Skip to content

Compton Unified Ensures ROI for DreamBox Math

ComptonUnifiedSchoolDistrictLogo

Compton Unified School District

Los Angeles, CA

Located in the south-central region of Los Angeles, Compton Unified School District (CUSD) is one of 80 school districts in Los Angeles. When Superintendent Dr. Darrin Brawley arrived at CUSD over 10 years ago, the district had low on-time graduation rates, low achievement scores, and students who needed extra support and services. Brawley believed that CUSD teachers and students deserved the support necessary to thrive. He developed an approach that would eliminate the opportunity gap for students in technology by partnering with organizations such as Digital Promise, Apple, Verizon, Boeing, Microsoft, and Google.

After over a decade of careful planning, targeted support, and thoughtful strategy and execution across every stakeholder level, the district has experienced a dramatic upward shift. It’s marked by increases in student achievement rates, a graduation rate nearing 90%, dramatic facilities improvements, and a focus on STEAM throughout all schools.

DreamBox Math's Impact

 

One of the technology programs Dr. Brawley’s team has implemented is DreamBox Math. The program has been instrumental in increasing student math scores and proved especially critical during school closures. With DreamBox Math, students have just-in-time, personalized math instruction regardless of teacher availability, skill, or learning environment. 

DreamBox Math is one of our partners for preventing learning loss . . . the program has the ability to adapt to where the child is. To meet them where they’re at, to provide them with the foundational skills necessary to get started . . . and build from there. We saw an intense increase in math achievement by students that participated in the program, and we saw those students increase several grade levels over the course of the school year.
quote filled
Dr. Darrin Brawley
Superintendent, CUSD

Dr. Brawley attributes the district’s return on learning with DreamBox Math to three specific focus areas: Communication, ongoing data reviews, and engagement.

Focus Area 1: Communication

Clear and aligned communication about a program’s purpose, value, and expectations.

Ineffective tools, unused solutions, and program churn can be a distraction, a waste of funds, and have a negative impact on student learning. In fact, a recent study suggests that as much as 67% of educational software product licenses go unused. Educators cite poor communication about available technologies as a key reason.

Fortunately, the leadership team at CUSD has adopted a strategic approach to ensure teachers are not only aware of available programs, but also understand the program’s purpose. Dr. Brawley explained that providing clarity of the rationale, benefits and expectations for programs like DreamBox Math improves the program’s success within the organization. “We must focus on the purpose. If you can’t get to the why of a decision, it becomes difficult for people to see the usefulness of a program.” Dr. Brawley continued, “Imagine being a teacher, and being concerned about implementing three different tools for support. As leaders, we must communicate the purpose of each tool and make sure teachers know that the use of each tool is intentional.”

For Dr. Brawley, communicating the purpose and intention of DreamBox Math began by helping teachers understand what made the program unique and effective. “We saw DreamBox Math was different because it meets students where they are, provides support and adapts to their needs as they master different math concepts. With the pandemic,DreamBox Math was the perfect tool to address learning gaps in mathematics. We doubled down on our message about the importance of how DreamBox Math provides students with lessons at their current level of mastery and adapts to fill in those missing links.” This continuous messaging to stakeholders at every level has been helpful to drive program adoption and ensure effective tool usage. By 2020, teachers clearly understood the benefit of the program and saw positive student results correlated with DreamBox Math lesson completion.

Another important component of the CUSD communication strategy was to reassure educators that DreamBox Math would not be a heavy lift or a burden on the day-to-day classroom demands. Rather, it would add to the learning experience.

The tools you provide to teachers shouldn't be just one more thing. Tools should create an advantage for educators to gain better insight, focus on student needs and increase instructional time.
quote filled
Shawnte Clewis
K-8 Math Administrator, CUSD

District leaders understand that teachers balance many competing priorities. They’re responsible for student instruction, implementing programs, student behavior, classroom management, and so much more. The district strives to provide programs proven to have a positive impact on learning outcomes and make teachers’ jobs easier. To ensure a successful adoption, it was critical to communicate that DreamBox Math is not one more thing, but the right thing to help students and teachers. It has been crucial to the program’s success.

Focus Area 2: Ongoing Data Review

Leverage data from multiple sources, analyze and share data, use data to inform decisions, and repeat.

As a data-driven organization, CUSD leaders must consistently assess where students are, what tools and approaches have a positive impact on student achievement, and what practices to replicate across the district. Dr. Brawley says, “We have an intense focus on continuous improvement and the cycle of inquiry. We are constantly looking at where we are and what it is that we need to do. We also benchmark ourselves against surrounding school districts to see how close we are in performance, who is leading the way and how much will it take for us to surpass them?”

To track growth and measure program efficacy at the sites, the district hosts bimonthly data chats. Site and district leaders leverage and analyze data from a plethora of sources, including state dashboards, internal benchmarks, diagnostic assessments, common assessments, and insights and reporting from DreamBox Math. The bimonthly chats have been valuable for educators to triangulate data from DreamBox Math with math scores in order to measure growth for students using the program for the recommended amount of time. DreamBox reports update immediately whenever students start lessons, thereby enabling up-to date, continual reporting throughout the year with insights about concepts students learn, progress they make, and productive struggles they might encounter. 

Through our ongoing data chats with stakeholders, we have cemented the usefulness of DreamBox Math as an important instructional tool to support both teachers and students in meeting grade-level standards in math.
quote filled
Dr. Darrin Brawley
Superintendent, CUSD

CUSD educators have also found data exploration valuable to drill into math achievement subgroups and explore which DreamBox Math strategies are most effective for serving students in Tiers II and III and how to provide continuous growth for students in Tier I.

As one example, during the 2021-22 school year, 8th grade Compton students completing the recommended five lessons per week (approximately one hour per week) demonstrated an average growth of 1.1 grade levels within DreamBox Math. This accelerated growth is in addition to any growth students demonstrated in their regular math classroom. For 8th graders who started the year below grade level, time spent in DreamBox Math often addressed unfinished learning from prior grades. 

The student progress overview report below is one example of how DreamBox Math provided differentiation so this student could understand integer addition and subtraction topics from 7th grade, fractions and decimals concepts from 6th grade, and key skills from 5th, 6th, and 7th grades related to expressions and equations. These are essential algebra readiness concepts that 8th grade teachers typically don’t have enough time, resources, or data to support every student. Fortunately, this student was still receiving grade-level instruction during math class, because DreamBox Math only requires one hour per week. Learning 8th-grade standards in math class was in addition to the 1.2 grade levels they grew within DreamBox Math. 

Last, the chats have also been useful for analyzing their DreamBox Math usage data and program growth against other schools. Together, they explored different approaches for improving teacher participation, new ways to celebrate student success, and areas to replicate in their schools.

Focus Area 3: Engagement

Motivate students and empower them to get excited about learning and take pride in their achievements.

To meet the desired learning goals, DreamBox Math recommends that students complete five math lessons every week (about one hour per week). CUSD aimed to meet these goals, but during bimonthly data reviews, educators noticed that there were pockets of high usage across certain schools and grades. There was room for improvement for the entire district, so the leadership team began to develop DreamBox Math challenges among schools, grades, classrooms, and students. They encouraged site administrators to engage teachers and students to log in to DreamBox Math and complete at least five lessons per week.

CUSD began to see patterns of top-performing schools and classrooms. The district office highlighted and recognized winners at the school, grade, class, and student level every week. Within months of issuing their first challenge, DreamBox Math usage had exploded for both students and teachers. The district created new challenges, including completing 10 lessons per week, completing lessons during school breaks, and completing 150,000 lessons in January 2022. Data showed that the cohort of students completing five or more lessons tripled from the previous year. 

The enthusiasm for DreamBox Math has resulted in far more than lesson completion. District data indicates that student progress in the number of math standards in which they are proficient. When staff walks through classrooms, they can hear students having academic conversations with teachers and peers about what they’ve learned in DreamBox Math.

Shawnte Clewis credits much of the success of DreamBox Math to the district’s efforts to celebrate students’ accomplishments. By celebrating student usage, fostering healthy competition, and motivating students to push themselves, in 2021-22, CUSD students in grades K – 8 completed nearly 1.5 million lessons. Those who completed five or more lessons per week gained an average of 20.74 California Common Core Content Standards.

Having students know that their work in DreamBox Math is being noticed and acknowledged brings self-confidence for our students, which helps them grow in all areas of learning.
quote filled
Shawnte Clewis
K-8 Math Administrator, CUSD

Measuring Program ROI

In addition to the marked progress students demonstrated while using DreamBox Math, the program also saved CUSD teachers countless hours by automatically differentiating instruction to meet students where they are. The return on investment for DreamBox Math can also be measured by determining the cost of intervention efforts had the program not been adopted, rather than intervention led by a CUSD teacher. An analysis of the district’s spending and performance data concluded that Compton Unified School District demonstrated three times the return on their DreamBox Math investment. Looking ahead, the district intends to continue employing DreamBox Math for all students and continue its engagement efforts. 

Quick Facts

School Details

  • 36 school serving 18,000 students
  • 99% minority population
  • 90% on-time graduation rate 
  • Partnered with Discovery Education since 2021

Solutions

  • DreamBox Math

Classroom Application

  • Supplemental

Share This Story

Embark on Your Impact Journey with Discovery Education

Learn How Discovery Education Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Texas School Sees Better Math Scores with DreamBox

Wylie ISD Logo

Wylie Independent School District

Wylie, TX

Wylie Independent School District began using DreamBox Math in one of its junior high schools, Raymond Cooper Junior High, beginning in 2019 through DreamBox’s Pilot Program. After seeing initial success, the district expanded its use of DreamBox Math to three junior high schools with about 900 students at each campus. That deployment benefited considerably from the work of Tracene Nechamkin, Wylie ISD math learning specialist.

As with a number of DreamBox customers, Wylie was using another digital math program when they began exploring DreamBox Math. Although it performed adequately for younger students, when students reached junior high, problems arose. “By that time students just didn’t care for it, and we got a lot of push back,” says Nechamkin. “We wanted a program that would help all students grow, and that also aligned with MAP® (Measure of Academic Progress) testing.”

It’s nice to have a supplemental math program that we can rely on to help support our teachers and students, especially with Response to Intervention (RTI). I think we’re going to be dealing with the repercussion from remote/hybrid learning for years to come, with many students experiencing learning loss.
quote filled
Tracene Nechamkin
Math Learning Specialist

DreamBox Math Enables Flexible Learning Environments

DreamBox Math also supports Nechamkin’s approach to teaching math. Students should do some discovery, rather than just completing a set series of problems. The value of discovery is that students can construct their own understanding and knowledge through their experiences and reflections. This approach leads to greater student engagement. During hybrid/remote learning, the district experienced a shortage of substitute teachers, and DreamBox Math helped fill in the gaps when students finish their classwork. Not long ago Nechamkin was in a history class. The students finished their assignments early, so she asked them if they would rather read or use DreamBox Math. They chose the latter. “It’s great that they can log in to DreamBox Math and start learning right away.” she says.

The three junior high schools using DreamBox Math have each adopted their own model. Teachers typically give students time on the math program during enrichment sessions, or when there is extra time in a class, in addition to using it as an intervention tool. DreamBox Math enhances classroom instruction and is an ideal tool for all learners because it meets them where they are and helps them advance in the way they learn best.

Kris Chesnut, a math teacher in Wylie’s Cooper Junior High, uses DreamBox Math as a homework tool for both remote and in-class students, with a goal of five lessons per week per student. It’s also useful as an intervention tool for students who need additional support.

“After sharing the simple approach to DreamBox Math lessons, my students were pleased with the length of the assignments and enjoyed the hands-on manipulatives.” he says.

“And I can definitely see better results in class from my students who are avid DreamBox users. One of my favorite things to hear when introducing a new topic is the kids saying, ‘Oh we already did this in DreamBox.’ It’s nice that some topics are already introduced to them, and I can spend more time either reinforcing or extending the lesson.”

Using DreamBox Math in the classroom is very simple. We have no issues logging in with the use of Clever. Students enjoy it and many enjoy taking a break from typical classroom lessons to work in DreamBox Math.
quote filled
Kris Chesnut
Math Teacher

Compared with other online learning methods, DreamBox Math supported teachers by bringing students up to speed quickly and could adapt to individual student needs. Students can monitor their own progress and success through the Student Weekly Goals feature and also use the DreamBox Math student dashboard to ensure they’re completing the recommended five lessons per week. Now moving into its third year of use in Wylie’s three junior high schools, DreamBox Math has won over students and teachers.

In the future, Nechamkin sees digital learning tools like DreamBox Math as a cornerstone of education. The benefits are clear, with increased student engagement by supporting different learning styles and helping to prepare students for the future. “I think we’ve turned a corner, and there’s no going back,” she says. “Teachers are more comfortable using technology in the classroom, and students enjoy using digital learning tools for learning. It’s going to be a huge part of education going forward.”

Quick Facts

District Details

  • 20 school serving 17,500 students
  • Partnered with Discovery Education since 2019

Solutions

  • DreamBox Math

Classroom Application

  • Supplemental

Share This Story

Embark on Your Impact Journey with Discovery Education

Learn How Discovery Education Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Regular Use of DreamBox Math Significantly Improved MAP Scores

Salem WI ISD Logo

Salem School District

Salem, WI

Building Strong Student Usage

At the Salem 4K–8 school, students know Craig Velleux as Mr. DreamBox. His official title was math interventionist/math coach/algebra teacher, and he is now the data specialist. In 2021, a new administrator brought DreamBox Math into the curriculum, so Velleux learned how to make the program work for his district. One of his main responsibilities in the 2022 23 school year was to get DreamBox Math up and running and engage students and teachers.

“Our 4K, kindergarten, and 1st-graders all have iPads and from 2nd grade up, we have Chrome books for all the kids,” says Velleux, explaining that the school population is socioeconomically diverse. “So, we make sure they have the devices and anybody at home that doesn’t have a device, we loan them one.” With these devices, students can work on DreamBox Math lessons anywhere and anytime. All students, K-8 must complete five lessons a week. Those who complete more have seen more improvement.

As a data specialist, Velleux built assessments into a data analytics platform called Otus to track students’ skill level. The platform offers a question-by-question and standard-by-standard breakdown for every student in a class. The analytics show where students are missing standards mastery or where students scored low. Then, the teachers go into DreamBox Math and assign lessons based on each student’s specific needs.

The teachers actually really like DreamBox Math because they don’t necessarily have to reteach and lose class time. They can use DreamBox Math to supplement the skills that [students] need.
quote filled
Craig Velleux
Interventionist, Coach, & Teacher for Math

For example, DreamBox Math supports students’ math fact fluency. Teacher buy-in made getting DreamBox Math into the classroom easy. Some students need more intensive intervention in small-group or one-on one settings, so they don’t fulfill the recommended number of weekly lessons. Regardless, the kids love the program. But for different reasons than the teachers. Number one: DreamBox is fun with its gaming style lessons that pique youngsters minds. Number two: Competition and recognition help engage students.

The school ignited students’ interest with a friendly math challenge in May 2022. The names of students who did 10 lessons a week were put on a banner in the halls. In addition to recognition, students got prizes, certificates, DreamBox Math stickers, pens and pencils, water bottles, and T-shirts. If an entire class met the challenge of 10 lessons, Velleux put up a big ribbon on the wall and went into their room and made a big deal out of it, handing out small backpacks and math key tags. Engagement was “crazy good,” according to Velleux.

Exciting MAP and State Assessment Results

“During the 2022-2023 school year, MAP testing scores were some of the highest the school had seen. Similarly, students who used DreamBox Math regularly saw improved state testing (Wisconsin Forward) scores, especially their third-grade students. Velleux is certain they’ll continue to host big, building-wide DreamBox Math challenges each Spring before state testing. Because DreamBox Math has caught on with teachers and students, usage is up quite a bit after the first year. With teacher buy-in and student engagement being so high, Velleux has great expectations for expanding student usage.

MAP testing scores were some of the best we've had overall . . . Our third grade outperformed pretty much the rest of our building as far as number of proficient [and] advanced students. And they had the highest [DreamBox] usage, and the most kids that met the challenge. I'm excited to see how DreamBox Math growth is going to look at the year goes on!
quote filled
Craig Velleux
Interventionist, Coach, & Teacher for Math

Quick Facts

School Details

  • 1 school serving 1,000 students in grades 4K-8
  • Partnered with Discovery Education since 2021

Solutions

  • DreamBox Math

Classroom Application

  • Supplemental

Share This Story

Embark on Your Impact Journey with Discovery Education

Learn How Discovery Education Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Creating a Stronger Learning Community through Virtual Field Trips​

VASD Logo Square

Verona Area School District

Verona, WI

Discovery Education’s Impact

Verona Area School District was looking for fresh, innovative ways to engage students with learning that extends beyond the traditional classroom setting. The teachers wanted to offer rigorous academic content while also elevating their students’ sense of community and leadership skills. They found an invaluable resource in the Discovery Education Experience learning platform and its included Virtual Field Trips to bring an exciting, hands-on learning experience to K-12 students.

verona asd katie ledecky vft
Edit Content
verona asd katie ledecky vft

Popular among Discovery Education educators, Virtual Field Trips take students on a unique journey to make real-world connections: like meeting Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Katie Ledecky and learning about STEM careers, visiting the arctic tundra to observe polar bears, or going behind the scenes at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, TN. These resources make an impact by creating connections between educators within a district, between subjects like music and physics, and between students and their community.

Since 2016, the district has been creating a new kind of interactive, hands-on learning activity that incorporates Virtual Field Trips and a little magic from its dedicated Educational Technology Coach, Rita Mortenson. What started out as a simple collaboration between teachers has evolved into a cross-curricular, cross-grade level learning experience. Now high schoolers are brought to the younger grades, and vice versa, to collaborate and experience the Virtual Field Trip together in engaging ways that they themselves have a hand in designing.

I’m very passionate about bringing joy to all spaces and elevating teachers. For instance, when we used Discovery Education to create an experience pairing a 2nd grade class with an AP Physics class, the AP Physics teacher said it was some of the greatest learning she has ever helped facilitate. It was amazing to see her students teach younger students about science experiments and watch them be leaders. We love to be champions for the teachers by helping create these moments.
verona asd 2

Lightbulb Moments

These Virtual Field Trips are more than just a video to add into a lesson or show to students. The first example of this innovative collaboration among Verona Area School District students used the NFL Play 60 Virtual Field Trip, created in partnership with the National Football League and the American Heart Association. Students from different high school athletic and academic programs were brought in to help design hands-on learning activities stemming from this digital resource to connect with elementary students and engage them in skill building.

verona asd 1
Edit Content
verona asd 1

Today, there are a multitude of lightbulb moments showcasing how students connect through engaging, hands-on learning with these collaborative activities, and their impact extends beyond the classroom, too! High school students are empowered to make an impact on the younger generation and sharpen their leadership skills, which builds a sense of community.

Creating joy for students through these hands-on activities can help them learn new things or show what they have learned throughout a unit. For example, when elementary students completed a unit on weather, we set up an Extreme Weather Virtual Field Trip experience using Discovery Education Experience, with different stations students visited with high schoolers. This experience helps teachers visualize what they can do with online content and how to make it fun and exciting for their students. Making that connection between students and staff, but also between the curriculum and grade levels is really important!

Looking Ahead

According to teachers in the district, these collaborative Virtual Field Trips are “the best learning experience for their class,” and it’s been gaining more traction every year. The interest has expanded beyond the topics represented in Virtual Field Trips, which leaders like Rita see as an opportunity to lean on Discovery Education’s high-quality, diverse content to create even more collaborative learning opportunities.

With the support of district leadership and principals, Rita, Lisette, and other teacher-leaders are planning 10 or even 20 events a year, all while encouraging the participation of more teachers. Lastly, bringing in community leaders and outside industry leaders would open the door to Virtual Field Trips focused on careers to help prepare students for the future workforce and overall success.

Quick Facts

School Details

  • 10 schools serving 5,700+ students
  • Partnered with Discovery Education since 2011

Solutions

  • Experience
  • Mystery Science
  • Science Techbook for Middle School

Classroom Application

  • Core and supplemental instruction
  • Cross-curricular hands-on learning

Share This Story

Embark on Your Journey with Discovery Education

Learn How Discovery Education Can Help You Achieve Your Goals