Innovation allows for positive change

Access to High-Quality Schools, Current Events & News | 03/04/2019

Wade Mitchell
Technology Manager for Matchbook Learning IPS #63

As the Technology Manager for Matchbook Learning IPS #63, I am partially responsible for analyzing testing data. While it is a bit early to have all data, the data I do have is promising and showing great successes at this neighborhood school. It’s important that you know that Matchbook doesn’t just look at these kids as a number. They are young people who we want to leave Matchbook highly educated, caught up or surpassing grade level and understanding how the world works.

At Matchbook we use iReady (a screening tool used to measure student growth and identify students who may need support) for assessment. It provides detailed feedback on student needs and options for instruction that will best assist them. When I look at data from the iReady testing and compare the beginning of this school year to now, I see kids at this school who started the year failing, rising in grade levels. I’ve witnessed the power of staff and teachers coming together to make each child a priority.

I’ve also seen discipline improve and attribute it to two things:

  1. Matchbook provides an atmosphere of consistency, trust and reason. We let the kids know we are there for them.
  2. We favor keeping kids in the building over out of school suspension. A restorative room with counselors and school social workers keeps kids in school.

The changes I see at Matchbook would not have happened for this school without an innovation restart. I think for schools that are failing the children of IPS, innovation restarts allow for massive positive change to take place, the kind of change we are already seeing at Matchbook. It would have been nearly impossible for 63 to improve and serve its students without a restart.

I’m witnessing the early successes of Matchbook and look forward to continuing that success as kids continue in the school. I am supportive of innovation schools and I would like to see failing schools throughout the district have the opportunity to be modeled after successful programs like Matchbook. 

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