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Rethinking the classroom

It took some time and adjustment from both teachers and students at first, but the Teach to One: Math program at McClintock Middle School is showing signs of success – teachers are collaborating and meeting students where they are.

McClintock Middle School teacher Hastie Hovey gives one-on-one attention to an eighth-grade student. Hovey has had to adjust her treaching style this year to align with the new program.

McClintock Middle School teacher Hastie Hovey gives one-on-one attention to an eighth-grade student. Hovey has had to adjust her treaching style this year to align with the new program.

Struggling students aren’t being left behind.

Gifted students are being challenged daily.

Students are getting individualized learning like never before – and so far, it seems to be working, according to leaders at the school.

“Just watching the kids’ progress in the program – there was resistance at first,” Cherita Abney, dean of students at McClintock, said. “But now, as they do well, they see themselves earning points and are able to move on to something different. You see these kids getting excited.”

The Teach to One program launched in the school’s math department starting this school year. The program, which is supported by nonprofit New Classrooms Innovation Partners, is an innovative and individualized format to teach math. Unlike traditional classrooms, students are in one large room split into various learning experience sections, known as instructional modalities. All the math teachers at McClintock work together for the good of all students instead of focusing on one group of kids. The focus is how to reach all McClintock students.

McClintock is only one of 15 schools that are part of the innovative program, and it’s the only school participating in the Southeast, Joel Rose, co-founder and chief executive officer of New Classrooms Innovation Partners, said. Rose previously served as the chief executive officer for School of One, an initiative within New York City Public Schools that paved the way for the Teach to One program. School of One allows students to have access to personalized learning experiences or “playlists” based on their own preferred learning methods.

“How do we expect any teacher to meet the needs of any student every day?” Rose said at a meeting about the program at McClintock. “We have to think differently about how we do the classroom.”

Each McClintock student was assigned his or her own laptop to use while at school and is assessed daily on the day’s skills through an exit slip taken online at the end of every class period. Reluctant at first, Abney said students are now excited to see their own progress. For the first time, both students and teachers really are able to gauge student achievement since the data is available daily.

“What we can say is, over time the trend is more kids are passing these exit slips,” Abney said, adding the school will know even more after a second round of MAP testing, a district-wide test system that identifies growth throughout the school year. “Most of the time, you can see individual assessment shows great progression.”

Hastie Hovey is a 10-year veteran teacher at McClintock who Abney describes as a math teacher that “really stepped up as a leader and as an instructor.” Hovey previously taught seventh-grade math at the school before the Teach to One program launched this school year. Now, she’s had to rethink everything in the classroom, from curriculum, since she’s now teaching all grade levels, to more students and to tracking all students’ progress.

In a traditional classroom, Hovey said she would frequently end the school day wondering if she was making a difference in students’ education.

“You feel like not only are you leaving kids behind, but you’re not able to push kids that are ready to move forward,” Hovey said. “Now, I don’t have to worry about leaving kids behind because I know when they’re ready to move on.”


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