Adopting innovative software programs drives growth, but getting teachers up to speed with the technology can be challenging. It’s important to get teachers on board with these new initiatives and make sure they are properly equipped to roll out these new strategies.
What does this look like when done effectively? Hear from three districts on how they implemented digital approaches to teaching literacy and what they did to get teachers to buy in.
When Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District introduced a digital reading program, teachers pushed pause. After all, this software came with more computer assessments, and they felt students were already overtested. However, when the trend lines showed growing proficiency among their 4,100 students, they reconsidered their stance.
“Teachers missed the face-to-face assessments, but there’s excitement and motivation when they see growth month to month, with students going from Tier 3 to Tier 2 or from Tier 2 to Tier 1,” said Serapio Trillayes, Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction for the district.
After piloting the program in grades pre-K through 5 for two years, the district expanded to grades 6 through 8 for the 2018-2019 school year. And results have been positive, Trillayes said.
“Teachers are using this data to differentiate instruction, but how can you know how to differentiate instruction if you don’t have data? The data is very motivating and is helping children learn to read,” he added.
Chicago Public Schools, which uses Istation Español, taught its parents how to log in to the program’s Parent Portal “to check their student’s progress and find resources to help their child at home,” Belmont-Cragin Elementary School Principal Stacy Stewart said. Doing so “demystified the technology, which is important because our parents want to be part of the educational process. Istation Español helps make that possible.”
Istation’s authentic Spanish lessons, created in Spanish rather than merely translated from English, appeal to the educators at San José Unified School District in California.
“Istation Español has a richness in diversity of the Spanish language, and it focuses on phonics and phonemic awareness,” said Margaret Petkiewicz, manager of the bilingual programs and EL services for the district.
“The bottom line is that students have access to authentic Spanish, and they’re applying their foundational skills in literature and informational reading, which is critical,” she added. “The fact that Istation has authentic Spanish and not just translation is huge for our bilingual program.”
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