Uplift Summit International kindergarten teacher Megan Rail has always been someone that relied on data to get results. Before coming to Uplift Ms. Rail worked to analyze data for a research firm and tutored children on a part-time basis. Her love for teaching brought her to Uplift where she has worked for four years as a full-time teacher who analyses data to lead scholar growth.
Data driven instruction is the cornerstone of what drives scholar growth in Ms. Rail’s classroom. She uses testing and grade data to determine a path for each scholar.
“I use data to differentiate instruction in my classroom, and I use data to place my kids into groups for guided practice activities. Sometimes the groups are mixed ability, with higher performing scholars helping their peers, and sometimes they are of the same ability,” Ms. Rail said.
Her results have been impressive. As of the middle of the school year, 85% of her scholars are on track to exceed the Uplift goal in reading and 95% are on track to exceed the Uplift goal in math.
Uplift Summit International Dean Meghan Pittman says those numbers are impressive, “The percentage of scholars that she has on track to meet End of Year goals far surpasses the Uplift and campus average.”
Ms. Rail has also found a strong classroom culture with routine and structure, creates a positive learning environment, and technology can help accelerate learning.
“I created a listening center by recording my voice on my smart phone. It guides scholars through different leveled activities for math time. The kids love the extra ‘teacher time.’ They get through the listening activity, and I can be in two places at once,” she said.
In the four years of teaching at Uplift, Ms. Rail acknowledges that there have been things that required tweaking once in a while. She relies on a “three-try” limit to the introduction of a new teaching practice. After the third try without a scholar connection to the curriculum, she reaches out to her colleagues for new ideas and feedback.
Her advice to other teachers is: “Don’t be afraid to start fresh with your scholars. It’s ok to change things up throughout the year. If something isn’t working, look for alternative resources.”