Enlarged City School District of Middletown Demonstrates Students in Blended Classrooms Outperform Students in Non-Blended Classrooms For 2nd Year in a Row

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RTTD winner shows that the grant funding they received and used to design blended learning environments is having a significant impact on student achievement and engagement in the district.

In Middletown a classroom bulletin board focuses on their approach to using data to drive instruction,

A classroom in Middletown celebrates blended learning

We can really see the difference ​high quality instructional practices coupled with​ curated digital content is making. Teachers are able to deliver exactly what each students needs to be successful​.

Despite growing skepticism about the role of technology in education, the Enlarged City School District of Middletown proved for the second year in a row that students in blended learning classrooms perform better than students in non-blended classrooms.

In 2014-15 students in grades K-8 surpassed expected NWEA growth targets by 18% in math and 36% in reading. Perhaps even more telling about the impact of high fidelity blended learning, students in grades K-5 outperformed their non-blended peers by 7% in math and 18.5% in reading. 31% more students in reading and 12% more students in math in grades K-5 met their NWEA targets than in non-blended class- rooms. 1st grade blended math and 2nd grade blended reading did particularly well, outpacing their non-blended peers by 24% and 45%, respectively.

Middletown’s 7,142 students ​represent a diverse set of backgrounds and the district is over 7​6​% free and reduced lunch. Upon winning a Race to the Top grant in 2012, Middletown designed an opt-in blended learning program for its elementary and middle schools with the support of Education Elements. From a first year implementation of 33 teachers, 197 teachers provided blended instruction to over 4,000 students at 6 schools during the 2014-2015 school year, representing 80% of students and teachers at the elementary and middle school level. ​All K-5 classrooms will be operating in a blended learning environment by October of the 2015-16 school year. ​The remainder of 6​-8 ELA and math ​classrooms will be blended ​throughout the 2015-16 ​school year. Middletown is also redesigning its high school models ​by opting in cohorts of teachers who instruct using the practices of Flipped Instruction. ​

“Watching Middletown’s commitment to providing a high quality education to every student and to meet the needs of every child has been terrific,” said Anthony Kim, CEO and Founder of Education Elements. “The fact that we have been part of supporting this journey is the reason why I founded this company - seeing the impact on students is incredibly rewarding.”

The impact of blended learning extends beyond the NWEA test results. 91% of teachers in the district report they feel like they are more effective in the classroom now than they were before. 89% report seeing an increase in student engagement. Teachers also report student​s​
spend more time reflecting on their own learning and that they are becoming more self-directed learners as a result.

“In many ways this has surpassed our expectations,” said Amy Creeden Principal, Race to the Top District (RTTT-D) Grant. “We are so excited that we have been able to grow this quickly and maintain our focus on student outcomes. We can really see the difference
​high quality instructional practices coupled with​ curated digital content is making. Teachers are able to deliver exactly what each students needs to be successful​.”

Superintendent Ken Eastwood is a member of the League of Innovative Schools, a mentor for the Lexington Education Leadership Award Fellowship and author of many publications including a recent article on the importance on focusing on pedagogy before devices. “These results are a testament to the hard work of Middletown teachers and leaders, the strong relationship we have with Education Elements, and our commitment to doing whatever it takes to support each student,” said Ken Eastwood. “I get to see the great work in classrooms every day but it is wonderful to be able to share the impact of it with others.”

Middletown will continue to iterate on its blended learning models across all grades and subjects to continuously improve student outcomes. The district will present alongside 6 other districts and Education Elements at a pre-conference session, Don’t Reinvent the Wheel” at the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium on November 8 in Orlando.

About Education Elements: Education Elements partners with districts to design and implement personalized learning through their consulting services and their platform Highlight. EdElements supports pioneering districts across the country including 4 Race to the Top Winners, 20% of the League of Innovative Schools and the Lexington Education Leadership Award Fellows. Their work helps districts to articulate their vision, build their capacity, design and implement new instructional models and, most importantly, impact student outcomes.

About Middletown: The Enlarged City School District of Middletown is located in Orange County, New York, about 65 miles northwest of New York City. Middletown is part of the Hudson Valley region, near the Wallkill River, and the district covers all of the city of Middletown as well as portions of the towns of Wallkill, Wawayanda, and Goshen. The district’s long-standing mission, to prepare students for life, is being accomplished by providing students with educational opportunities that continuously support its diverse student population. Its talented staff of more than 1,000 administrators, teachers, and support staff members are working together to make sure all Middletown students achieve educational excellence. From its competitive academic programs and state-of-the-art facilities to its multitude of fine arts and athletic opportunities for students, Middletown continues to provide rich opportunities to prepare students to be successful in a global society.

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