Article of title
to the beginning
By Stuart Udell
W

elcome to the beginning of what may be the most important school year of our lives. For if last year was the most challenging, then the way we actually bounce back and comport ourselves will decide if last year was a learning experience making us better, or a multi-year burden ultimately impacting a generation of learners.

Student with a mask on looking at his phone
I vote for the former.

Last year was every bit a learning experience, compelling us to set aside our preconceptions of what education looks like and discover the innate gifts that dwell inside each of us – our school leaders, teachers, students and parents. We applied those gifts in a myriad of ways, stepping far past our comfort zones to truly find the essence of learning in a world with a new set of rules and tools. In every sense, we kept the wheat and stripped away the chaff, and our students are now poised to eclipse expectations and finish stronger than ever.

I have never been more proud to have a career within the education sector, and likewise have never been more proud of the women and men that call Achieve3000 home.

In June of 2021, MetaMetrics completed the National Lexile Study – Impact of Achieve3000 Literacy Usage on Student Reading Growth, 2020/2021 School Year. According to Malbert Smith, president and cofounder of MetaMetrics, an educational measurement and research organization dedicated to bringing meaning to measurement in education and, specifically, to developing scientific measures of student achievement, “When I think of Achieve3000 Literacy, a few words come to mind. Differentiation is one. Acceleration is another. Culturally relevant content is three more. Achieve3000 was an EdTech before we even called them that. For more than 21 years, they’ve been finding better ways to use technology to increase engagement and accelerate learning growth for students everywhere.

Fist pumping
In June of 2021, MetaMetrics completed the National Lexile Study – Impact of Achieve3000 Literacy Usage on Student Reading Growth, 2020/2021 School Year.
“This National Lexile Study is a snapshot of how well they were able to do that in 2020-21,” said Smith. “It’s been a challenging time in education. No one saw the pandemic coming. It forced schools and districts to adapt very quickly to a ‘new normal.’ It wasn’t easy for anybody. Kids had meltdowns. Parents expressed their frustration in viral videos. And educators took a deep breath and overcame incredible challenges to move forward.

“Despite all of the challenges, a funny thing happened: kids continued to read and learn and grow. And kids who had access to online learning solutions like Achieve3000 Literacy did even better. They read. They learned. And they grew like crazy. I’m not going to get into the actual data, but what I can tell you is that year after year, studies like this tell us one thing: Achieve3000 Literacy really works.”

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Despite all of the challenges, a funny thing happened: kids continued to read and learn and grow. And kids who had access to online learning solutions like Achieve3000 Literacy did even better.
This is very high praise from Dr. Smith, particularly in a time when this type of success among learners was said to be unlikely, and worse, probably not possible. It speaks volumes about the teachers who use Achieve3000, and perhaps even more about our learners. In a time when reasons for failure were freely available, they dug in deep and continued to succeed.

We’ll share highlights of the National Lexile Study in this issue of Achieve Magazine, and the entire study is available to you on our web site as well. The findings were even better than expected and learners at all levels not only survived the effects of the pandemic, but they thrived academically.

This issue concludes the first year of Achieve Magazine. How did we do? If you love it, let us know. If you would like to see yourself or your colleagues included, please let us know that as well. And finally, if you have ideas how we could serve you better, feel free to contact me personally. You can reach me by email at stuart.udell@achieve3000.com. Have a wonderful school year, and welcome to what promises to be the most important year of our professional lives.

About the author

Stuart Udell currently serves as CEO of Achieve3000, a comprehensive suite of digital solutions that significantly accelerate literacy growth and deepen learning across the content areas. Prior, he served in CEO roles at K12, Catapult Learning, and Penn Foster, as well as president roles at Renaissance Learning, Kaplan, and the Princeton Review. Stuart currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Bill Daggett’s Successful Practices Network, the Learning 2025 National Commission, School of the Future, USA Test Prep, and Ventris Learning. He received the Education Warrior Award from the I Have a Dream Foundation, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Dropout Prevention Center, and is a member of his High School Hall of Fame. Stuart holds a master’s from Columbia University and a bachelor’s from Bucknell University.