How Lowndes County Schools achieved incredible gains

The Lowndes County School District in Mississippi worked with aha! Process from 2005 to 2015 to implement Advance: School Improvement. Teachers have been trained in A Framework for Understanding Poverty and Research-Based Strategies. In addition, through academic coaching, all teachers were trained on the nine processes and classroom applications that comprise Advance. In the academic coaching sessions, aha! Process consultants worked with teachers in small group sessions to embed the Advance processes.

Both West Lowndes Elementary (WLE) and West Lowndes Middle (WLM) have both seen tremendous growth in improved test scores and student achievement, including big gains for economically disadvantaged students. Some of the data are highlighted below:

  • In the two years that WLE has been working with aha! Process, the percentage of third grade students scoring Proficient or Advanced in language arts achievement on the Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition (MCT2) has increased a total of 26.1%. Fourth grade has increased 35.7%, and fifth grade has increased 3.6%.
  • Third, fourth, and fifth grade students at WLE have increased mathematics achievement on the MCT2 as well. 50% of third grade students scored Proficient or Advanced in 2009, compared with 81.5% in 2011, an increase of 31.5%. Similarly, fourth-grade students scoring Proficient or Advanced increased from 34.3% to 75% (40.7% increase), and fifth-grade students increased from 47.5% to 64.1% (16.6% increase).
  • Over a four-year period from 2008–2011, seventh grade students at WLM achieved a 14.4% increase in MCT2 language arts scores. In 2008, 31.1% of seventh-grade students scored Proficient or Advanced on the MCT2. In 2011, 45% of seventh-grade students scored Proficient or Advanced.
  • Over a seven-year period from 2005–2011, seventh grade students at WLM achieved a 34.9% increase in MCT2 mathematics scores. In 2005, 27.6% of seventh grade students scored Proficient or Advanced on the MCT2. In 2011, 62.5% of seventh grade students scored Proficient or Advanced.

For information on the increases among economically disadvantaged students and the comparisons to the control group, please check out the full report on the data from West Lowndes.

aha! Process provides unique expertise on the needs of disadvantaged students and has a proven track record of helping educators clearly understand the complexities of poverty so they can help all students achieve. These two workshops will give teachers practical strategies for working with low-SES students.

If you have questions or would like to speak to someone about professional development to improve academic outcomes by building resources for students of all economic classes, email us at or call (800) 424-9484.

A Framework for Understanding Poverty: 10 Actions to Educate Students

Grades: K -12

Audience: Administrators, Faculty & Staff

Explore class differences and 10 actions you can implement in the classroom to improve the success of low-SES students. This workshop is based on Ruby Payne’s book A Framework for Understanding Poverty.



Research-Based Strategies

Grades: K-12

Audience: Administrators, Faculty & Staff

Better serve under-resourced students with techniques that help you narrow and then close the achievement gap. Reduce planning time, improve effectiveness, and develop more immediate, reliable intervention strategies.