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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Mesquite Elementary School

Grades 3-5 | Tucson, AZ

Reteach and Enrich: How to Make Time for Every Student

See step-by-step how this Arizona elementary school gives its students the additional time they need to master core concepts and elevate their learning to the next level. Learn more about Reteach and Enrich.
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Reteach and Enrich: How to Make Time for Every Student (Transcript)

Calvin Baker: Most of us grew up, classic American education, you know. You can go through a unit where these was math, social studies or English, and at the end of the unit, you had a test. Then you moved onto the next unit, because you had to get through all the chapters by the end of the school year. And some kids would do well, some wouldn't. Some kids got good grades and some didn't.

Katie Dabney: In the past, we would just move on to the next chapter in the book, and sorry if you didn't get that. Maybe at the end of the year review, we'll try and touch on that. We wanted to get away from that practice. We made sure that we had a time in the day where if students did not master the skill that was previously taught, we gave them time to master that.

Lindsey Flora: So these formatives are a way of assessing everything that you have learned about prime and composite numbers.

Crystal Deryke: So we're gonna go ahead and get up our math offices. Put your first, last name on this test.

Nancy Varela: Is this a test that you have to take really fast?

Everybody: No.

Katie Dabney: What we do is we teach an objective, and that objective is calendared out for us. And at the end of teaching that objective, we would give a formative assessment, which is usually on Friday. Objectives usually last about a week. And based on the results of that formative assessment, we know if students have mastered that concept or if they have not mastered that. Then what teachers do is, they get together as a grade level and they look at their formatives, and they look at what students mastered that formative and which didn't, and they divide students into the reteach group and into the enrich group.

Nancy Varela: And so how many reteaches are you looking at?

Lindsey Flora: I'm looking at five I reteach, yep.

Nancy Varela: Crystal, do you have your number yet?

Crystal Deryke: Yes, nine.

Nancy Varela: Matt, what were your numbers?

Matt Hough: Eight.

Katie Dabney: One of the things that we found through our experience with reteach and enrich is that the teacher who had a very good turnout on that formative assessment, they did something right in that classroom. They did something right with their instruction on that objective.

Lindsey Flora: Is it safe to say a composite number is a number that has more than two factors?

Everybody: Yes.

Lindsey Flora: Very good. All right, that's what we're gonna write down.

Katie Dabney: So we felt that that teacher would be the most appropriate person to teach the reteach group.

Nancy Varela: I think they just need a little more time on this is what it looks like.

Lindsey Flora: Exactly. Well, I'm open to doing reteach for prime and composite.

Nancy Varela: What about what you've got planned, Matt? You had some enrichments planned, didn't you?

Matt Hough: Yeah, I did. I put three enrich programs together and three activities. I took what you had and I took what you had, and I took a sample on Marilyn Burns, and I just kinda read all three of them and I redid them on my board, on one of the poster boards. And I wrote it in like a child friendly version of it.

Cheryl Deryke: Of the divisibility rules?

Matt Hough: Yeah. And I gave an example underneath each one.

Nancy Varela: All right. So are we all set? Everybody feel comfy?

Lindsey Flora: Sounds good to me.

Cheryl Deryke: Yeah, I think so.

Katie Dabney: That following week, every day, Monday through Friday, from twelve thirty to one o'clock, we have reteach and enrich going on school wide. So the teachers that are teaching reteach, they have that reteach group and they stay with that group of students for that entire week. The enrichment students, they're split up and they would rotate between all of the other teachers in that grade level.

Lindsey Flora: Today in reteach, we're going to be going over prime and composite numbers.

Erica: I think reteach is kind of nice because if you don’t understand something, you won't go on until you understand it, so you won't be confused with anything else, and the teachers do help you. I realize that it's not really bad. It's just that you just need a little bit more help with it.

Matt Hough: You guys did really well on your formative last week and so today's your chance to do an enrichment portion. I really wanna challenge you. I'm giving you that option. Do you wanna do prime and composite, zero to a hundred, or do you wanna try prime and composite, zero to two hundred, using those digits? With a thumbs up, how many of you guys wanna do a hundred to two hundred? All right. I'm gonna go for the two hundred too and I'll help you out and I'll help you out as well.

Katie Dabney: We knew that it worked because the very year that we took our AIMs or our standardized test, our school became an excelling school. Our achievement is the highest in the state of Arizona, so that's something that we're very proud of.

Calvin Baker: When we hold students accountable for very specific standards, and we expect all of them to know that standard, then we hold ourselves accountable for getting that job done. And that is a very significant shift from simply saying, 'You know what, I made it all the way through the textbook.'

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Video Credits


  • Zachary Fink


  • Mariko Nobori


  • Daniel Jarvis

Associate Producer

  • Doug Keely


  • Cameron Trejo
  • Zachary Fink

Production Assistant and Audio

  • Jason Canfield

Video Programming Producer

  • Amy Erin Borovoy

Executive Producer

  • David Markus

Comments (31)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Melissa Essinger's picture
Melissa Essinger
Research Associate at Edutopia

Hi Josue! As you correctly pointed out, R&E is a riff on differentiated instruction, paired with careful teacher collaboration and data driven reform. There is extensive research backing all three of these practices in various educational environments, but I will try to pull together some good starting points from our materials here at Edutopia:

A good start might be to check out some schools that have similar practices on our Schools that Work Series. I would recommend looking at the Academic Leagues at Edwards Middle School in Boston, MA, and the differentiated instruction at Mt. Desert Elementary in North Harbor, ME

Additionally, ASCD has a set of resources on a similar program called Response to Intervention (RTI) that may be helpful: . A study by Burns, Appleton, and Stehouwer (2005) examines this program specifically

In the case of Mesquite Elementary, teacher collaboration and planning plays a big part in the success of their R&E program. For this reason, you may want to also check out our research review of Teacher Development and Leadership for some theoretical background

Another important factor to Mesquite's success is data-driven assessment and reform. Two articles to start you off are:
Slavin et al. (2012)
Carlson, Borman, and Robinson (2011)

Finally, there is a body of research about differentiated instruction in general. Below are some articles to get you started:
1) Reis, S. M., McCoach, D. B., Little, C. A., et al (2011). The Effects of Differentiated Instruction and Enrichment Pedagogy on Reading Achievement in Five Elementary SchoolsAmerican Educational Research Journal, 48( 2), 462-501.
2) Chamberlain, M. & Powers, R. (2010). The promise of differentiated instruction for enhancing the mathematical understandings of college students. Teaching Mathematics & Its Applications, 29, 113-139.
3) Beecher, M., & Sweeny, S. (2008). Closing the achievement gap with curriculum enrichment and differentiation: One school's story. Journal of Advanced Academics, 19(3), 502-530.
4) McAdamis, S. (2001). Teachers tailor their instruction to meet a variety of student needs. Journal of Staff Development, 22(2), 1-5.
5) Lou, Y., P. Abrami, et al. (1996). "Within-class grouping: A meta-analysis." Review of Educational Research, 66, 423-428.
6) Lovelace, M. K. (2005). Meta-Analysis of Experimental Research Based on the Dunn and Dunn Model, The Journal of Educational Research, 98(3), 176 - 183.
7) Tomlinson, Carol Ann, et al. "Differentiating instruction in response to student readiness, interest, and learning profile in academically diverse classrooms: A review of literature." Journal for the Education of the Gifted 27.2/3 (2003): 119-145.

Hope this helps and good luck on your Master's thesis!

Josue Naranjo's picture
Josue Naranjo
Head of English Deaprtment and IB Coordinator at UENS

Hi Melissa, I have to admit your response so much exceeded my expectations! So, the least I can do is making it happen. We have put together an implementation team so we will start on the second week of October and see the final results on February. We will let you know how it worked for us all along with different laws, adaptations and cultural contexts...

Thank you so much for the orientation!


Melissa Essinger's picture
Melissa Essinger
Research Associate at Edutopia

Hello Josue, you are so welcome! I am glad we were able to help! We are definitely interested in hearing how your implementation turns out. It is always helpful to get real world feedback on applying these practices in different contexts. Keep us posted and we will look forward to hearing more about your process and results!

Best of luck to you and your team!

kim Lipthrott's picture
kim Lipthrott
Curriculum Resource Teacher from Florida

Love this strategy but can't quite figure how to make it work in middle school. 3 subject teachers per grade level. 3 gr 6 math, gr 7 and 8 the same. Really want to try this as math is a huge problem for us. All school has morning 8:45-9:45 in home room type class with one of their team teachers and that time during the 9 weeks is spent on that teachers subject area. Your method is more focused and hits immediate needs of students.

LindzyT's picture
First grade teacher from Marion, Ohio

I didn't read through all the comments so I don't know if this was addressed or asked so I apologize if this is a repeat question. I really like this idea and was wondering after the week of reteach is there another assessment given? Is it the same assessment that was given previously or is is changed? And finally, if after that week of reteach students have still not mastered the skill what do you do? Is there more reteach?

Mariko Nobori's picture
Mariko Nobori
Former Managing Editor and Producer, Edutopia

Hi LindzyT - Great questions. If I recall correctly (our visit to Mesquite was a few years back), instruction is differentiated for reteach, and I believe the assessment is different as well. However, I'll reach out to their principal for confirmation on that, and will also ask about what happens if a student has not mastered a skill after the week of reteach. Stay tuned...

Lisa's picture

I was wondering if anyone has used the R&E within the elementary classroom (for small schools with only one class/one teacher per grade?) Any suggestions for creative

Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture
Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)
Senior Manager of Video Programming, Production, & Curation at Edutopia

Lisa -- great question, thank you! There are lots of teachers out there in very small schools like yours, and it certainly makes collaboration across classrooms more challenging.

Just off the top of my head, I would suggest partnering up with the grade above or below you to try a model similar to the one seen in the video, or if you have teaching aides or parent volunteers, you could do this on a much smaller scale with small groups of students within your own classroom, although you'd either need very skilled helpers or activities that can be done pretty independently, which could be harder with younger kids.

You can always pose this same question to our Elementary School group ( -- start a new discussion, include a link to this video, and see if we can get some other teachers to chime in.

Best of luck to you!

Jo's picture

I would like to know how you handle having R and E for multiple subjects? For instance, how do you reteach daily ... for math, English and science (our three core tested subjects).

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