By: Christina Reyes, Founder & Executive Director
September 5, 2017
The first two years of Inwood Academy for Leadership, our students experienced tremendous academic growth despite serving a large number of children with disabilities and English Language Learners. In 2013, the Common Core rolled out in New York state. The shifts in math and English Language Arts instruction left us with a much harder, but important task.
The task is to ensure that students are not only able to read and write and do math on grade level, but to approach a tough problem from multiple angles and have multiple strategies to solve the problem. Teaching students who are learning English for the first time is challenging, but as soon as they enter Inwood Academy they begin making tremendous strides. This growth is evident in their classroom reading scores and on our internal NWEA MAP test scores.
State tests can be useful in comparing our students’ growth with peers in their school district, city, and state. Our students’ growth has been incremental in New York state test scores, until now. The state just released the results and our consistent work paid off; it’s evidenced by our 12% proficiency increase in English Language Arts (ELA) test scores! This is compared to statewide ELA growth of 1.9% and city-wide growth of 2.6%.
What made this growth possible? It was through the collaboration between the school’s leadership team and teachers, the hard work of our students, and new program elements.
Big changes that created big growth:
- Expansion on writing using ThinkCERCA personalized literacy software and ensuring that students use CER in writing responses (claim, evidence, reasoning)
- Increased focus on Sustained Silent Reading that allowed students to read on their level for longer periods of time;
- Additional hour a week of instruction (then the previous year)
- Launch of school-wide and systematic vocabulary program
In addition to this growth in English Language Arts, we also saw these huge wins;
- 12 of our 6th graders earned a 4 on their ELA exam which is 11% of the entire district; there were only 111 students who earned this highest score in our school district
- 20 of our 8th-grade students took the High School Algebra Regents one year early and all passed with a 72 or higher
- We beat our school district in 5, 6, and 8th-grade math and in 6, 7, and 8 grade ELA
- We matched the city-wide Latino ELA and math scores and the city-wide African American math scores
- Both our students with disabilities and ELLs grew overall in ELA and ELLs increased in math while students with disabilities maintained their proficiency in math
- 11% of our 8th-grade students with disabilities were proficient in math which beat our school district and the city by 6%
- 14% of our 6th grade ELLs were proficient in math which beat our school district and the city
We’re so excited to share these results with you! Our growth benefits our entire community. As we know, it’s not enough to just give our kids a great education. Let’s continue to work together to prepare all 900 of our students to become leaders in their community.
Lastly, a huge thank you to our incredible students and families. Thank you for your commitment and trust.