Congratulations to the students and educators at Carlin Springs Elementary, a largely Hispanic school with a high ELL population. Their third-grade students had a pass rate on the state’s standardized math test of 95 percent, a gain of 47 percentage points from two years ago.

Their remarkable efforts remind me very much of another school with an 80% Hispanic population in west Texas. Fort Stockton Middle school did not make AYP in math. They had tried several strategies but could not break the pattern of failure. Principal Gil-Rey Madrid had had enough. He started an intensive math intervention program mid-way through the school year. The students responded and test results went up. The following year, he focused even more heavily on what brought them success. The payoff was worth it. Fort Stockton Middle School was recognized for the highest math performance among middle schools and junior high schools in their region. The use of Ascend Math was a focal point in their intensive math strategy.

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