Teach to One, Teach to All: Personalized Learning at Roosevelt
When Roosevelt staff piloted the Teach to One (TTO) program last year, the idea was to change math for students like current 8th-grader Irina. Early in her time at Roosevelt, Irina often fell behind during class-wide math lessons. Once off track, she found it hard to catch up, and in turn her interest waned.
The solution for kids like Irina, Roosevelt staff believed, was personalization. While a traditional classroom might have 25 kids learning the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, Teach to One caters to each student’s individual skill level and pace. After taking assessments to discover what skills they need to work on, every student rotates through “stations” of interactive computer-based programs, small-group lessons, and teacher-led instruction designed to meet them where they are—not where other students may be.
During last year’s limited run, the pilot group of 6th-graders saw quick results. Encouraged by this success, and fueled by the Salesforce partnership that brought $2.5 million in STEM funding to six middle schools, this fall Roosevelt expanded Teach to One to all students in grades 6-8.
The TTO learning journey is fluid: every day a student’s studies may shift based on what he or she mastered, or struggled with, the day before. “Based on TTO’s algorithm, each student is assigned a set of skills they need to work on,” explains Roosevelt Lead Math Teacher Michael Attiyeh. “On any given day, depending on their progress, kids are grouped with others who have similar needs. So we might see four students working together on basic multiplication, while another group of five is taking on multistep equations.”
How students learn also shifts as they move through “stations” of computer-based solo learning, small-group collaboration, and more, giving every day a different energy. Particularly in the small-group sessions, the dynamic, evolving model offers social benefits as well, as students end up collaborating with other kids they might not normally share class time with.
“Student engagement has really gone up with TTO,” says Attiyeh. “You can see that just by walking around the room. With a structure where kids now know exactly what to do and how to do it, you see them actively working on and thinking about math.”
While he says there have been some growing pains in taking the program schoolwide, the results and the students speak for themselves. Based on midyear Scholastic Math Inventory (SMI) results, Roosevelt students had doubled the achievement growth they showed at this point last year. Meanwhile, a national assessment called the NWEA MAP saw students outpace the national average by 25 percent, with English Language Learners scoring 59 percent better than ELLs nationwide.
This last data point has been especially heartening to Attiyeh and Roosevelt staff. “Because their learning targets are personalized, we’re seeing much higher growth from students who are traditionally disadvantaged,” he says. “Our special-needs and ELL students are showing more growth than we’ve ever seen in the past.” Roosevelt’s most advanced students are also thriving. “Instead of being bored or sitting through something they’ve already learned, these kids can explore new and challenging things at their own pace,” says Attiyeh.
For Irina, whose journey is featured on Teach to One’s website, the introduction of TTO has helped her make a complete turnaround. Able to work at her own pace, she’s mastering math skills and earning A’s, and TTO’s small-group stations have helped her become more engaged with both the subject matter and her peers. As she told the TTO team, “I like math now!”
Literacy counts, too!
While their math achievement is on the rise, Roosevelt’s readers are not to be ignored, either. Based on midyear Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) tests, across OUSD’s 22 middle schools Roosevelt has the fifth highest percentage of kids at or above grade level. The school’s struggling readers have also made great gains: the midyear SRI showed that Roosevelt was sixth among middle schools in reading improvement among kids who started out below grade level.
The Ed Fund is proud to be part of the Salesforce partnership that brought STEM funding to Roosevelt and five other Oakland middle schools this fall. Learn more about the partnership in our email blast celebrating its launch. Through our Adopt an Oakland School program, Salesforce has forged a long-term partnership with Roosevelt, bringing teams of volunteers to campus throughout the school year. Check out these photos from their Roosevelt garden clean-up day.