Like many high-poverty middle schools, Oakland’s Elmhurst Community Prep is trying to reach students who are all over the map academically. One third are working at grade level in reading and math, says Principal Kilian Betlach. Another third are one to two years behind. The remaining third are three or four years behind — or more. “You can’t teach them by aiming for the middle and providing these little supports,” says Betlach.
“Teachers are told to sprinkle your differentiation fairy dust,” says Betlach. With 32 students in a class, and no aides, “it’s not possible.”
What is possible?
A foundation-funded experiment is testing whether “blended learning” can personalize instruction in eight Oakland schools. I write about how it’s working in Beyond the Factory Model in Education Next.