From Pilot to Partner: Haddon Heights NJ

Finding the Right Fit

Deciding on a comprehensive solution to support teachers with both closing learning gaps and providing rigorous classroom instruction is an important decision. An effective program helps you successfully address the needs of each of your students to ensure they keep pace and grow.

One New Jersey school district went in search of the right technology and decided Classworks was the perfect fit!

Haddon Heights School District in New Jersey, was looking for a solution that would put their NWEA MAP Growth assessment results to work and provide individualized instruction for students.

Haddon Heights decided to implement Classworks throughout the district after a hugely successful pilot! 

“Classworks checked all of the important boxes we were looking for. We have a lot of student data available to us from NWEA MAP Growth. We were looking for a solution that would help teachers take action on those results,” explains Chris Ormsby, principal at Seventh Avenue and Atlantic Avenue schools. “Our ideal solution would not only close learning gaps, but offer enrichment to students working above grade level. We also wanted to prepare students for success on the state’s PARCC assessment. Classworks proved to be the right fit for our district.”

In order to ensure that their investment in a new program was successful they decided on a pilot-to-purchase strategy. The district considered a few key questions when determining what the outcomes of a successful pilot should be?

  • Does the solution meet the district’s instructional goals?
  • Is it something teachers are excited to use and will evangelize?
  • How do we make it a part of daily or weekly learning?

A Solution that Meets Instructional Goals

Why was the district looking for a new resource? One reason was that teachers in the district were using custom-built intervention tools. They helped, but weren’t meeting all of the district’s goals, including finding and addressing learning gaps with instruction individualized for each student.

With the data provided by NWEA MAP Growth reports, teachers were able to see which students needed additional support. The missing piece of the puzzle was a way to seamlessly apply that data with the confidence that each student’s learning gaps were being addressed.

“You could have 6th grade students who can handle 8th grade material, while some need more work on 4th grade skills. Classworks is so appealing because of its ability to automatically prescribe learning paths for each child based on wherever they happen to fall,” Principal Ormsby explains.

Haddon Heights had a clear understanding of what their need was and how an individualized intervention solution would help–an important factor when purchasing a new technology.

A Solution the Teachers Are Excited About

Principal Ormsby and other district leaders wanted to be as strategic as possible during their pilot of Classworks. One classroom was selected in each elementary school to pilot. Second, fourth, and sixth grade classes were chosen to provide an ideal cross-section of the students in the district.

“We wanted a core group of evangelizers in each building. That way you would have the classroom teacher and both the reading and math specialists on board with using Classworks. Our teacher participants volunteered to pilot the program, so we knew they were serious about finding the right tools to improve student performance,” Principal Ormsby continues.

What’s more, having a group that is not only versed in the program, but excited about it, is a sure-fire way to get others on-board! When going full scale, teachers new to the software have multiple points of reference within their school for assistance and support.

Haddon Heights also had support from a district nearby that uses Classworks. They invited a teacher from Somerdale Park School District to give an overview and speak about her experience using Classworks.

Inviting teachers who are using Classworks in other school districts or planning a site visit to a district using Classworks gives you the opportunity to see it in action.

A Solution that Weaves Into Daily Learning

An important component of success for any instructional technology is implementing with fidelity. To do that, it’s important that teachers understand how Classworks fits into their daily or weekly teaching schedule.  

To get the biggest benefit, Haddon Heights is adhering to Classworks’ recommendation of 45-minutes per week per subject. Having a clear and defined expectation of time-on-task goals is another great way to maximize your success.

With the benefit of having a Chromebook for each student, Haddon Heights is able to use Classworks in the classroom environment. Students take the NWEA MAP Growth assessment three times per year. Classworks analyzes the MAP Growth results and prescribes learning paths for each student based on what NWEA identifies as ‘Ready to Learn’. Each school’s reading and math specialists are responsible for tracking the students’ progress in Classworks and making instructional adjustments.

Students work through their Individualized Learning Paths (ILPs) in class during math and/or literacy blocks. If other activities occupy those times, students use Classworks during enrichment periods. As they progress, teachers give added support by monitoring and conferencing with students one-on-one, thanks to real-time data dashboards. During class time, teachers also use Classworks Classroom Reading and Mathematics activities, designed to teach grade-level standards, to deliver whole-group instruction.

This balance of independent work paired with teacher-led instruction has proved to be an effective mix for Haddon Heights, and offered the team valuable insight into how Classworks should be used districtwide.

A Solution for the Whole District!

After eight months of piloting Classworks, it was clear to the district that it was the right solution to support their needs. Classworks is now used districtwide in Haddon Heights!  

Looking at the 2018 - 2019 school year, they plan to ramp up the use of Classworks in the district and find new ways to support district goals. One way is with a district teaching initiative called “The Daily Five.” Using this framework, students work independently towards individual literacy goals while teachers support them with whole-group instruction. Classworks Individualized Instruction fits easily into this teaching philosophy. In addition, teachers will use Classworks Classroom Reading and Mathematics to help students prepare for success on PARCC, New Jersey’s end of grade assessment.  

Classworks is very excited to have Haddon Heights join the family! Their blueprint for finding a solution to meet their district’s needs is one to follow.

“Haddon Heights is excited for the success that the 2018-2019 school year holds for us! We are ready to support student growth with a powerful intervention solution that allows us to make our NWEA MAP Growth assessment data actionable,” says Principal Ormsby.

Let’s chat about how you can become our next success story! Classworks is excited to partner with New Jersey districts to ensure that you have the right measures for success in place when you pilot. The goal is student growth! It’s important to have the right resources to support teachers and effectively close gaps and accelerate learning for students.

Michael Lopes |