Beginning in 2001, there was a unique collaboration between the superintendent, the community superintendent, and the unions representing teachers, supporting services, and administrators, which jointly made a commitment to increase student achievement at Broad Acres Elementary School. The outcome of this collaboration was Montgomery County’s formulation of a plan to restructure Broad Acres Elementary School by focusing on instruction, teacher recruitment, teacher training and community outreach.
In the spring of 2000, results of state testing showed that students at Broad Acres were performing at very low levels. Scores on Maryland State Performance Assessment Program tests were similar to those of schools being taken over by the state: only 11.8% of third graders were proficient in reading and only 5.3% showed proficiency in math, while at fifth grade, 21% were proficient in reading and 15% in math.
In the spring of 2001, school staff, in cooperation with district and union leaders, undertook a three-year program to internally restructure the school. By 2004, 75% of third graders demonstrated reading proficiency on the new Maryland State Assessment and 67% demonstrated math proficiency. Fifth grade students showed comparable gains: 54% demonstrated reading proficiency and 60% math proficiency. Similarly, the 2004 CTBS scores for second graders were on par with some of the highest-performing schools in Montgomery County, showing increases of 26% to 70%.
During restructuring, the demographics of the student population remained substantially the same. The children at Broad Acres Elementary School came from all over the world, representing 31 countries and speaking 28 languages. The student population was:
23% African, West Indian, or African American
While over 25% of the students received English Language Learner support, it is estimated that over 75% of our families spoke a language other than English in their homes. The mobility rate was about 30% and almost 90% of the students received free and reduced-price meals. While demographics did not change during restructuring, the students at Broad Acres learned at consistently higher levels and sustained this achievement throughout the period.