Over the past two years, educators in Maine’s MSAD 49 have seen substantial improvements in the outcomes of students who receive specialized instruction. Cory Rogers, the district’s special education director, attributes this success to the dedication of his teachers as well as their partnership with Goalbook.
Prior to working with Goalbook, the district’s teachers found it challenging to find ways to fully engage students in the Common Core - especially those either below or above grade level. The challenge of differentiating instruction for a diverse population where a large percentage of students qualify for free and reduced lunch was magnified by the shift to the new standards.
According to Rogers,Goalbook’s resources helped teachers gain a deeper understanding of the standards and what was expected of them and their students. Teachers have also used Goalbook to identify appropriate learning objectives and aid in the design of individualized instruction.
Teachers reported they were spending less time navigating the complexities of Common Core and more time planning instruction for a diverse set of students. Rogers recalled a fifth grade classroom that included a student who was three grade levels behind in reading and math. The student’s teacher struggled to reconcile the need for individual learning objectives with that of providing appropriate, grade-level instruction. “Goalbook helped that teacher design effective instruction appropriate for this student. The student began to progress rapidly towards proficiency in all subject areas,” said Rogers.
Goalbook has also proved useful in planning instruction for gifted students. One educator taught a gifted seventh grader who tested at a high school level in math. Goalbook helped the teacher develop a personalized plan aligned to standards, ensuring that the student would continue to learn and progress.
Rogers envisions an educational system where personalized learning is seen as essential for meeting the increasingly broad range of academic and social-emotional needs of individual students.
“Instead of spending so much time analyzing standards, our teachers are empowered to spend their time working with students on an individualized basis,” said Rogers. “This is the future of education – providing a personalized learning plan that ensures success for every student - Goalbook gives my teachers the support they need to do that.”