Doubling math growth at Salt Creek Elementary

Lalaine Perez, Prinicpal of Salt Creek Elementary in Chula Vista Elementary District

Lalaine Perez

Interview Highlights

“We knew we needed to do something to support all students, especially English learners and students with disabilities."

Here are Ms. Perez's top 4 ways Levered helps teachers meet students where they are and then propel them toward extraordinary gains in math learning:

1. Tools to support English language learners

Levered’s integrated strategies support SDAIE—an approach focused on teaching academic content to ELL students—without watering down the instruction. The platform provides students with access to core content in standards-based language.

Thanks to those supports, Perez’s fourth grade ELL students grew their CAASPP scores by 252% of the state average in the 2017/2018 school year.

2. Built-in differentiation options

As students make their way through the interactive curriculum at their own speed, teachers can monitor each student’s progress on a dashboard. The platform will continue to offer relevant math problems as a student moves toward mastery. If a student is struggling, the teacher is notified through the dashboard and can immediately intervene. Teachers can then meet with students in small groups, using the platform’s data to differentiate based on language ability, math ability or both.

Students performing at all four levels of the CAASPP standards—i.e. exceeds, meets, nearly meets and does not meet—have seen growth in their learning. Students’ attitudes toward and engagement in math have also skyrocketed. A pilot study at Chula Vista found that 76% of fourth-grade students felt Levered made it easier for them to learn new ideas in math class, and 78% reported that they wanted to use the curriculum the following school year. In addition, 100% of teachers reported that their students developed more confidence in math while using the platform.

3. Next-level blended learning

Teachers work closely with students through whole-class opening lessons, small group lessons informed by dashboard data, and one-on-one interactions with specific students.

Perez believes that the platform’s blended approach to learning supports her school’s movement toward social and emotional learning (SEL). “The teacher-student relationship has a significant impact on student achievement in the classroom,” she says. “Students aren’t just told, ‘Work on your math program for the next 30 minutes.’”

Instead, teachers work closely with students through whole-class opening lessons, small group lessons informed by dashboard data, and one-on-one interactions with specific students. At the same time, Perez says that teachers ask, “Are students able to articulate how to solve this problem? Are they able to explain and justify their answer to their partner?” She explains, “Those things can be difficult to gauge on a computer program because there's not a human person grading that.”

4. Creating equitable learning opportunities

As principal at Chula Vista School District’s Salt Creek Elementary, Lalaine Perez saw the need to better support a growth mindset around math in the years following the transition to California’s new Common Core standards. Although the district had successfully implemented conceptual approaches to math instruction for several years, the shifts in the new standards were challenging for some students. The result was a large achievement gap in math.

Levered's alignment with the Common Core and ELL teaching approaches, as well as features that support differentiation and collaborative pencil and paper activities, meant that every student had an opportunity to succeed. And they did! Fourth graders at Salt Creek improved their CAASPP scores by 137% of the state average in the 2016/2017 school year—their first year using the platform—and by 172% the following year.

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