Back-office business: How Schools GET IT DONE

11/3/2011 12:00:00 AM

Greenwich High School creates a customized science textbook

Challenge: “Because of the inquirybased, rigorous nature of our Integrated Science course [which combines chemistry, biology, and physics], there wasn’t a textbook that existed that truly could serve as a resource for our students,” says Sheila Civale, district science coordinator for Greenwich (Conn.) Public Schools. “Yet we knew that such a book would help our ninth graders improve their criticalthinking skills and their understanding of the material on the state test and in their future educational endeavors.”

Solution: Civale worked with Pearson, a group of colleagues, and a University of Connecticut professor to develop an original, customized book and corresponding digital text. The district surveyed students about their interests and used the results to develop the course and text, which center on four themes: survival, sports and human performance, space, and sustainability.

Florida elementary students achieve dramatic increases in math performance

Challenge: Twenty-three schools in Florida’s Orange County piloted MIND’s ST Math visual math software program to help students learn to reason their way through visual math puzzles.

Solution: Third-grade students at Ivey Lane Elementary achieved a 26-point gain in gradelevel math achievement on the 2011 FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). Ivey Lane students also finished in MIND’s top 10 percent nationally in completion of the Web-based math software.

Digital science come to Texas schools

Challenge: Texas high school teachers wanted a digital curriculum that would cover the objectives adopted by the Texas State Board of Education and would serve as full-course online content for physics and chemistry.

Solution: CompassLearning Odyssey Texas Integrated Physics and Chemistry and CompassLearning Odyssey Texas Physics now provide science content that Texas teachers can search by skill, topic, or keyword to create customized lessons and assessments.

Texas district improves scores

Challenge: Wylie (Texas) Independent School District wanted to provide additional math practice for fifth- and sixthgrade students.

Solution: The district piloted Time to Know during the summer and saw math and language-arts scores improve by as much as 25 percent. Time to Know is an online curriculum system that lets teachers differentiate instruction.

Algebra for the iPad comes to N.J.

Challenge: Edison Township School District in New Jersey wanted to integrate a curriculum on tablets.

Solution: This fall the district was the first in its state to debut Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 App with 60 high school students in a year-long pilot program. Their progress will be measured against a control group in a traditional classroom.

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