Results show students achieve significant gains in learning English after completing the digital ELA curriculum.
Baker Elementary School is a 100% Title I school with 67% of students identified as English learners. At Baker, 83% of students are predominately Spanish-speaking, and 43% of them don’t speak English at home.
With the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, states now have standardized criteria for designating students as English Language Learners (ELLs) and a process for reclassifying them as “no longer needing extra language instruction.” Led by Principal Dr. Kathleen Gallagher, Baker has an “all hands on deck” approach to helping students achieve English language proficiency.
Differentiated Learning for All
Learning Upgrade provides differentiated instruction through content enlivened by songs, videos, and games. The curriculum gives students immediate feedback and allows them to practice until they grasp each concept. Fully aligned with the state curriculum standards, Learning Upgrade lessons are intertwined with what students are already learning in the classroom, allowing them to make “big picture” connections throughout their educational journey.
Teachers at Baker integrate Learning Upgrade into individual work time in place of worksheets. The program saves teachers time in planning specialized curriculum while providing personalized instruction to match each student’s individual needs. Learning Upgrade is also a centerpiece of Baker’s intervention and RTI strategies, and is used during afterschool programs. The staff works hard to keep computer labs open after school specifically to give students who don’t have computers at home access to Learning Upgrade.
It is Baker’s vision and mission to reclassify each ELL before they reach the end of their 5th-grade year so they are confident enough in their English to remain actively engaged in learning through middle school, high school, college, and beyond. As is the case with many schools across the country, Baker’s large and increasing population of ELLs makes this mission that much more of a priority. According to Dr. Gallagher, “If we take the time to develop students’ English in elementary school, language challenges that interfere with academic learning are less likely to arise. This dramatically decreases the chance of students dropping out by creating many more pathways to school success.”