District Administration November 2017 - 23

SPONSORED CASE STUDY

An innovative
improvement program
for underperforming schools
LSI helps Florida's Glades area schools to groundbreaking
gains in achievement with its Schools for Rigor initiative

D

uring the 2014-15 school year, Pahokee Middle
School principal Michael Aronson was asked by his
superintendent to visit another school in his Florida
district, Acreage Pines Elementary, which was an LSI School
for Rigor. Aronson observed implementation sessions and
side-by-side coaching.
LSI researches and develops next-generation pedagogical
models, data systems and professional development for K12
educators at the school and district levels nationwide. With
a staff of expert practitioners, consultants and researchers,
LSI identifies, develops and disseminates cutting-edge
resources such as the Schools for Rigor initiative.
Aronson came away with one clear impression of what
the initiative could do for students at Pahokee Middle School.
"I felt like this is the piece that would take us to that next
level with our students," Aronson says. "The design of the
initiative was right on the money. It motivated our kids,
helped our teachers see where we were deficient and got us
to a point where we did some magnificent things."
Implementation and training
Through the Schools for Rigor initiative, LSI works with
schools and districts to accurately recognize and coach
teaching that leads students to successful mastery of
rigorous state standards.
Aronson and Pahokee Middle School teachers learned
side by side to develop their pedagogical skills for LSI's
instructional model, the Essentials for Achieving Rigor, which
supports teachers as they shift their pedagogy to standardsbased, student-centered classrooms.
Also part of the implementation and training for Pahokee
Middle School teachers is peer-to-peer learning along with
discussing and practicing the fundamentals of rigorous
instruction, which focuses on cognitively complex thinking
and increased student autonomy. Educators learn to pinpoint
exactly where their students struggle and to measure their
progress toward standards-based learning targets.
Additionally, Aronson participated in on-site and virtual
coaching to help hone his instructional skills and improve his
feedback to teachers. Teachers also have access to technology
that allows them to deepen their own professional learning

and collaboration with peers in a safe environment through
the LSI Growth Trackerâ„¢.
Visible results
All of the long-term struggling Glades area schools achieved
gains. Most of Glades elementary schools improved by
at least one letter grade in Florida's school scoring system.
Seven of 10 schools in the Glades improved by at least one
letter grade, and four schools improved by two letter grades.
After the 2014-15 school year, two Glades area schools
were in their final year of state intervention. Both of those
schools made statistically significant gains, improving their
school grades to "C," and were consequently taken off the
state intervention turnaround list.
Aronson says Pahokee Middle School had a 10 percent
gain overall in reading, and 16 percent in math, including a
20 percent gain in eighth-grade math. Aronson says Pahokee
was set up for success by LSI thorough implementation and
training for teachers and administrators.
"Every training that LSI did was sustainable," says Aronson,
who is now principal at Pahokee High School. "They made
sure that when they were gone we could continue the work."

For more information, visit www.learningsciences.com
View, comment, share this story online at DAmag.me/learningsciences


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration November 2017

District Administration November 2017 - Cover1
District Administration November 2017 - Cover2
District Administration November 2017 - 1
District Administration November 2017 - 2
District Administration November 2017 - 3
District Administration November 2017 - 4
District Administration November 2017 - 5
District Administration November 2017 - 6
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