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Better IDEA

The goal of IDEA Academy schools is to set up students for success in our rigorous College Prep environment beginning in 6th grade. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, IDEA Public Schools is launching a comprehensive restructuring of the elementary school program, a new academic program we call, BetterIDEA.


BetterIDEA is made up of two components: The new core curriculum and the hybrid-learning component for individualized learning for all students.

New Core Curriculum

Direct Instruction (DI) powers IDEA’s new core curriculum. It is a model that emphasizes carefully-planned lessons focused on learning in small increments and 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.  

Under DI, Students will be placed in flexible, homogeneous groups in reading, language and math. Students are expected to score 90% or higher on daily and weekly assessments. Skills are taught and scaffolded along the way so that 85% of each lesson reviews previously taught skills and 15% of instruction is introducing new skills.  Students advance through the program only once 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 5 to 10 lessons and their progress is meticulously tracked by the teacher.

Individualized Learning for All Students

Individualized Learning is made up of the a computer-assisted math lab and an independent reading lab.

iLearning Hotspot

The iLearning Hotspot will consist of a one to one ratio of student to computer. Students will be working on adaptive math software in the this space. Kinder through 2nd grade students will be using Dream Box math software while 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students will be using Reasoning Minds and 6th and 7th grade students at Edinburg, Weslaco, McAllen, Brownsville, Pharr, and Allan will be using ST Math. The software is adaptive; the program uses algorithms to develop the learning path for each individual student. The learning lab manager will monitor students and analyze data to determine students' success and areas of need. Data culled from the software will help drive interventions in the math classroom, as it provides teachers with information of students' strengths and weaknesses.

Accelerated Reading Zone

The more time a student spends actively reading a book at his or her level, the better reader he or she becomes. The purpose of the reading lab is to provide students with ample time to complete independent reading at their reading level. In the Accelerated Reading Zone, students will choose from a selection of books. They will read the in the lab and take software-based Accelerated Reader exams. The reading lab manager will help students set goals around their reading level; teachers will determine the percentage of questions students should be answering correctly on AR exams and the quantity of reading they should have completed by a specified time. The students will be competing around each of those metrics as individuals and as a class, with the ultimate goal of increasing reading levels.