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Boston Public Schools Launches Partnership with New Classrooms

September 29, 2016

Tech Boston Academy in Dorchester Pilot Supports District-Wide Plan to Personalize Learning

BOSTON, MA – Thursday, September 29, 2016 – Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang today joined Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, and School Committee Chairperson Michael O’Neill to announce a partnership with New Classrooms, a national nonprofit on a mission to personalize education by redesigning how a classroom works. New Classrooms brought its first school-based learning model, Teach to One: Math (TTO), to TechBoston Academy in Dorchester.  

“Congratulations to Boston Public Schools’ TechBoston Academy and New Classrooms on the formation of this new partnership,” said Mayor Walsh. “Our top priority is to meet the diverse needs of every single student throughout our public schools. New Classrooms will be an innovative partner in this mission, and I look forward to students at TechBoston Academy benefiting from this personalized partnership model.”

This year, Tech Boston Academy’s 360 middle school students are receiving customized daily schedules, curriculum and learning experiences to meet their individual math needs through the learning model.

“The School Committee is appreciative of the outstanding partners of the Boston Public Schools,” said Chairperson Michael O’Neill. “Math can be extremely challenging, and this unique, personalized learning model will ensure that each student is well prepared.”

The adoption of TTO is part of a district-wide effort to personalize learning after teachers noticed students were entering middle school with different foundational math skills. Teachers faced the challenge of providing students with varying lessons, learning approaches and timelines so they could learn additional skills while also moving forward through the curriculum.

“To set our students up for future success, we needed to empower our teachers with the tools to make personalizing math a reality,” said Superintendent Chang. “With Teach to One, our teachers have more collaboration time while students are engaging in challenging lessons that meet them at their level of understanding.”

TTO provides teachers with a curated bank of high-quality learning resources that match students’ skill levels and address knowledge gaps. It assigns each student to one of nine instructional approaches, called modalities, daily based on the previous day’s assessment. The model was found to deliver 1.5 years of learning in a school year.

“Boston Public Schools is joining the many districts and schools around the country who see personalized learning as key to student acceleration,” said New Classrooms CEO Joel Rose. “We’re privileged to be working with and learning alongside Boston Public Schools to best support their unique school community at TechBoston Academy.”

This new model of personalization helps solve an important problem: almost two-thirds of U.S. eighth graders are off track in math when they enter high school. These students have a less than 20 percent chance of graduating high school ready for college. In the 2015-16 school year, 24 out of the 25 schools using TTO saw academic gains above the national average. In Boston, TTO’s implementation is being funded by Boston Public Schools with support from the Barr Foundation and Strategic Grant Partners.

Teach to One reimagines the traditional classroom to create a more personalized approach to math instruction,” said Leah Hamilton, Director of Education for the Barr Foundation. “When each child’s experience is tailored to their unique academic needs and ways of learning, the results are remarkable. We are pleased to be able to help TTO bring its proven model to new schools in Massachusetts and New England, including Tech Boston Academy.”

About New Classrooms

Founded in 2011, New Classrooms is a national nonprofit on a mission to personalize education by redesigning how a classroom works – from the use of technology, time, and physical space to the instruction and content that engages each student. The founders of New Classrooms were the leaders of an initiative within NYC Public Schools called School of One, which TIME named as one of the Best Inventions of 2009. New Classrooms’ first learning model, Teach to One: Math, ensures each student is learning the right math lesson, at the right time, and in the right way that best meets their strengths and needs. It is used in 40 schools, serving about 13,000 students, nationwide.