Since its founding in 2015, Aspire Richmond Technology Academy (RTA) has focused on helping all students become self-motivated, competent, life-long learners. As part of that commitment, RTA began working with Zearn Math, a top-rated curriculum dedicated to ensuring all students love learning math, in fall of 2016. As a culture of positive mindsets developed and students’ engagement with their math learning grew, impressive academic results followed. While using Zearn Math, 3rd–5th grade classrooms experienced double-digit growth in the percentage of students achieving proficiency in math over a two-year period.
Double-digit growth in the percentage of students achieving proficiency in math
Percentage of students meeting Achievement Level 3 or Achievement Level 4 on spring Smarter Balanced Assessments Consortium (SBAC).
Zearn has really helped our ability to differentiate. The data in Zearn Reports combined with teaching in small groups helps us meet the needs of each scholar.
SUSIE TABRAH, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL OF INSTRUCTION
Meeting the needs of every learner
With Zearn Math, students learned across multiple instructional formats, rotating between learning independently with self-paced digital lessons and working with their teacher and classmates in a small group. In the smaller group setting, teachers could better understand each learner and ensure all students had daily opportunities to share their math thinking and get feedback. RTA teachers also used the data provided in Zearn Reports to better understand where students needed extra support and to inform their weekly instruction. “Zearn has really helped our ability to differentiate,” noted Susie Tabrah, Assistant Principal of Instruction. “The data in Zearn Reports combined with teaching in small groups helps us meet the needs of each scholar.” Analyzing and using Zearn Reports—which give teachers visibility into how far along students are in the digital scope and sequence, the amount of time they’re spending on lessons, and areas of struggle—has become a key part of the Zearn Math routine for RTA teachers.
Creating systems and routines to support students
To help students succeed in the flexible learning environment, RTA teachers invested in setting up strong classroom systems and routines. For Samantha Lamb, a 5th grade teacher, this meant kicking off the school year in a very specific way. “Model, model, model,” Lamb said of the way she gets her classes started with Zearn Math. “I spend time up front showing my students how digital lessons work, when to complete the paper Student Notes and Exit Ticket, and what to do when they feel stuck. Together, we make anchor charts that remind students of the strategies they can use to independently persevere through tough problems.”Lamb and other teachers found that this early investment helped students build lasting positive learning habits and develop independence in their math learning.
We’ve built a classroom culture where students are really invested in math and proud of their progress.
SAMANTHA LAMB, 5TH GRADE TEACHER
Celebrating growth of all children
RTA teachers also helped students set weekly goals, track their progress, and celebrate their own achievements. In Lamb’s 5th grade classroom, students use checklists on their desks to track how many lessons they complete each week. “We’ve built a classroom culture where students are really invested in math and proud of their progress. We celebrate that learning with Fun Fridays and Zearn parties after students finish all the digital lessons and Exit Tickets for a Mission,” she explained. Teachers also highlighted examples of student work on bulletin boards, showcasing the different strategies students used to solve a problem each week. “Teachers always find ways of creatively celebrating their scholars, including designing stickers and certificates to give out when students meet weekly lesson goals,” remarked Susie Tabrah. Tabrah continued, “This year, we’re rolling out school-wide Zearn celebrations for the first time. We’re excited to recognize the hard work of every child.”