BACK OFFICE BUSINESS: West Broward High School Exceeds Goals for Struggling Readers

West Broward High School was looking for a solution to help students who are part of the lowest quartile of learners, with scores of level one or two on the Florida State Assessment, improve their scores and demonstrate growth in reading and English language arts.  At the start of the 2017 school year, West Broward began a school-wide initiative with the aim to increase learning gains by 3% as compared to the previous year for the lowest quartile students.

According to Elizabeth Rivero, Literacy Coach and Reading Department Chair, the school started using the Achieve3000 platform in September 2017 as part of its strategy to improve learning gains for the struggling readers.  “All of our lowest quartile students were using Achieve3000, and instead of meeting our goal of decreasing the number of students in the lowest quartile by 3% and helping them achieve learning gains, we exceeded it with 10% more of our students increasing their scores and showing learning gains.”  Learning gains for the lowest quartile of students went from 39% in 2017 to 49% in 2018.  This group included Exceptional Students Learning Supports and English Language Learners. Schoolwide learning gains improved from 56% in 2017 to 59% in 2018.  The points gained for Reading/Language Arts towards the School Grade went from 169 points in 2016-2017 to 183 points in 2017-2018, contributing 14 of the 36-total points gained in the School Grade, helping to earn West Broward High School another A. 

“I am extremely honored and proud of the instructional leadership provided by Ms. Rivero and the implementation of Achieve3000 by the West Broward Reading Teachers," said Principal Brad Fatout. "Not only did West Broward show gains for the lowest 25% of readers, 96% of our seniors who were enrolled in a Reading course met their graduation requirement for reading.  Achieve3000 was an integral part of the remediation process of West Broward's blended learning model.”

West Broward High School is one of the newer schools in the district, with a forward-thinking approach to technology - in the Reading Department, every student works on a laptop - and the Achieve3000 platform was adopted as part of this blended learning culture.  Even so, the faculty experienced more than the typical challenges when trying to integrate new technologies and curricula into an existing school culture. With Hurricane Irma hitting South Florida, the staff persevered to support students.

After the first 9 weeks, Ms. Rivero started sending the reading teachers data on student growth, which encouraged both students and teachers to renew their commitment.  

Rivero went on to say that she understands that Achieve3000 was one part of the multiple of initiatives used at West Broward High School to improve reading and that they use other programs to support teachers.  Although “It is a part of a bigger team effort," she thinks that Achieve3000, “was the thing that gave the students who were struggling with reading the stamina, confidence, and endurance to compete and succeed on their end-of-year state tests.”