Val Verde Unified School District’s under performing students in grades 6-12 had not shown sufficient growth in academic performance with existing remedial programs. Over 65% of student subgroups (English-only struggling
readers, English language learners, and special education students) from this California district’s middle and high schools routinely scored below the “Proficient” level in English/Language Arts (ELA) on state standardized assessments.

Ms. Lee, then Val Verde’s Secondary Literacy Coordinator, and her team sought a consistent and data-driven intervention curriculum for all students reading two or more years below grade level. Dr. Pospichal, March Middle School Principal and team member, knew that, “Grades 6–12 provide an important last opportunity to break the cycle of failure for students reading far below level.”


Inside Language, Literacy, and Content and Hampton-Brown Edge™ were selected as the core intervention reading/language arts programs for middle and high school students reading two years below grade level. Ms. Lee noted, “Inside and Edge provided seamless standards-based instruction for grades 6–12 that aligned with our curriculum yet also provided age-appropriate scaffolded support and systematic remediation.” The team liked how the programs’ ongoing assessment data enabled teachers to monitor student progress and target specific skills. Val Verde reworked the master schedules to allow daily double-block (90 minutes) intervention classes that met ELA credit requirements. Students were placed into classes by reading ability, regardless of their subgroup classification.
Ms. Lee explained, “Inside and Edge provided sustained opportunities for targeted remediation in addition to covering the on-grade ELA (and English Language Development, as appropriate) Standards.” School teams met regularly to monitor students’ progress using multiple data sources, adjust placement, and assign classes for the following school year. The Inside/Edge Placement Test, which yields a Lexile® measure, was given annually. Dr. Pospichal noted, “Students played a role, too—knowing the cut scores needed to advance to the next Inside or Edge level, or to exit intervention, motivated students to succeed.”


Inside and Edge helped motivate adolescents across subgroups to make substantial progress in reading. In 2010, most district middle and high schools exceeded targets set for the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) rankings.
Schools exceeding the growth target for all student subgroups included March Middle School, surpassing the API target by 13 points (target = 5, growth = 18), and Rancho Verde High School, surpassing the API target by 12 points (target = 5, growth = 17).

Dr. Pospichal noted, “When adolescents experience success and know they are headed toward on-level reading, and when teachers feel successful with students who have long-struggled with learning and motivation, it is very powerful for the entire school culture.”

Val Verde has experienced a paradigm shift in how under performing students in grades 6–12 are considered, served, and supported as they work to improve their reading skills. Ms. Lee explained, “Implementing Inside and Edge as a district wide ELA intervention solution ensures seamless remedial support so more students can move toward grade level proficiency.”



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