The ELL students at Anne Sullivan Elementary School are scoring higher than their peers in the district and throughout the state of South Dakota. What is making the difference? A combination of intervention strategies, data visualization, and a singular focus on building relationships between educators and students.

The mindset of leadership and staff focuses on students as individuals and their specific, unique learning needs. Because of their focus on tracking data and making it visible, teachers are able to focus on the needs and progress of each specific student in terms of their learning and tailor lessons accordingly. Letting students see their own progress on data walls also helped them track their own growth.

One major takeaway? Using relationships and a growth mindset to meet students where they are and bring them across barriers like language. This could mean hand gestures and visual cues instead of verbal instructions, or differentiating instruction and providing words of encouragement for every student as they progress through class assignments. With an emphasis on building mindset and relationships in the classroom, teachers at Anne Sullivan can adapt lessons and meet students where they are. The end result? A recipe for success for the school's students.

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