SAN GABRIEL, CA – Roosevelt Elementary students improved their performance on California’s English language arts (ELA) and mathematics tests in 2018, continuing a three-year upward trend attributed in part to the school’s Music Immersion Experience (MIE) program.

Formed in 2015, the MIE program enhances student learning and achievement through music education. San Gabriel Unified launched the program after bring inspired by El Sistema programs throughout the country, as well as recent Northwestern University research that discovered a positive link between music education and lifelong academic success.

“Music has a way of energizing an entire campus community, which in turn helps students thrive in many ways,” MIE Coordinator Samantha Theisen said. “They can practice empathy, patience, tenacity and make meaning of sound in music class, strengthening their learning. Roosevelt has amazing students and staff, great leadership and strong District support – all the elements that can help a program like MIE be successful.”

In 2017-18, 43 percent of Roosevelt students across all tested grades met or exceeded standards in ELA, up 27 percentage points from 2014-15. Last year, 33 percent of Roosevelt students also met or exceeded math standards – an increase of 15 percentage points over 2015-16 and its highest achievement levels in four years.

Roosevelt also saw improved performance among its English learners, among socioeconomically disadvantaged (SED), and their Special Education students in 2018.

Nearly 40 percent of SED students met or exceeded ELA standards in 2018, up approximately 22 percentage points from 2015. SED students also improved steadily in math by nearly 13 percentage points over three years; in 2018, nearly 32 percent of SED students met or exceeded math standards.

English learners who have been reclassified as Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) achieved their highest achievement levels in four years – 64 percent met/exceeded math standards in 2018, while 79 percent met/exceeded ELA standards.

MIE extends the school day to accommodate daily fundamental music lessons for all students and more than a dozen elective courses for second- through fifth-graders.

In addition to implementing the MIE program, Roosevelt has also worked to boost academic achievement by implementing a 1:1 student-to-tech-device ratio, providing reading and math interventions, designating direct instructions in English Language Development and addressing students’ social emotional health through mindfulness and positive behavior interventions.

“We are very proud of the growth our students are making,” Roosevelt Principal Cheryl Labanaro Wilson said. “The entire faculty and staff at Roosevelt have worked together to build a culture of support and inclusion for all students. Our common goal is to maximize our students’ potential, talents, and creativity, within a nurturing environment.”

Developed by the multi-state Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the computer-adaptive tests are the centerpiece of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP).

The tests are administered to students in grades three through eight and grade 11; they are aligned with California Standards adopted in 2010 and required in school instruction as of 2014-15. The standards challenge students to apply the knowledge and skills they are learning in the classroom, including writing, critical thinking and problem-solving.

“Music is a vital component of a well-rounded education, and we are thrilled to see our students thriving in a comprehensive music immersion program aligned with core national education standards,” SGUSD Superintendent Dr. John Pappalardo said. “Thank you to the outstanding teachers and staff who continue to support our students and encourage them to reach new academic heights.”


SANGAB_ROOSEVELT: Supported by an award-winning music immersion program, Roosevelt Elementary students improved their performance on California’s English language arts and mathematics standardized tests for the third year in a row.