February 17, 2023
Recently, we hosted a panel discussion with four dedicated educators from across the nation. They shared their experiences, best practices, and wins during DreamBox Math and Reading Plus pilot implementations. The conversation illuminated exactly how powerful the right tool in the right hands can be to drive student learning outcomes. We’ve captured a few of our favorite takeaways from the conversation below.
Carrie Tomc, Elementary Math Coordinator at Rock Wood School District in Missouri, shared the long journey to adopting DreamBox Math in her district. Though it took time and persistence, eventually, staff and students were able to adopt a solution they believed in.
“Our journey with DreamBox Math started about seven years ago when we were looking at writing a new curriculum and looking at resources. We were ready to make the shift to focus on building a conceptual understanding of math versus just the typical drill and kill. We wanted to focus on those standards of mathematical practice.
We looked at DreamBox, and then we did a small pilot. Because we were adopting all new resources, the purchase of all new physical resources stalled adding technology at that time. Our teachers that piloted DreamBox never gave up hope for the purchase of DreamBox. Every year, come budget time, I’d hear, ‘Are we going to get DreamBox? Are we going to get DreamBox? Are we going to get DreamBox?’ If one good thing came out of the pandemic, it fast-tracked our ability to do some things.”
The district repiloted DreamBox Math to support virtual summer programs during remote learning for K – 5. Due to the positive results from students, educators, and parents, they have expanded the program to include middle school as well.
Since reopening schools, many districts have noticed students have more diverse learning needs than ever before. A middle school classroom may have students working at elementary school levels, and there may be students working at high school levels. Teachers simply don’t have the bandwidth to differentiate instruction for every child. However, they can provide learning solutions that streamline differentiation and enable students to get the support they need immediately. Marietta Koziatek, the Mathematics 6 – 12 Coordinator at Rockwood School District, shared why adaptive technology has been critical for middle school students in her district.
“In those early months when we returned to the classroom, we wanted to meet our students where they were ready to learn. There was so much diversity in the learning that DreamBox Math was able to help accommodate the different areas where students needed extra support.”
DreamBox Intelligent Adaptive Learning technology helped accommodate student needs before schools reopened, as well. During early remote learning periods, education leaders across Rockwood noticed that students demonstrated a wide range of engagement. This participation seemed related to the extent to which students had support in their homes. The district used DreamBox Math to make sure to meet student needs, no matter what level of support they were getting at home. Tomc shared how pleased stakeholders were with the program’s ability to personalize learning and engage all students.
“Our kids liked DreamBox Math, our teachers liked it, and now our parents liked it. We were seeing the playing field being leveled for all students.”
When students returned to school, most were facing learning loss on some level. Education leaders in Little Rock School District in Arkansas looked for tools to help students get what they needed independently, while allowing educators to focus on grade-level goals for whole-group instruction. Jennifer Beasley, the district K – 12 STEM Director, explains.
“We told teachers to teach grade-level instruction and let DreamBox close the gaps from prior learning. A teacher came back and reported that she gave a unit assessment, and 80 - 100% of her students did well on the assessment on grade-level work because they had 15 minutes of protected DreamBox time.”
The post-pandemic landscape has been challenging for everyone. Educators are tasked with identifying students’ needs, bridging learning gaps, and balancing the competing priorities in their day-to-day instruction. The work can be exhausting, and much of it can be hard to validate in isolation. DreamBox reports have helped teachers see growth in real time. These results not only demonstrate success for students they motivate teachers, as well.
“DreamBox is helping find some misconceptions students may have had from prior grades. We’re seeing growth in the unfinished learning that was hard to see with the naked eye. We may have students who are working below grade level, and as a grade-level teacher, it may be really frustrating to get students caught up. And you’re not seeing growth, but then you pull up some of the DreamBox reports, you can really see that growth in what the students are working on. It has really helped boost our teachers’ outlook to know that their students are growing, even if it’s not on grade-level material.”
As panelists discussed some of the exciting wins, they discovered that with DreamBox programs, one theme became clear – it is always a win to see students feel confident in their skills. Tomc described how students often boast about seeing skills in DreamBox before their teacher introduces them to the skill. Roseanne Cavallo, Supervisor of English Language Arts and Media Studies at Hackensack Public Schools in New Jersey, shared a story about a student so proud of her growth in reading that she wanted to share her Reading Plus reports with every adult that walked into the room.
“Students are excited about their growth when they see it. Their confidence level really skyrockets. One 7th-grade student started the year with a benchmark assessment at a 5th-grade reading level. Halfway through the year, this student has already surpassed our yearly goal and completed more than 80 lessons, and she has moved above an 8th-grade reading level and to a 9th-grade vocabulary level. For anyone who walks in the room, she wants to share her reports.”
To learn more about the power of a DreamBox pilot, watch a recording of this webinar here.