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"District Public responds to the needs of this generation of schools - who require a level of data analysis, marketing and cross-school collaboration heretofore unavailable to us within traditional networks of support. DP's team has helped us identify critical data, key trends and significant highlights that tell our school's story in a unique and highly rigorous manner with an unparalleled level of clarity and precision." --William Frackelton, Principal, Soundview Academy of Culture and Scholarship

Soundview Academy of Culture and Scholarship

Telling their story of success

The Challenge

Soundview Academy (SVA) is a high-performing middle school in the Soundview section of the South Bronx with a focus on personalized instruction, intercultural awareness and expression, rigorous social-emotional learning, and the deep integration of digital technology in the curriculum.  Within just five years, Soundview's founding principal, William Frackelton, led Soundview to become one of just 11 Bronx zoned middle schools to achieve an A on the city's school report card and one of the nation's coveted Apple ConnectEd schools.

 

Frackelton faced two challenges:

 

1) how to tell the story of Soundview's success to administrators, teachers, and partners to further support the development of the school's mission and vision, and

2) how to further improve the instructional gains, especially in the area of math and literacy, with limited resources.

The Approach

District Public began with publicly available data about Soundview Academy, compiling a Comprehensive Data Package that told a clear and compelling story of Soundview's success.  District Public partner Somak Pati analyzed publicly available data on SVA and identified three areas where SVA had demonstrated greatest improvement: 1) progress among the school's students performing at the lowest-third, 2) improvement in math performance and progress scores, and, 3) a drastic improvement in the school's learning environment survey results.   The analysis helped Frackelton and the SVA team break down the school's success into specific contributing factors, uncovering results and trends they hadn't been aware of - trends they could use to publicize their success and advocate for additional resources and support.

 

Next, District Public analyzed SVA's item skills results from the 2013-14 state ELA and Math tests, revealing specific trends at the classroom, grade and student level.  SVA staff now use this information to lead teachers and content area teams toward a more customized approach to instruction, including the strategic grouping of students for the focus on specific stands and key standards.

The Results

Armed with a detailed, user-friendly data report featuring charts, bullet points, and in-depth analyses, Frackelton and his team were able to present a clear case for joining the new Chancellor's Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE), a program established to provide select New York City schools with additional flexibility to implement innovative plans.  Soundview was successful in joining the Bronx PROSE Consortium for the 2014-15 school year.

 

The materials were also used to support Soundview's application for Apple's ConnectEd grant.   District Public provided additional evidence and statistics to support the grant application.  SVA became one of just 114 schools across the country to be selected, providing the school with close to a 2-to-1 ratio of device to student.

Next Steps

Frackelton and his leadership team are using the Item Skills Analysis (example) to personalize instruction at the student and classroom level as they fine tune instruction in preparation for this year's state exams. His teachers have received individualized reports that display in honest and accurate terms the historical performance of the students they have served. This has led to a level of focused, reflective conversations about teaching and learning that avoids the subjective in favor of what has objectively occurred. District Public has allowed this level of clarity and focus as Soundview continues to innovate in a high-needs, district school setting.

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