Malden Elementary Schools Participating in Innovative Program

SOURCE: Malden Observer

A program that has sharply increased academic performance at local elementary schools has been selected as one of the most innovative programs in the country by the U.S. Department of Education (DoE).

The Data Driven School Transformation Partnership (DSTP) at the Salemwood, Beebe, and Linden elementary schools is part of an innovative program that the DoE recognized in its national Investing in Education program. “I am sure that the success of the program in helping to turnaround our schools and reducing the achievement gap was a major factor in the decision by the Department of Education to select DSTP as a national model,” said Superintendent of Schools Sydney Smith. “Among the key factors in the program’s success has been a strong focus on reading and regular testing so teachers can develop targeted strategies for each student,” Smith said. The program was developed by the Bay State Reading Institute (BSRI) in Holliston and was only one of 49 initiatives selected by the DOE. Nearly 1,700 organizations submitted proposals. BSRI will receive $5 million to expand the program to 12 new schools. The literacy-based, data-driven BSRI program includes regular testing, measuring and assessing academic performances of each student, a specially-trained literacy coach for each school, an intervention program for struggling readers, extra time for teachers to discuss curriculum and individual student progress, and on-going professional development support from BSRI Turnaround Coaches. Each participating school is required to reorganize its day to ensure a two-hour literacy block, and the principals in the schools are expected to dedicate two to three hours daily to classroom walkthrough and related instructional leadership tasks. “Implementing reform requires creating consensus around goals and best practices, while at the same time protecting the ability of principals and teachers to respond flexibly to the diverse, individual needs of their school and students,” said Barbara Gardner, BSRI’s executive director. “Teachers are the only ones in the position to notice and attend to this level of diverse detail, and without attention at this level, schools will not be able to help each and every child succeed.”