PARTNERSHIP CASE STUDY

Making HQIM Accessible for SWDs & ELLs

Longwood Preparatory Academy

Executive Summary

Implementing High-Quality Instruction Materials (HQIM) alone does not guarantee academic success for all students. Students with disabilities (SWDs) and English Language Learners (ELLs) miss out on HQIM when teaching to variability is overlooked. Longwood Preparatory Academy (LPA) was navigating this reality. They saw initial academic growth for students, yet the data made it clear that SWDs and ELLs experienced different levels of growth. As a result, LPA was not moving the needle on ensuring that all students graduated with a high school diploma. Thus, LPA’s partnership with Blue Engine supported educators with the mindsets and instructional skills required to address learner variability effectively. Within five years of partnership, SWDs and ELLs began graduating at nearly the same rates as their peers, and LPA exited their turnaround status.

The Challenge

Longwood Preparatory Academy (LPA) reached an inflection point eight years ago when the New York State Education Department (NYSED) designated it a turnaround school. LPA’s leadership implemented High-Quality Instructional Materials (HQIM) to reverse this designation. The desired outcome was that HQIM would address academic needs, increasing graduation rates for all students. Within two years, graduation rates for all students increased from 42% to 70%. Yet, their data uncovered that SWDs and ELLs did not fare equally; graduation rates for SWDs went from 35% to 38%, and for ELLs from 17% to 29%. Students had access to HQIM; however, instructional practice did not account for teaching to variability.

Michelle Vendetti

Assistant Principal

“We were initially invested in coaching and supporting curriculum standards for good content pedagogy. That had an impact at first until it did not. As we peeled the onion, we began to uncover the needs of teachers and students. We needed to provide staff development to ensure appropriate content accommodations were being implemented for SWDs and ELLs. This wasn’t our initial focus.”

Disproportionate academic outcomes for SWDs and ELLs made it clear that more than HQIM alone was needed. HQIM provided a strong foundation for educators and exposed students to rigorous content. Yet, teachers needed access to high-quality professional development focused on inclusive mindsets and practices, co-teaching and educator collaboration, and data-driven development to more effectively support diverse learners.

Insight & Action

Studies show that a lack of training for co-teachers on how to collaborate effectively, leads to special educators spending less than 4% of their time preparing for instruction, consequently taking on a merely monitoring role in the classroom, delivering instructional materials less than 1% of the time (Harbort et al. (2007). To increase access to HQIM for SWDs and ELLS, we supported LPA with data-base planning (data collection, diagnosing barriers, goal setting, and planning action steps) to optimize roles and responsibilities in order to increase learning opportunities for all students. This pivot in approach meant shifting to a mental model in which specialists delivered content, not just remediation support. In practice, this looked like:

Creating co-taught classroom environments in which educators deeply know students’ needs.

Ensuring SPED and ELL teachers are as fluent in the instructional materials as general education teachers.

Equipping all teachers with the skills to maintain rigor in instructional delivery while providing modifications to meet various student needs.

Throughout the collaboration, the school changed its day-to-day instructional practices to align with data-based planning to increase access to rigorous content for all students. With our support, teachers had access to coaching, communities of practice, and co-planning. The team recognized that while SWDs had unique needs that required intentional support, ALL students learn differently. Thus, teachers needed the skill sets to implement instruction that addressed this learner variability—not circumvent it. Vendetti shares how LPA’s approach to addressing graduation rates lived in instructional practice:

“We have been reflecting a lot as a leadership team about what makes us Longwood Prep. What are our beliefs and practices? What do we expect to see? We reflect on our beliefs around co-teaching and the impact of the concrete support Blue Engine has provided regarding role clarity and effective data-driven instruction. I don’t think they [teachers and leaders] see our Blue Engine support as an initiative. It’s how we teach at LPA.“

Results

Initial Measured of Academic Progress (MAP) data established a proof point that learning was accelerated for SWDs and ELLs faster than the national average. The impact of this annual growth was later confirmed by long-term graduation rates. Blue Engine instructional support led to SWDs and ELLs growing above the expected growth rate (50th percentile), while non-SWDs and non-ELLs paced as expected. SWDs grew 5% faster and ELLs grew 2% faster than the expected growth.

Impact

Blue Engine’s partnership continues to support LPA’s ongoing commitment to teaching to variability. Graduation rates for SWDs and ELLs now exceed the national average. This academic achievement milestone resulted in LPA exiting turnaround status. As Longwood Prep Academy reimagines what is possible for all students, Vendetti shares:

“When we think about our school mission and our efforts to be more culturally responsive, that is core to Blue Engine as an organization. Blue Engine helps us look at our students and our practices from different angles.”

PARTNERSHIP CASE STUDY

Making HQIM Accessible for SWDs and ELLs

Longwood Preparatory Academy

Executive Summary

Implementing High-Quality Instruction Materials (HQIM) alone does not guarantee academic success for all students. Students with disabilities (SWDs) and English Language Learners (ELLs) miss out on HQIM when teaching to variability is overlooked. Longwood Preparatory Academy (LPA) was navigating this reality. They saw initial academic growth for students, yet the data made it clear that SWDs and ELLs experienced different levels of growth. As a result, LPA was not moving the needle on ensuring that all students graduated with a high school diploma. Thus, LPA’s partnership with Blue Engine supported educators with the mindsets and instructional skills required to address learner variability effectively. Within five years of partnership, SWDs and ELLs began graduating at nearly the same rates as their peers, and LPA exited their turnaround status.

The Challenge

Longwood Preparatory Academy (LPA) reached an inflection point eight years ago when the New York State Education Department (NYSED) designated it a turnaround school. LPA’s leadership implemented High-Quality Instructional Materials (HQIM) to reverse this designation. The desired outcome was that HQIM would address academic needs, increasing graduation rates for all students. Within two years, graduation rates for all students increased from 42% to 70%. Yet, their data uncovered that SWDs and ELLs did not fare equally; graduation rates for SWDs went from 35% to 38%, and for ELLs from 17% to 29%. Students had access to HQIM; however, instructional practice did not account for teaching to variability.

Michelle Vendetti

Assistant Principal

“We were initially invested in coaching and supporting curriculum standards for good content pedagogy. That had an impact at first until it did not. As we peeled the onion, we began to uncover the needs of teachers and students. We needed to provide staff development to ensure appropriate content accommodations were being implemented for SWDs and ELLs. This wasn’t our initial focus.”

Disproportionate academic outcomes for SWDs and ELLs made it clear that more than HQIM alone was needed. HQIM provided a strong foundation for educators and exposed students to rigorous content. Yet, teachers needed access to high-quality professional development focused on inclusive mindsets and practices, co-teaching and educator collaboration, and data-driven development to more effectively support diverse learners.

Insight & Action

Studies show that a lack of training for co-teachers on how to collaborate effectively, leads to special educators spending less than 4% of their time preparing for instruction, consequently taking on a merely monitoring role in the classroom, delivering instructional materials less than 1% of the time (Harbort et al. (2007). To increase access to HQIM for SWDs and ELLS, we supported LPA with data-base planning (data collection, diagnosing barriers, goal setting, and planning action steps) to optimize roles and responsibilities in order to increase learning opportunities for all students. This pivot in approach meant shifting to a mental model in which specialists delivered content, not just remediation support. In practice, this looked like:

Creating co-taught classroom environments in which educators deeply know students’ needs.

Ensuring SPED and ELL teachers are as fluent in the instructional materials as general education teachers.

Equipping all teachers with the skills to maintain rigor in instructional delivery while providing modifications to meet various student needs.

Throughout the collaboration, the school changed its day-to-day instructional practices to align with data-based planning to increase access to rigorous content for all students. With our support, teachers had access to coaching, communities of practice, and co-planning. The team recognized that while SWDs had unique needs that required intentional support, ALL students learn differently. Thus, teachers needed the skill sets to implement instruction that addressed this learner variability—not circumvent it. Vendetti shares how LPA’s approach to addressing graduation rates lived in instructional practice:

“We have been reflecting a lot as a leadership team about what makes us Longwood Prep. What are our beliefs and practices? What do we expect to see? We reflect on our beliefs around co-teaching and the impact of the concrete support Blue Engine has provided regarding role clarity and effective data-driven instruction. I don’t think they [teachers and leaders] see our Blue Engine support as an initiative. It’s how we teach at LPA.“

Results

Initial Measured of Academic Progress (MAP) data established a proof point that learning was accelerated for SWDs and ELLs faster than the national average. The impact of this annual growth was later confirmed by long-term graduation rates. Blue Engine instructional support led to SWDs and ELLs growing above the expected growth rate (50th percentile), while non-SWDs and non-ELLs paced as expected. SWDs grew 5% faster and ELLs grew 2% faster than the expected growth.

Impact

Blue Engine’s partnership continues to support LPA’s ongoing commitment to teaching to variability. Graduation rates for SWDs and ELLs now exceed the national average. This academic achievement milestone resulted in LPA exiting turnaround status. As Longwood Prep Academy reimagines what is possible for all students, Vendetti shares:

“When we think about our school mission and our efforts to be more culturally responsive, that is core to Blue Engine as an organization. Blue Engine helps us look at our students and our practices from different angles.”