Education Elements Helps Middletown to Personalize Learning on Its Race to the Top

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Education Elements is excited to announce that after an analysis of the Spring benchmark exams, Middletown students in blended learning classrooms performed better than both the expected NWEA growth as well as better than their peers.

“These results are a testament to the fact that giving teachers the tools, time, and opportunity to personalize learning and differentiate instruction will positively impact student achievement,” said Anthony Kim, founder and CEO of Ed Elements.

Education Elements, which offers a comprehensive approach to designing and implementing personalized learning in districts, is excited to announce that students in the Enlarged City School District of Middletown, a National Race to the Top District (RTTT-D) recipient located in New York, are exceeding national norms on standardized tests.

Students in blended learning classrooms performed better than both the expected NWEA growth as well as better than their peers. Students in blended reading classrooms on average exceeded their NWEA growth expectations by 50% (growing 1.5 years in a single year). Students in math blended classrooms on average exceeded the NWEA expected growth by 21% (growing 1.21 years in a single year). Students in blended classrooms outperformed students in non-blended classrooms by 57% in reading and 26% in math.

The significant gains in achievement are attributed to the hard work of teachers, students and leaders, the development of new instructional models co-designed with EE, and the introduction of digital content introduced through Education Elements’ Personalized Learning Platform, Highlight. Upon Education Elements recommendation, Middletown uses the digital content provider, i-Ready for both reading and math. Over 70% of students using i-Ready progressed through more than one grade level in one year in reading, and over 50% of students progressed through more than one grade level in math. Middletown is also seeing success with other digital content recommended by Education Elements, including Dreambox, Lexia, Achieve3000, and MyOn, depending on students’ specific needs. In September, the District will add TenMarks and iXL to their digital content library.

Led by Dr. Kenneth Eastwood, the Enlarged Middletown City School District – which serves 7,200 students, of which 74% are economically disadvantaged – won a U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top (RTTT-D) grant to personalize learning in 2012 and implemented a blended learning program starting in the 2013-2014 school year. In its first year, 33 teachers opted in to the program—this represents teachers with a wide variety of experience and tenure, impacting 500 students. The district plans to scale up their blended program in grades K-8 over the next three years.

Education Elements began its work with Middletown, NY during the RTTT-D application process, advising the district on its vision for personalized instruction. After the district was awarded the grant in December 2012, Education Elements worked with the district to design an equitable roll-out strategy and then worked with schools and teachers to design new instructional models, select digital content, and provide professional development, coaching, and support. Teachers and students also use Highlight as their point of entry to digital content and daily progress and performance data.

In a survey to blended learning teachers, 100% of teachers agree or strongly agree that since starting blended learning, students are more engaged. 100% of teachers also agreed or strongly agreed that “teaching in a blended classroom helps me increase my effective instructional time.” As one teacher noted, “Blended learning has allowed me to give all my students what they need. This could be material that is below level or above. It also provides me with data so that I can personalize instruction down to the individual student level.” More than 120 teachers, inspired by the changes they see in their schools, have opted to become blended teacher for this upcoming school year and the program is expanding to include 6-8 grade.

“Tinkering around the edges is not going to solve today and tomorrow's instructional problems. Problems that primarily revolve around the widening of student ability levels in typical classrooms,” said Dr. Eastwood. “Solutions to that problem, along with assurances that all students will progress proficiently in core academic solutions, demand new instructional models to assure targeted and personalized learning for every child. Blended learning is such a model and is quickly proving its instructional power when implemented with fidelity. That’s where Ed Elements has played an important role in Middletown. Ed Elements is helping us implement these new and important models with fidelity.”

“It is exciting to see the impact of blended learning on students in a public school district,” said Anthony Kim, founder and CEO of Education Elements. “These results are a testament to the fact that giving teachers the tools, time, and opportunity to personalize learning and differentiate instruction will positively impact student achievement.”

About Education Elements:

Education Elements is a nationally recognized solutions company that helps districts develop and implement personalized learning strategies. Ed Elements' services help districts to create strategies, design instructional models, and support teachers in integrating technology and instruction. Our platform provides students, teachers, and administrators each with a single entry point to access digital content and the detailed performance data they need to guide instruction and learning. This innovative cloud service offers simple and accessible data visualizations with actionable insights for users of all types. Education Elements has worked with over 100 schools across 40+ districts in the US more than any other company.

About The Enlarged City School District of 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 that 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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Amy Jenkins
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