Students at W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy and Anson Jones Elementary School are sharpening their reading and writing skills through a new learning program.
Greiner and Jones Elementary are among a handful of Texas schools piloting the Amplify program, and campus leadership is already noticing gainful results.
The program’s main focus is to improve students’ reading comprehension and sharpen their written communication skills, said Greiner Principal Yvonne Rojas. The middle school has been implementing Amplify in two seventh-grade classes since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
“We’ve noticed that our students have gained a new understanding of descriptive writing and their vocabulary has expanded,” Rojas said. “Those who struggled writing a few sentences at the beginning of the year are now writing full-page papers. We’ve been able to measure our success in writing scores and have seen an improvement in their writing and thinking alike.”
Campus Coordinator Kristy Little and seventh-grade Reading and Language Arts teachers Shelley Kaufhold and Aaryn Jewell have spearheaded the implementation of Amplify at Greiner. On Tuesday, Dallas ISD leaders and representatives from the Texas Education Agency visited the campus to observe Kaufhold and Jewell’s classrooms during the school day. The leaders and TEA representatives also saw firsthand the great work happening at Anson Jones Elementary.
“The writing results have been unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Little said. “Many of these essays are as good as the ones from the eight-grade honors class, and it’s because of the way that Amplify scaffolds the reading and writing as two subjects that always go together.”
Ms. Kaufhold says one of Amplify’s main perks for teachers is the great educational content they offer. Since the material is suitable for students, teachers can spend more time diving deep into the material, and less time finding texts and figuring out what their next lesson will be.
“The curriculum provides you with all the tools you need to make the best lesson for your students and the best experience,” Kaufhold said. “It encourages students to write and to look at things very closely. It encourages the students to pay attention to detail, both when they’re reading and when they’re writing.”
For Jewell, Amplify is a useful tool that provides her easy access to teaching tools and offers a list of useful resources to her students, such as quest apps, vocab apps and storyboards.
“It’s a really good program that is teacher-friendly and student-friendly,” Jewell said. “It helps teachers give students the best experience they can, and it really helps the students engage with the material. Each time I start a new lesson, I am able to see exactly where they are and whether they’re getting the material correctly or whether I need to go back and work more on that lesson.”
Greiner student Kaiya Hudson believes that Amplify will help other students engage with reading and eventually inspire them to explore literature on their own.
“Reading was kind of boring to me when I was in sixth and seventh grade, and I’d get easily distracted or doze off,” she said. “But with Amplify, it makes you think as if you were the person who is telling the story. It makes you more engaged with the text and guides you to think deeper about ideas and perspectives that otherwise you wouldn’t consider.”