, I worked with a small group of STAT teachers and professionals from DreamBox to better understand the process used to evaluate and analyze student data, assign lessons, and identify available tools and resources. We also took time to reflect on the data to identify:

  • Which standards were being met
  • How many lessons were being completed
  • How DreamBox grouped students based on standard proficiency

This exercise enabled me to help teachers better understand the correlation between daily DreamBox usage and student achievement, and how we can better leverage DreamBox to help students:

  • Grow in areas identified within our daily curriculum
  • Meet goals on the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®) test
  • Set goals using the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Evidence Statements

Based on formal data, an informal survey, and results from the previous year, we were able to gauge how staff was currently using DreamBox in the classroom and establish a benchmark from which we could plan meaningful professional development. We began implementing professional learning plans at the start of the 2016-2017 school year. Some teachers explored the grouping and Assignments tools, others learned how to read and analyze their dashboard, and still others learned how DreamBox adapts and personalizes learning.

DreamBox FlexPD Mastery Levels

Using formative data to inform instructional practice and improve outcomes

Today, BCPS teachers use formative data from DreamBox to help shape their instructional practice. After students took the fall MAP test, teachers set growth target goals with them and discussed areas of strength and weakness. Students then began tracking their own progress.

A few months into the school year, students started asking teachers to assign them lessons that focused on the areas they wanted to learn more about. They not only wanted to complete more lessons, but they were highly motivated to improve their mathematical understanding.

The students at Vincent Farm Elementary have averaged 113 percent growth this school year, met 28.1 Standards, and have completed over 216,600 lessons. Furthermore, students in Grades 1-5 met their projected growth rate with 80.4 percent accuracy; this is a 12.5 percent increase from the previous school year. I am excited about the results we’re seeing, and my role supporting the teachers in my building with DreamBox.

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