Liberty Point Elementary Excels During the Pandemic, Defying Online Learning Slide Trends
When the pandemic hit earlier this year, many schools, particularly those serving high percentages of Black, Latino, and Indigenous students, as well as children from low-income households, experienced declines in performance. But Liberty Point
Elementary School, led by Principal James Payne and his excellent faculty, countered that trend.
Liberty Point, a Title 1 school of 790 students in the Fulton County School District, was one of a select group of schools in low-income areas (198 out of 2,210) that experienced no decline in student success during the spring of 2020, according to a research brief by Curriculum Associates. The remarkable finding is supported by data from Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready system, which Liberty Point uses for online lessons and assessments. The system is used by 25 percent of U.S. students.
In this small but mighty cohort of 198 schools, on average 88 percent of students were
connected, and they completed an average of 34 lessons in about eight weeks of instruction.
The average lesson passing rate was 81 percent. None of the schools had a passing rate lower than 70 percent. The numbers were consistent with those before the pandemic hit.
In describing how Liberty Point achieved its success, Principal James Payne noted that the school ensured that all students had computers and internet access. Also, having used the i-Ready system before the pandemic, students were comfortable with online learning. He noted that human connection was a major driver in maintaining student performance.
“Staying in close contact with our students kept them engaged and monitoring their progress in the i-Ready system enabled teachers to help students quickly and efficiently,” said Payne.
Fourth-grade teacher Aja Frazier added: “Last year, one of my students struggled to understand place value concepts. This resulted in low confidence and poor achievement. Despite the pandemic, with i-Ready this student gained great confidence and started to participate in classroom discussions and improved two grade levels.”
While ensuring that all students can connect, engage and continue to learn is difficult these days, it is not insurmountable. Liberty Point proves that all students can succeed — and even thrive — during this national crisis.
Liberty Point Elementary is located in Zone 3 of Fulton County Schools, where Ron Maxwell is Zone Superintendent. Liberty Point’s overall academic performance is higher than 78 percent of schools in Georgia, according to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. James Payne is principal of the school, which serves 790 students. Its vision statement is to create successful, well-prepared students who perform at their individual best.