Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom at Mesquite Elementary School

>>My name is Connie. I was the founding principle
of Mesquite Elementary. I began my teaching career here
in Vail at Acacia Elementary and I was there for about four years. I thought oh if I could do my
dream school what would I do? And then when I was asked to be the
planning principal for this school and help plan it I was thinking,
you know, what can we do different? What can we do to really
help children? And then as we went into our
second and third year, you know, the state testing became
more and more and more. When the test scores came in
we just, you know, were really, really devastated to see
that say for instance that fifth grade I remember we were like in the thirty-ninth
percentile in math. You know, you think you’re teaching
and that you’re doing a good job, but then when we see that we knew
that something had to change.>>Katie: Well let’s go
ahead and get started. In the enrichment strategies,
of course Jen, it’s going to play an
important part with that.>>Connie: We just started, you
know, talking here as a team and we came up with a plan. We were going to start
implementing Reteach and Enrich in the second semester
which we did do.>>When the new system came and
we started all collaborating, the tracks were gone, the
collaboration was occurring, the sharing of ideas, so there has
been this great collaboration piece where we all really help each other.>>The staff came together. We were able to design the
Reteach and Enrich program and it was just amazing
what happened.>>So these formatives are a
way of assessing everything that you have learned about
prime and composite numbers.>>We wanted to give students an
opportunity to be retaught skills that they did not learn, so
what we did is we made sure that we had a time in the day where
if students did not master the skill that was previously taught, we
gave them time to master that.>>Connie: And the math scores jumped
tremendously when we got them back after that aims test and we went from a performing school
to an excelling school. It was the key to moving us up. The leadership in Vail, you know,
starts out with people like Katie.>>Katie: Connie was my mentor. I worked for her as a teacher
and really kind of followed in the footsteps of what
Connie started at Mesquite and have just expanded upon that. I’m Katie. I’m the principal of
Mesquite Elementary in the Vail School
District in Tucson, Arizona.>>Calvin: Connie was promoted and
Katie’s name popped to the surface because leadership is not
something that comes with the title. Leadership is enhanced with a title.>>Katie: We’re a team in
the Vail School District, and just as our teachers collaborate
and work together and share ideas, we do that at a district level. I really believe that it’s exciting
to be a part of something successful. And I can go home every
night and know that we have positively
impacted the life of a child, and that what we’re doing, we’re
doing the best that we can for kids and so that helps me
go to sleep at night but it’s also what gets
me up in the morning.


  1. Here's another example of differentiated reading instruction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvgXjA1hSCE

  2. What I took away from this video, is that DI is not supposed to be completed all at once. Focusing on concentrating on 3 or 4 low preparation items and selecting one high quality item per marking period, will assist me in creating a DI classroom.

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