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Achieve3000 leads to achievement gains and assessment success in southern California district

Achieve3000 leads to achievement gains and assessment success in Southern California district
John M. Nelson III served as the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at Chula Vista Elementary School District
John M. Nelson III served as the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at Chula Vista Elementary School District

For more information, visit www.achieve3000.com

John M. Nelson III served as the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at Chula Vista Elementary School District, located halfway between San Diego and Mexico in San Diego County. In 2010, when the Common Core State Standards were adopted by California, he knew the 30,000-student district needed to help students get comfortable reading and writing about nonfiction texts and using technology for assessments

How did your district team decide to confront the challenges of the new standards?
We invited a representative from Achieve3000, a differentiating reading software solution, to present to our principals. Achieve3000, which is aligned to the Common Core, meets readers at their individual level and engages them with powerful texts and just-right vocabulary and structure. Because students are actively interested, they learn more and achieve accelerated reading gains. For the 2010-11 school year, one school site piloted Achieve3000 with students in grades 2 through 6.

How successful was the implementation? What advice would you give to other administrators?
Achieve3000 was immediately a hit in the first school, and word travels quickly in the district. Since 2011, more and more schools have implemented the program. By the 2014-15 school year, 35 of 45 schools used Achieve3000. For 2015-16, the Chula Vista Elementary School District has committed to having all third- through sixth-graders use Achieve3000 to strengthen and enhance their literacy skills. The district finally has a program that helps accelerate learning for all students, not just provides remediation. Schools that embraced a full partnership with Achieve3000 and engaged in the professional development and curriculum implementation components of the program saw greater success than those that did not. To reap maximum benefits, I would encourage administrators looking at Achieve3000 to make sure they are prepared to use the whole system.

What results have you seen so far?
Chula Vista Elementary has been on a trajectory for improvement since 2005. However, low scores were predicted statewide on the first Smarter Balanced assessment in 2015. While the average in California for students meeting or exceeding standards was 41 percent, in Chula Vista Elementary, 54 percent of students met or exceeded the standards. The district outperformed all other counties in Southern California. There is no better evidence to me of the effectiveness of Achieve3000 than these stellar results. I can only imagine how the district will perform on the next set of assessments when all of the school sites are using Achieve3000.

How does Achieve3000 contribute to Chula Vista Elementary School District’s overall mission for success?
District leaders like myself regard every individual child as having great worth. If there is a rigorous new set of standards and there is a program out there that helps students succeed in those new standards, it is our responsibility to provide that program. Students are at different places in terms of understanding complex texts. There are many English language learners. To ensure success for every student and honor their value as an individual, we need to differentiate instruction. Achieve3000 teaches content and language through academic discourse.

What feedback have you gotten from stakeholders about Achieve3000?
Students love that they are reading about a variety of topics. For example, there is an Achieve3000 text about city lights and their impact on humans. Students see this in their city and love to talk and to write about the topic because it’s relevant to their lives. With Achieve3000, students get to read like a detective and write like a reporter.

For more information, visit www.achieve3000.com