Schools Experiencing Success

five students in a classroom looking at the camera

Bridgeport Elementary School

At Bridgeport Elementary, in suburban Oregon’s Tigard-Tualatin School District, the school’s leadership team looked at data and decided to focus on math—in particular, on fact fluency and providing students with more strategies to solve problems.

Over the course of two change cycles, students learned multiple ways to solve problems and shared their strategies in "math talk" with each other. Students also kept math journals.

At the end of the first change cycle, 57 percent of students had increased their scores on a district assessment by three facts or more. That number rose to 84 percent by the end of the second change cycle. The goal is for 100 percent of students to show improvement, and Bridgeport is on the right track.

Byrom Elementary School

Another school in the Tigard-Tualatin School District chose writing as a student growth area. The leadership team at Byrom Elementary set a yearlong goal to improve the percentage of students meeting benchmark on the district writing assessment by 10 percent (from 56 to 66 percent). They cited a specific student learning challenge of sentence fluency in writing. Teachers worked with students on sentence expansion and gave students sample texts to use as writing models over the course of two change cycles.

On a writing assessment created by the district, the percentage of students scoring at benchmark or higher in sentence fluency after the first change cycle jumped 20 points (from 34 to 54 percent). By the end of the second change cycle, the percentage of students showing proficiency in this area jumped another 18 points (from 54 to 72 percent) while the percentage of students scoring at the lowest level dropped from 25 to just 3 percent. The school also exceeded its yearlong goal of improving overall writing proficiency, moving the percentage of students meeting the benchmark from 56 to 78 percent over the course of the year.

Springdale Middle School/Mary Walker High School

In the remote Mary Walker School District north of Spokane, the middle and high school have concentrated on reading and writing over the course of three change cycles, centering their instructional focus around analysis and critical reading. Classroom teachers worked with students on strategies such as marking texts, re-reading, and citing evidence from a text.

As a result, the schools saw a 27 percent jump in the number of students showing proficiency on district reading benchmark assessment and a 15 percent jump (from 70 to 85 percent) in students meeting the benchmark on the Washington state practice exam.