Spring 2017 Implementation Report

Duval Transformation Region


The lack of reading skills is a serious problem facing the United States today. According to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), 37% of fourth graders and up to 70% in some low income urban areas cannot read at the basic level. Research shows that 79% of the eighth graders in the Chicago Public Schools are not grade- level proficient in reading. As students advance through the grades, the learning gap between the readers and non- readers widens, and nearly 35% of non- readers drop out of school, a rate more than twice their classmates. Far too few children, no matter their socioeconomic background, can read well enough to function in an economy in which literacy is more important than ever. Boys are especially challenged, often trailing their peers in reading causing them to fall far behind academically by the time they reach middle school. Over $13 billion was spent in 2011 on students who were retained a grade because they cannot read, while $2 billion was spent in 1992. Duval County Public Schools is the sixth largest district in the state of Florida and the 20th largest school district in the nation with a strong commitment to meet the needs of every student. In the past two years, the district has seen significant growth in literacy and strategically narrowing the focus where it is needed. The data reflects a strong deficiency in reading achievement in 50 of the lowest performing schools while the analysis reflects a weakness in primary instruction which impacts literacy for students. The Early Learning Centers, K-2 schools, and specialty were added to address this immediate need.

The MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program was implemented in three of K-2 schools and a school designed to meet the needs of students with dyslexia, dyscalculia or dysgraphia (GRASP Academy). The Duval County Schools, Duval Transformation Region sought to meet the needs of struggling readers in 4 high needs schools. Since, MaxScholar uses an explicit, systematic, and multi-sensory approach to reading intervention for struggling readers while providing the Orton- Gillingham approach in an electronic format which engages students, Duval County Schools leadership team selected this program to meet the needs of some of students that are entering school with a deficit or because of the deficit are far behind the average reading progression. The program also was selected because of the detailed explicit training provided to the teachers on how to use the program to meet the needs of each student in the classroom. The teachers were provided lesson plans, methods, and materials to use to work with the students during this training as well as role playing scenarios modeling the effective use.

Smart Pope Livingston, John Love, Hyde Grove and GRASP Academy teachers were trained for MaxScholar March 8-9, 2017. The training was designed to add to the Orton- Gillingham training these teachers received in July 2016. During the training it was quickly identified that the teachers did not have a full grasp on the program and how to implement it in the classroom to best help students that were struggling readers.

During March through June of the 2016-17 school year, student participants improved word recognition skills, reading comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary through use of the MaxScholar.

Data Analysis

Participating schools are in the lowest 1/3 of schools by grade level, based on 2016-17 i-Ready data in reading.

Students from GRASP Academy, Hyde Grove, John Love, and S. P. Livingston Elementary start school at a clear disadvantage due to the lack of reading proficiency. I-Ready data from the 2016-17 school year resulted in 93% of the students in targeted schools are below the standard reading proficiency. This is 23% above the national average. GRASP Academy had the highest number of students non- proficient in Reading at 97%. The contributing factor may be the school’s increased population of students with dyslexia, dyscalculia or dysgraphia.

S. P Livingston, Hyde Grove, John Love and GRASP Academy participated in the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program from March to June 2017 yielding results of 60% of the student participants had 1 year growth and 39% had 2 year growth. The average growth by grade level is over 50% for each participating school. The overall data for MaxScholar participating schools were 9% higher than the district average for one year of expected Lexile growth or greater and 27% higher than the district average for two years of expected Lexile growth or greater.


The Duval Transformation Region’s implementation of the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program to achieve growth in student Reading proficiency data identified through increased Lexile and reading proficiency levels measured through I- Ready Reading. Through implementation evaluation of MaxScholar, school leadership, and district leadership the program goals were achieved. In a short three month period, the students using this program were able to gain the momentum to not only show increased growth but also increased student engagement. The MaxScholar program, through multisensory, systematic and explicit learning, allowed the students to gain the confidence, receive the necessary support, and remediate the areas of struggle while providing the teacher the wherewithal to bring the cutting edge Orton- Gillingham to life in the classroom. The leadership, teachers, students and parents of these participating schools have embraced the program. The leadership is able to use the specific data on students to identify next steps for students. The teacher is able to differentiate instruction through small group, whole group and independent practice. The student is able to see their progress in “Real Time”. The parent has the ability to know their child’s data and provide challenging materials through home learning.


It is recommended to continue use of the MaxScholar Reading Intervention program in the pilot schools measuring student growth in summer learning programs and the 2017-18 school year. In many instances students in urban communities with high poverty rates and low student achievement rates have limited or no learning opportunities during the summer months. The primary goal of MaxScholar summer learning implementation in the K-2 schools during the summer is to increase the retention rate of reading and comprehension from the previous school year. Provide some structure reading during the summer months to students have are challenged with reading. To provide a fun way to learn and improve reading skills. As a pilot, Duval County Public Schools’ Transformation Region implemented the MaxScholar Reading Intervention Program in K-2 Schools and GRASP Academy to meet the literacy needs for our struggling schools. In the 2017-18 school year, MaxScholar have continue the reading achievement growth of the piloted K-2 and specialty school by providing the support needed for students reading below grade- level including those with learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorders, Executive Function, Working Memory, Processing Speed Disorders, and English Language Learners.