Math scores increase across all levels of learners at Ranch School
By RSF Education Foundation
The results are in! R. Roger Rowe School’s (Ranch School) most recent STAR test scores indicate that the school’s math program is meeting the needs of all learners.
“At the elementary level, 93.6 percent of students are proficient or advanced in math on the California Standards Test. The number of students scoring in the advanced category on STAR has increased every year for three years at the elementary level,” remarked Assistant Superintendent Cindy Schaub.
In 2010, 62 percent of Ranch School students scored in the advanced range; in 2012, 68 percent. “This is a significant percentage of students performing well above the expected proficient level,” added Schaub. “In addition, the number for students not yet proficient has steadily decreased from 8.8 percent to 6 percent in three years. This data shows how effective our differentiated Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTI) program is for all students whether they are performing below, at, or above grade level.”
Middle school students have the same benefit. Schaub noted, “At the middle school level 84.7 percent of our students scored at or above proficient. This is a great accomplishment given the rigorous expectations in Algebra 1 at the eighth grade level.” The number of non-proficient middle school students has also decreased.
All students at the Ranch School have math instruction based on their needs. This program is supported by the Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation (RSFEF) which this year has pledged $1 million to support this and other key programs at the school. The RSFEF needs to raise $1,030,000 to meet our pledge plus expenses. To date we have $655K in the door and nearly $227K in unpaid pledges. This leaves a deficit of almost $148K.
“Thank you to the 62 percent of school families who have already contributed or made a pledge,” said RSF Education Foundation Chair Glenn Oratz. “We encourage the remaining 38 percent of families to participate at
anylevel that is appropriate for your family and be a part of supporting our school.” Without funding from the RSFEF, programs like this are at risk of being reduced or cut in the future.
Program Ensures Students Have Solid Foundation of Number Systems
“The students are so lucky to be part of a school that offers programs for all learners. Math RTI is an educational approach that allows all students to be successful in math,” commented Cristina Campisano, an educational specialist and math RTI teacher. In the first through sixth grades, students work in small groups for a 30-40 minute block twice a week outside of their daily math time. All students across the grade level move into different groups during the RTI block. Students are grouped based on their assessed need and RTI groups change frequently based on what each student needs at the time. In each grade level two additional teachers are added to the RTI block to allow more student/teacher interaction.
Students who need extra help with a concept are in very small intervention groups (4-8 students) where they focus on the Number Systems Domain.
“As we move towards the Common Core Standards, the area we formerly called Number Sense Strand is now referred to as the Number Systems Domain,” said Math Specialist Carolyn Jensen. “Number Systems are the foundation of all that comes later. Without this understanding the students cannot learn the more complex concepts,” added Mrs. Jensen. Mrs. Campisano explained, “During Math RTI instruction we make sure students see relationships and make mathematical connections. In addition, we build on student’s prior learning, and teach them to ask questions for comprehension purposes. We regularly assess to monitor student progress and develop our lessons based on the assessment results.” The Ranch School’s program ensures that these students get the individualized instruction they need to have solid foundational math skills.
Other students are in “benchmark” groups which focus on extension activities and further practice with the concepts taught during math class. These groups often participate in hands on activities that further develop conceptual understanding and lead to mastery. Some students are in “enrichment” groups focused on taking students’ understanding to advanced or accelerated levels. For example, Fifth Grade Teacher Steve Riviere is teaching an advanced group this year. “Since they have already demonstrated a high degree of mastery of fifth grade standards, I can spend energy making connections from the curriculum to the real world. We are currently practicing and enriching math skills through a stock market challenge. Kids work independently, or in groups, making trading decisions, calculating returns on investments, and multiplying decimals – they are learning seemingly “by accident”, noted Riviere. “That degree of enrichment could only be possible through the funding of the Foundation.”
At all grade levels, enrichment groups participate in collaborative projects, more difficult concepts and critical thinking. “As a teacher I am so grateful to work at a school that supports these types of programs that benefit all students,” said Campisano.
Middle School Programs to Prepare All Students for High School
Accelerated Math courses are offered beginning in the fifth grade for students who meet the criteria. The Ranch School offers geometry as an accelerated course for eighth graders. Middle School Assistant Principal and Math Teacher Paul Coco, said, “Students must meet strict eligibility requirements in order to enter this course. The instruction is fast paced and rigorous. Students in this class have demonstrated stellar academic performance in math classes, excellent work habits, critical thinking skills, independence and a willingness to work above grade level.” Students who complete the course are eligible for Algebra 2 or Honors Algebra 2/Trig as 9th graders.
Additionally, Pre-Algebra and Algebra Support classes are offered as enrichment courses to students. Both courses are beneficial to students who need extra help and those who want to solidify their core skills. “Review of critical standards, study techniques, hands on activities, and further concept development are focuses of this course,” noted Coco. “Students receive additional instruction and practice, preparation for tests, and assistance on homework.”
Foundation Funds Math Intervention Teacher and Smaller Class Sizes
“The financial support from the Foundation allows us to hire a teacher in the full time math intervention position,” noted Schaub. “She teaches each of the grade level intervention groups as well as the Accelerated 6th grade class.” Additionally the financial support allows for smaller class sizes across all grades, as well as, access to accelerated courses and enrichment courses in the middle school setting.
Please take this opportunity to make your contribution so that our children can continue to benefit from programs like Math RTI. All school families are encouraged to participate. Community and corporate donations are also encouraged. For questions or more information, please go to www.rsfef.org or contact the Education Foundation at 858-756-1141 x208. Be Proud to Participate. the difference is you