Using MAP Growth to Overcome Barriers to Learning

There are numerous barriers to learning that teachers face every day, including poverty, food insecurity, mobility, and access. At Atlas Preparatory School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, teachers and administrators work hard to remove these barriers and provide a stable environment for their kids to learn – and they use MAP® Growth™ to measure their progress.

As Casey McComsey, Chief of Staff at Atlas Prep, states:

It’s typical for our students to have attended three or four different schools by the time they come to Atlas. They come to us really far behind, where they just haven’t had the same sort of structures and supports that allow them to be in a place where they are learning at the same rates as other students.Using MAP Growth to Overcome Barriers to LearningBy offering all different kinds of support for students and their families, Atlas creates an environment where kids can grow. But progress needs to be measured, quickly and effectively, to use time and resources well, and this is where MAP Growth comes into play. Grade-level independence and quick, reliable results are two MAP Growth attributes that help Atlas educators drive growth with their students.

“We want to grow our students as much as possible from where they’re starting, and meet them where they are. And really, we don’t have another choice. If we provide a one-size-fits-all approach or curriculum, we’re not serving our mission,” McComsey explains.

MAP Growth data enables Atlas to create targeted plans for students. Being able to quickly identify which students are on track and which students have regressed helps Atlas to determine if their decisions and programs are effective.

Tweet: Using MAP Growth to overcome barriers to #learning #edchat #educationAnother way MAP Growth helped Atlas at the school level was in recognizing summer learning loss. Their MAP Growth data suggested that students were losing the first month of school to re-teaching, so Atlas started a 3-week, tuition-free summer enrichment program. Many of their low-income students did have access to a structured summer program, and now the Atlas teachers and staff lead programs in outdoor education, college preparation, and athletics.

Is stability and structure helping? In the 2015–16 school year, Atlas students in 6th–10th grades demonstrated growth ranging from the 92nd to the 99th percentile of all schools nationally in mathematics, reading, language usage, and general science. In the 2016-17 school year, the majority of all Atlas 5th–8th grade students met or exceeded typical growth goals across all subjects.

At Atlas, their ultimate vision is to use education to transform their students’ lives. As McComsey explains:

We think about what it’s going to look like to turn this around… To make sure that there is a structural change where our graduating kids have the talents to be successful—and make a generational shift out of poverty.

For more details on how Atlas Prep uses MAP Growth, download the complete case study – Using MAP Growth to Support Students in Poverty and Help Them Grow.


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