New Classrooms

New Classrooms

Teach to One: Math, an innovative approach to personalized learning, expands to New England.

Although the national high school graduation rate is at 81%—the highest ever—the data point masks the reality that many young people are being left behind. Only a subset of students who graduate high school are prepared for college, and many do not continue on to meaningful post-secondary education or career opportunities. This reality is driving a growing national movement to rethink and redefine secondary schools. Its leaders recognize that, in order for students to thrive in the 21st century, school models and programs need to be more flexible and intentionally designed to better prepare students for academic and non-academic success, both within and following secondary school.

One of these leaders is New Classrooms, which Barr first supported in 2016. The group is working towards a new vision for teaching and learning—one that is both aligned to the Common Core State Standards and personalized to each student’s unique academic needs and way of learning.

As of 2016, New Classrooms has partnered with 40 schools in 10 states and in Washington, D.C., to implement its flagship personalized instructional model, Teach to One: Math. One of its partner schools, Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, Connecticut, experienced a growth of nearly 1.7 times the national average on the Measures of Academic Progress, a nationally normed growth assessment, after one year of using Teach to One: Math. In partnership with Barr, the new model of personalization is expanding to Massachusetts and other parts of New England.

The model transforms middle school students’ educational experiences in mathematics and reimagines the “one-size-fits-all” classroom approach where students of the same age learn the same things at the same time. Rather than simply adding to what schools already do, the model leverages technology and multiple instructional approaches to create a personalized learning environment, where students can master concepts at their own pace.

In Teach to One: Math, daily assessments enable content to be targeted to students’ skill levels. Based on assessment results, students are assigned to different instructional approaches, such as live teacher-led instruction, small group collaboration, virtual instruction, and independent practice. In this environment, students may be assigned to work in groups on mathematical model assignments while other students work with selected digital lessons to gain proficiency in skills. In a classroom redesigned with multiple, distinct learning stations that teachers and students can easily move between, different students can learn different skills in different ways.

New Classrooms Annual Data

Data from forthcoming New Classrooms annual report

This type of learning has shown promising results, especially among low-performing students. For example, students who began the 2015–2016 school year below grade level in math attained 1.4 times the national average growth rate by the end of the year through Teach to One: Math (see graph). English language learners and special education students also demonstrated impressive gains.

Under our Education priorities, we are privileged to work with organizations like New Classrooms that are facilitating learning in innovative ways and transforming schools to better meet the diverse needs of students—and that are expanding in New England this national movement to personalize learning for every student.

New Classrooms Innovation Partners, Inc.

To support the expansion of “Teach to One: Math” to New England.

  • Year Awarded: 2016
  • Amount: $500,000
  • Term: 24 months
  • Program: Education
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New Classrooms designs models for instruction that reimagine the role of educators, the use of time, the configuration of physical space, and the use of data and technology. Teach to One: Math is New Classrooms’ middle school math learning model that will be used in both public and private high schools to help students who are behind get ready for algebra.