May 12, 2022
Dr. Darin Brawley, the superintendent of Compton Unified School District (CUSD) discussed the district approach to ensure staff has clarity on the purpose and benefits of new programs and the expectations, goals and successes.
“We had to change our messaging and focus on the purpose. ... If you can’t get to the why it becomes difficult for people to see the usefulness of a program. Through our ongoing data chats with stakeholders, we have cemented the usefulness of DreamBox as an important instructional tool to support both teachers and students in meeting grade-level standards in math.”
Dr. Dean Wilson, the executive director of Terra Academy shared his experience and best practices for building a culture that moves from evaluation to appreciation.
“We choose to champion our students and we choose to champion our teachers. Why? Because every champion starts out as a contender and every contender needs a champion. Find that contender and put yourselves in that corner.”
Shawnte Clewis, K - 8 math administrator at CUSD, explained the strategic steps district leadership took to ensure educators understood the tools were in place to help accelerate learning.
“The tools you provide to teachers shouldn’t be just one more thing. Tools should create an advantage for educators to gain better insight, focus on student needs and increase instructional time.”
Dr. Tim Hudson, chief learning officer at DreamBox Learning, explained that educators shouldn’t have to spend precious instructional hours administering tests, reviewing data and analyzing results when available technology can help streamline these tasks. Technology can help teachers focus on what they do best – teach.
“Technology can help with the things that take assessments, differentiation, providing instant insights. Cut to the chase – who is on track? How can I help? Who else might benefit?”
Dr. Wilson explained the value of being strategic and thoughtful about the learning tools you bring into your school. There can be an ROI for leaving some tools behind.
“We made our school an exciting place to be, but excitement isn’t enough. Excitement is common, persistence is not. So how could we continue the momentum on a day-to-day basis? We needed the right tool, in the right place, at the right time. That’s where we were focusing on educators being able to triangulate data. We looked at our assessments and looked for tools that would allow for adaptive progress monitoring. We’re now seeing 1.5 years of growth in literacy. At the end of the day, we’re working skill by skill, kid by kid to create a positive impact for students.”
Dr. Brawley shared why DreamBox was an important tool to help students achieve math goals during school closures, especially when learning interruptions were a cause for concern.
“Three years ago, we implemented DreamBox as a learning tool to support math within our organization. We saw DreamBox was different because it meets students where they are, provides support, and adapts to their needs as they master different math concepts. … With the pandemic, we saw DreamBox as the perfect tool to address learning gaps in mathematics. We doubled down on our message about the importance of how DreamBox provides students with lessons at their current level of mastery and adapts to fill in those missing links.”
Dr. Wilson shared how despite recent challenges, Terra Academy fosters a collaborative culture to improve school processes, guide instructional strategies and support the social-emotional needs of both staff and students.
“It may feel overwhelming, but we must reclaim the classroom. We need every good educator to rise up, rally up and push forward. This pandemic will end, the things we’re facing right now will get better, but it won’t be based on hope or wishes. It will be based on the actions that we choose to take.”