The school uses the same approach for math instruction. In a third-grade math class, five students sat together at a semi-circular table facing the teacher, who guided them through a series of mathematical questions. The rest of the students in the class worked independently in one area, while others quietly engaged in computer-based tasks. The students were calm and thoughtful as they went about their work, both with their teachers and with their peers.
“This is what happens when kids know where they’re at and what they’re working toward. This is what happens when you have a system that ensures high-quality instruction for kids and that every teacher in our building knows exactly what to do when sitting in front of kids,” said AP Matson. “So really, a lot of professional development and systems that support strong instructional practices.”
After eight years of focused system building and intervention, Archuleta educators can feel great about the exciting academic gains their students are making, thanks to their dedication to building on each student’s strengths and believing in their ability to achieve. Typically, only about 30% of first-graders start the school year at Archuleta reading at grade level, but by the end of the year, those same classes have 85 to 90% of students reading on grade level – year after year.
“The opportunity of having a big community where people come from all different backgrounds is exciting,” said Ortega. “And our job as educators is to find out what makes each individual student tick, what they need support with, discover where they want to go in life and help them get there.”
Archuleta’s educators and leaders are creating a culture of instructional excellence. They’re an inspiring example of what’s possible when we have high expectations for every student, believe that every student can improve and grow, and provide the support and care every student needs to thrive.