In order to achieve this ambitious goal, IDEA Public Schools has restructured the elementary school program into a new academic program called BetterIDEA.
BetterIDEA is made up of two components: the new core curriculum and the hybrid-learning component that provides individualized learning for all students.
Direct Instruction (DI) powers IDEA’s new core curriculum. DI is a model that emphasizes carefully-planned lessons focused on learning in small increments. It also focuses instruction around clearly-defined teaching tasks. DI is based on the theory that by using clear instruction and teaching to mastery, teachers can accelerate learning for all students – high performers as well students with learning disabilities.
Using the DI approach, students are placed in flexible, homogeneous groups for reading, language, and math. Students are expected to score 90% or higher on daily and weekly assessments. Skills are taught in a way that builds upon previous learning; 85% of each lesson reviews or applies previously taught skills and 15% of instruction is introducing new skills. Students advance through the program only after they have demonstrated mastery of the concepts. Students who show exceptional progress can fast-cycle through lessons if they show continued mastery of concepts. Students are individually assessed every five to 10 lessons, and their progress is meticulously tracked by the teacher.
The hybrid-learning component of our BetterIDEA program consists of two elements focused on delivering a rigorous individualized learning experience for each student: