It’s easy to pick up on the feeling of optimism at DC’s Savoy Elementary.
Since the start of this year, teachers and leaders have focused on enhancing writing instruction, with particular attention to students’ ability to respond to writing prompts. And there are already promising signs of strong achievement growth.
Their ANet coach, Jessica Tzuker, taught them how to take advantage of ANet’s data and tools to understand their students’ needs and adapt their teaching accordingly. Pretty soon, teachers were feeling comfortable—even eager—to interpret student data and find resources to inform their teaching.
Tondra Odom, a fifth-grade close reading teacher, enthused, “I began then to realize that [the data] had so much more meaning to me; and I had access to resources that could help me as a teacher and as a person leading data [meetings]. I felt really excited!”
Ashley Spikes, a fourth-grade guided reading teacher, had her own reasons for being excited: “[I can] use text that aligns with the reading level, and I can give all students the same assessment. Everyone is tested on the same standard.” This enables her to better tailor her lessons to her students. She started having them work in small groups focused on analyzing main ideas and text structure.
Ashley also appreciates that, thanks to the school-wide commitment to this focus, she gets practical instructional feedback from school leadership. “We’re able to have a conversation with the principal in the moment, and it just makes sense,” she explained. “We have time set aside on the calendar. We know it’s sacred time where we’re able to plan and ask questions together.”
Following their interim assessments, teachers and leaders join forces to examine the data for school-wide trends in ELA and Math and to identify students showing strong performance. After the first interim, 12 students showed a strong ability to respond to prompts. The very next interim, the number increased to 21.
Thanks to teachers’ and leaders’ commitment to learn from and act on student data, Savoy has made instructional changes that have already improved their students’ learning—with more gains to come!