Is it possible to help low-performing high school students avoid remedial classes in college reading and writing? Leaders in many states believe it is indeed possible and are now offering or requiring “college prep” or “college transition” courses in high school. These courses are designed to ensure that low-performing students will have the reading and writing skills they need when they graduate from high school.
When Christopher Marczak joined Maury County Public Schools in Tennessee as superintendent in fall 2015, he quickly realized that while every school in his district of 12,000 students was doing the best job possible, each had a vastly different approach to teaching literacy.
Many students at Oxnard Elementary School District in Southern California have a dual challenge in gaining reading proficiency. Not only do they struggle with developing literacy skills, but over 56 percent of Oxnard’s 17,000 pre-k through 8 students are learning English as a second language.
To help these students overcome their literacy deficiency, in 2014 leaders at Oxnard turned to the 1-to-1 devices purchased the year prior.
At Napa Valley USD in northern California, classroom technology integration has been a priority since 1997, when the district opened the country’s first New Technology High School. So bringing in digital books in order to provide easily accessible content to the 18,000 students and faculty in 34 schools was a natural—and important—step.
Increasing the use of digital library content was one of the goals outlined in the North East Independent School District’s (ISD) instructional improvement plan starting in the 2013-14 school year. The San Antonio district, which enrolls 68,000 students, had many eBooks and digital audiobooks, but most students were simply not using the content.
A wealth of choices. Accessible at home or at school. Both fiction and nonfiction options. Those were the qualifications for new ELA software for the 37,000 students of West Ada School District in western Idaho.
“We had other instructional reading tools, but they were very expensive and did not provide content at the time,” says Laura Gilchrist, ELA curriculum coordinator.
By all accounts, Marysville School District in Michigan is a high-success, high-performance district. While the average state graduation rate hovers at about 78 percent, Marysville graduates 95 percent of its students. It’s a point of pride that students exit Marysville—a suburban community located 55 miles northeast of Detroit—prepared to meet the rigorous demands of higher education.
Leaders in Johnston County Schools in central North Carolina knew they needed to find more effective ways to help struggling students, close the achievement gap and meet their core instructional priorities. So they carefully planned a pilot program to choose the best adaptive learning system for the district’s 25,000 K8 students and their educators.
The push toward digital learning in Meriden Public Schools in Connecticut started about six years ago with a simple premise: Learning doesn’t stop when school ends. Superintendent Mark D. Benigni understood that advancing off-campus education would require a strong and engaging digital reading program.
With over 33,000 students and 52 school sites, it can be challenging to provide accessible content to all students in the St. Vrain Valley School District. Another challenge for the district located north of Denver is economic disparity, which can make achieving equity difficult.
Nearly 10 percent of the 18,680 students in the South Bend Community School Corporation in north central Indiana are English language learners. With students of varying levels of proficiency spread across the district’s 33 schools, finding solutions to help students increase their skills, particularly in reading comprehension, proved difficult.
For more information, visit www.achieve3000.com
Computer adaptive tests (CAT) are really growing in
popularity. With an adaptive model, which technology
clearly facilitates, great efficiencies are gained.
Improving the writing skills of all 6,500 students emerged as a top priority for the administrators of Mississippi’s Gulfport School District beginning in fall 2014. “We needed a resource that addressed the rigorous writing requirements of the Common Core, as well as one that would allow educators to teach writing in a systematic way,” says Patty Cooper, ELA Curriculum Specialist for Gulfport.
Close reading is a popular term today in elementary literacy classrooms and a requirement in the Common Core ELA standards in order to ensure students are college- and career- ready. It enables students to independently comprehend increasingly challenging texts. Students need to develop the habits of mind and the skills necessary to unpack the deep, embedded meanings found in complex, challenging texts on their own.