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Turning To Success with Courseware and Test Packs in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Turning To Success with Courseware and Test Packs in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dawn Bowles, the principal at Millwood High School (MHS), a part of Millwood Public Schools in Oklahoma City, to learn about the tremendous gains her students made over the 2019–20 school year. We chatted through a video meeting, which has become a widespread way to connect with others amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a refreshing conversation that allowed for smiles of recognition, a few laughs, and a lot of enthusiasm. In this post, learn how Ms. Bowles, her staff, and students achieved outstanding academic growth and seamlessly pivoted to virtual learning when their school had to close in the spring. Incorporated are a few clips from the interview so that you can experience Ms. Bowles' passion for yourself.

Identifying the Challenge

MHS began the 2019–20 school year with an F rating from the state of Oklahoma. Ms. Bowles, who was previously the district improvement teacher coordinator and an experienced turnaround specialist, transitioned into her new role as MHS’ principal with one specific goal in mind.

“I had one goal and one goal only, and that was that we would not be an F school by the time I finished,” specified Ms. Bowles.

Ms. Bowles and the school’s hard-working faculty developed a plan to fully utilize Courseware and Test Packs from Edmentum. Ms. Bowles goes into further detail in the following clip. 


Cultivating a Plan and Seeing Improvement

The next step on the path to school improvement was to implement growth goals for each student to work toward. Watch as the following clip to see Ms. Bowles describe how the goals were implemented and what progress students made toward them.

“Just because you have the label ‘F’ doesn’t mean that you’re a failure by any means, nor does a grade bring into a full picture of who you really are,” Ms. Bowles explained.


Taking Charge of Accountability Through the SAT Test

The state of Oklahoma requires high school students to take the ACT or SAT test as one of their end-of-year assessments. MHS made the switch from the ACT to the SAT test and implemented a plan to assess students earlier and more often in their high school academic careers. Watch the following video to hear Ms. Bowles explain the process of switching to the SAT test and becoming an SAT testing site and describe how those actions benefited MHS students

Ms. Bowles reported, “We didn’t have to go and find a university, find a testing center, worry about transportation for students who didn’t have transportation or busing issues. We could service the students and anyone else who wanted to take the test.”


Seamless Transitioning to Virtual Learning

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic with the subsequent school closures brought about many unknowns to the education world. Fortunately for MHS, the school had already implemented a blended learning approach. In the following clip, Ms. Bowles explains the techniques the school implemented before the pandemic and tells how it made an easier transition for both teachers and students.

“I was not stressed, worried, [or] concerned one bit because I knew [we] had everything [we] needed, and it was such a relief because we didn't have to learn anything new as far as delivery or platform,” Ms. Bowles said.


Partnering with Edmentum

When describing her experience with Edmentum’s education consulting staff, Ms. Bowles lit up with enthusiasm. I was filled with delight as Ms. Bowles spoke about the passionate work that my fellow Edmentum coworkers accomplished while they worked side by side with the MHS faculty to help develop plans aligned with the school’s goals.

The gusto and validation from Ms. Bowles gave me even more pride in being a part of Edmentum’s Educator First mission. Check out the following video to hear how MHS utilized Edmentum consulting services to further implement the school’s plans.

Ms. Bowles recommended, “If you're looking for a company who offers not only a great product online but also wonderful, personable, skilled, knowledgeable, and passionate people, then you're also wanting to choose Edmentum because I found all of those things through not just working with the program but partnering with the mission of Edmentum, and that is to educate and to empower and to bring excellence to any academic environment possible.”


Reflecting on Success and Planning for What’s Next

By midyear, MHS was no longer on the F list, and nearly half of its students had met or exceeded their growth targets. Additionally, MHS achieved its graduation rate goal of 100 percent for the 2019–20 school year.

According to Ms. Bowles, multiple factors contributed to the school’s success, including her wonderful staff members’ belief in the instructional program, the products, and the process. Ms. Bowles also expressed immense gratitude for a supportive board of education and the guidance and leadership of Superintendent Cecilia Robinson-Woods.

As the school adjusts to the climate of the new educational landscape, Ms. Bowles and the MHS faculty look toward the future equipped with data-driven instruction and continue to consider ideas outside of the traditional educational setting.

Interested in more success stories from our partners? Take a look at how Ellicott Elementary School in Calhan, Colorado, is meeting students where they are academically—both within the walls of the brick-and-mortar classroom and at home in the wake of recent school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Debbie Crawford

Debbie Crawford joined the Edmentum team in 2019. With ten years of experience in marketing and fundraising, she has established a reputation as a creative problem-solver with an upbeat "let's get it done" attitude. She grew up in a rural Texas town and was the first in her family to attend college, which ignited her passion for education and for educators who do everything possible to inspire students to keep learning.