Marysville School District — Marysville, Michigan

Marysville Achieves Dramatic Gains in Early Literacy
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“Literacy is the foundation for learning. I have no doubt that our students’ use of Lexia Core5 Reading helped to dramatically improve our state ranking scores.”
- Dr. Shawn K. Wightman, Superintendent, Marysville School District


Faced with a student population with varying levels of literacy skills, Marysville elementary schools needed a program that would easily identify skill gaps and provide real-time progress monitoring to guide and support differentiated and personalized instruction.


To help address this challenge, Superintendent, Dr. Shawn K. Wightman, selected Lexia® Core5® Reading, a research-proven, technology-based program for grades pre-K–5 that systematically builds early literacy skills for students of all abilities and accelerates learning to help close the gap for struggling students. Using Core5, Marysville teachers prioritize and plan instruction based on the program’s ability to both predict students’ year-end performance and prescribe the amount of instructional intensity required to improve the likelihood of reaching end-of-year benchmark. 

While their on-target students work independently online at their own pace, teachers support their struggling readers using Lexia’s multisensory, offline lessons and activities. Once a student has mastered a skill online, the teacher assigns the offline Lexia Skill Builders® to increase automaticity and expand expressive skills. Both the teachers and principals in Marysville track student progress in real time, catching skill gaps as they emerge and adjusting their instruction accordingly. 


Lexia conducted an analysis1 that found dramatic results for Marysville School District in both Core5 and with Michigan’s M-STEP assessment. The analysis identified a strong relationship between reaching benchmark in Core5 and proficiency in M-STEP. To be more specific, at the start of the 2015-2016 school year, only 36% of students were working on Core5 material in or above their grade level. That number significantly increased to 88% by the end of the school year with 71% of students having reached their end-of-year benchmark (see Figure 1).

Marysville principals and teachers value the impact Core5’s progress monitoring data has had on their success with M-STEP. “Knowing there’s a strong correlation between M-STEP and Core5, we can rely on Lexia’s progress monitoring data provided. For the first time, we had the ability to adjust our instruction based on real-time progress monitoring,” stated Kathleen Quain, Principal, Morton Elementary. The ability of Marysville teachers to provide differentiated instruction based on their students’ specific needs resulted in more than improved grades. “We love seeing how the data reveals growth, but even more meaningful is how our kids have become not only stronger readers, but more confident students,” commented Jennie Leishman, Principal, Washington Elementary.


Impact on Michigan's Top-to-Bottom School Rankings

Michigan’s Top-to-Bottom rankings measure a school’s performance across English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. Marysville’s superintendent credits Core5 with impacting his schools’ performance overall. “Literacy is the foundation for learning. I have no doubt that our students’ use of Lexia Core5 Reading helped to dramatically improve our state ranking scores,” stated Wightman. Morton Elementary was named a Reward School by the state for “Beating the Odds” by outperforming the school’s predicted ranking. They saw their state ranking scores shoot up to the 87th percentile in 2015-2016 from the 50th percentile in 2013-2014.2  Gardens Elementary also became a Reward School, skyrocketing from the 82nd to the 95th percentile, placing them in the top 5% of schools in Michigan.3  These results were unprecedented. As Wightman stated, “This has never happened before in Marysville!”  


The Importance of Leadership Support

An important aspect of Marysville’s success with student literacy gains has been Dr. Wightman’s commitment and support of the Core5 program. Along with setting goals and expectations of 100% usage of Core5, he holds his schools accountable. Wightman communicates regularly with his principals and teachers about their use of Core5 and helps them drill into the Core5 data. His approach builds instructional leadership skills for his principals and supports teachers who are having difficulty meeting these expectations. Dr. Wightman’s leadership and vision has given Marysville’s students, teachers and administrators the resources they need to effectively address early literacy.

As Principal Quain states, “If you want a program that will personalize learning, individualize instruction, and provide your teachers with data to drive their instruction, then Lexia Core5 Reading is for you.”

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