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Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study: The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program


Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study:

The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program Executive Summary IDEA Public Schools (www.ideapublicschools.org) serves more than 6,800 K-12 students – 95% Hispanic, 76% low-income – enrolled in 16 schools in eight communities throughout the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, home to three of the nation’s poorest counties. Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring (www.aceittutoring.com) has partnered with IDEA since the 2009-2010 academic year to deliver targeted intervention services as the “Tier 2: Strategic Small Group Instruction” component of its Response to Intervention (RTI) plan implemented across 14 IDEA schools, serving its lowest-performing 1,200 students in grades K-12. Ace it! staff trained IDEA teachers to deliver the Ace it! reading and math curricula to students during the regular school day’s designated intervention period. Additionally, Ace it! educators supported student instruction and mentored IDEA teachers throughout the year to ensure the intervention program was implemented with fidelity. IDEA school officials are unanimous in judging the Ace it! interventions to be a key contributing factor to the unqualified success of their RTI program: at the end of the 20092010 school year, an incredible 75% of participating students – all of whom had failed TAKS the prior year – passed the reading TAKS, while 70% of students passed the math TAKS. This impressive academic improvement extended into the classroom as well, with participating students earning improved grades in core academic subjects – and maintaining IDEA’s stellar 100% graduation/college matriculation rate. 2010-2011 TAKS results are not yet available, but early indicators show similar academic results. Finally, IDEA educators report the Ace it! collaboration delivered invaluable professional development benefits to its largely novice teachers, and boosts in self-esteem and enthusiasm for learning for its struggling at-risk students. Tom Torkelson, IDEA Public Schools Founder and CEO, summed up the dramatic benefits the Ace it! academic intervention program delivered to IDEA schools:

“Not only did Sylvan’s Ace it! help us achieve the highest possible rating at every school and system-wide, but the intervention strategies have built capacity across the organization and demonstrated what’s possible.”

Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study: The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program 2

www.aceittutoring.com


Quantitative Results - Student Academic Improvement, 2009-2010

90% of Ace it! students demonstrated growth on MATH TAKS - after just 12 weeks of instruction.

86% demonstrated growth on READING TAKS - after just 12 weeks of instruction.

3 out of 4 Ace it! students passed 2010 reading TAKS - while none had passed the year before.

Combined

72% TAKS pass rate - up from 49% in 2008.

70% of Ace it! students passed 2010 math TAKS - while none had passed the year before.

Academic improvement extended into the classroom, with participating students earning improved grades in core academic subjects. 2010 - 2011 TAKS results are not yet available , but early indicators show similar academic results.

Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study: The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program 3

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Program Mission and Goals • Support IDEA schools in its core mission: to prepare students from underserved communities for success in college and citizenship. Support IDEA’s 100% student graduation/college matriculation goal. • Partner with IDEA public schools to deliver effective and efficient targeted instruction for the district’s RTI program. Ace it! reading and math small group instruction interventions comprise the “Tier 2: Strategic Small Group Instruction” element of IDEA’s plan. • Deliver improvements in student learning outcomes, as measured by a variety of assessments, including: pre- and post-program testing results and TAKS test scores. • Improve student engagement, self-confidence and enthusiasm for learning. • Provide professional development opportunities and support for IDEA’s teacher staff, introducing new instructional techniques and strategies to improve struggling students’ learning outcomes.

Program Partner In the 2010-11 academic year, IDEA served more than 6,800 K-12 students – 95% Hispanic, 76% low-income – enrolled in 16 schools in eight communities throughout the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, home to three of the nation’s poorest counties. IDEA Schools prepares students from underserved communities for success in college and citizenship, and is committed to developing students with the academic, social, and leadership characteristics to apply, matriculate, and succeed in a four-year college or university. To fulfill its mission, IDEA employs a highquality, focused approach to teaching and learning, IDEA is home of the #1 cultivating a unique and powerful school culture high school in the Rio of high expectations for all, small school size, and Grande Valley and #13 partnership with parents. Over its decade of operation, IDEA has consistently demonstrated that with high expectations and rigorous standards, closing the achievement gap is possible. IDEA is an “Exemplary” district, with every IDEA campus rated “Exemplary” by the Texas Education Agency. IDEA is the only district of its size and demographics to achieve this success in the state.

Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study: The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program 4

Best High School among 22,000 high schools across the U.S. (“America’s Best High Schools 2010”, U.S. News and World Report).

www.aceittutoring.com


IDEA Public Schools Student Population Profile IDEA schools serves almost 7,000 minority children living below the poverty level in rural and urban communities across the Rio Grande Valley. These students present many different risk factors for academic failure, and face a myriad of social, educational and economic challenges.

IDEA Students:

80% Low Income

Students enrolled in schools with

100% graduation rate.

(Vs. 82.8% Statewide Average)

95% Hispanic 23% Limited English Proficiency

Partnership and Program History The IDEA/Sylvan Learning Ace it! partnership began in 2007, when Sylvan provided its Ace it! afterschool tutoring program to IDEA students, to help the district launch its 21st Century Community Learning Center grant from the Texas Education Agency. Susan Valverde, Executive Director of Sylvan Learning in the Rio Grande Valley, like all Ace it! franchisees, lives in the community, and had long been an active IDEA supporter. The collaboration then shifted in 2008 to support struggling 9th graders at IDEA’s Brownsville school, IDEA Frontier Academy. Many of these students had arrived at Frontier in 6th grade with so many and such varied learning gaps to fill, that despite making great progress, they had fallen seriously behind by grade 9. Many had failed Algebra I, a key gateway math course, and were re-taking it a second time. Many had likewise failed the math TAKS. With just three months before the 2008 math TAKS, Rolando Posada, then-Principal of Frontier Academy, reached out to Ms. Valverde. The pair worked together to implement an intensive math intervention for 30 Frontier 9th graders – the majority of whom had failed Algebra I and the math TAKS the year prior, and were on the verge of doing so again. Starting in the winter of 2008, the Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study: The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program 5

The outcome of the math intervention was ‘phenomenal” says Ms. Posada, with more than 94% of students passing the math TAKS in May 2009. What’s more, fully 100% of the group’s special needs students passed the test.

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Ace it! team delivered 30 hours of small group instruction to the students on-site, in Frontier classrooms, during the school’s regularly scheduled intervention time period. This dramatic academic turnaround for students who had struggled so mightily with math verified for Ms. Posada the effectiveness of targeted small group instruction for at-risk children. By enhancing IDEA’s core classroom instruction with the Ace it! intervention model, IDEA students enjoyed remarkable academic growth. Posada thus determined to expand the Ace it! program district-wide for the next 2009-2010 school year, implementing it as the “Tier 2: Strategic Instruction” component of the District’s overall RTI plan across 12 IDEA schools, serving approximately 600 K-12 students.

Qualitative Results • Teacher professional development – The Sylvan Learning Ace it! program provided support and teacher training for the 95% of IDEA teachers with fewer than two years of professional experience. Ms. Posada observed that the teachers and quality assurance team members delivered invaluable training for her young staff in working with struggling at-risk students. • Enormous boosts in student self-confidence, and motivation to learn, as reported by classroom teachers, parents and students themselves. • Starting IDEA students on the path for success in college and citizenship.

IDEA/Ace it! RTI Program: Design and Implementation 30

Each student received hours of instruction in small, homogeneous groups of 6-8 students per IDEA certified teacher and Ace it! instructor-mentor.

Services were delivered daily on-site, in IDEA classrooms, during the school’s intervention time periods.

3

100 IDEA

Ace it! teachers conducted beginning-of-year training session for teachers, on the Ace it! curricula, and small group instructional approach.

6 Ace it! teachers and quality assurance staff members mentored IDEA teachers and

monitored instruction throughout the year to ensure fidelity of program implementation.

Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study: The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program 6

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IDEA/Ace it! RTI Program: Design and Implementation 2009-2010 Academic Year

537 total students served in grades K-12 81% Low Income 33% Limited English Proficiency 21% Special Needs Program delivered in

12 IDEA schools Donna Academy Donna College Prepatory Frontier Academy Frontier College Prepatory Mission Academy Mission College Prepatory Quest Academy Quest College Prepatory San Benito Academy San Benito College Prepatory San Juan Academy San Juan College Prepatory

“Not only did Sylvan’s Ace it! help us achieve the highest possible rating at every school and system-wide, but the intervention strategies have build capacity across the organization and demonstrated what’s possible.” - Tom Torkelson, IDEA Public Schools Founder and CEO

Lowest

10% of students selected

to participate in program by IDEA.

288 youth received an academic intervention program in math 249 youth received an academic intervention program in reading

Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study: The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program 7

www.aceittutoring.com


IDEA/Ace it! RTI Program: Design and Implementation 2010-2011 Academic Year

600

total students served in grades K-12 Over over the course of the acedemic year.

81% Low Income 33% Limited English Proficiency 21% Special Needs

“Now I understand much more about where we need to be in terms of filling these kids’ learning gaps.” -IDEA Teacher

14 IDEA schools

Program expanded to

Donna Academy Donna College Prepatory Frontier Academy Frontier College Prepatory Mission Academy Mission College Prepatory Quest Academy Quest College Prepatory San Benito Academy San Benito College Prepatory San Juan Academy San Juan College Prepatory

Alamo College Prepatory Pharr College Prepatory

Lowest

10% of students selected

to participate in program by IDEA. Students placed in either math or reading.

Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study: The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program 8

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Effective and Efficient Solution for RTI!

Ace it! Reading and Math intervention programs are

ideally suited for Tier II School-based, small group instruction built on the proven Sylvan model of over 30 years of research and results.

PROVEN EFFECTIVE Ace it! has a proven track record of improving academic achievement for more than 60,000 students across 4 out of 5 of Ace it! students demonstrated meaningful all grade levels since 2005. academic growth after completing an Ace it! program.

Sylvan Learning’s Ace it! Tutoring Case Study: The IDEA Public Schools RTI Program 9

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Ace it! RTI Case Study