Staff Report

Margate, Fla. – When the pandemic hit earlier this year, many schools, particularly those serving high percentages of Black, Latino, and Indigenous students, as well as children from underserved households, experienced declines in performance.

But Margate Elementary, led by Principal Thomas Schroeder and his faculty, countered that trend.

Margate Elementary, a Title 1 school in the Broward County Public Schools district, was one of a select group of schools in low-income areas (198 out of 2,210) that experienced no declines in student success during the spring of 2020, according to a research brief by Curriculum Associates.

The finding is supported by data from Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready system, which Margate Elementary uses for online lessons and assessments. The system is used by 25 percent of U.S. students.


In the cohort of 198 schools, on average 88 percent of students were connected, and they completed an average of 34 lessons in about eight weeks of instruction.

The average lesson passing rate was 81 percent. None of the schools had a passing rate lower than 70 percent. The numbers were consistent with those before the pandemic hit.

In describing how Margate Elementary achieved its success, Schroeder noted that human connection was a major driver in maintaining student performance.


He added that the school ensured that all students had computers, internet access, a variety of instructional supports, and, most importantly, daily interactions with teachers.

Also, having used the i-Ready system before the pandemic, students were comfortable with online learning.

“Maintaining close contact with our students kept them engaged and monitoring their progress in the i-Ready system enabled teachers to help students quickly and efficiently,” Schroeder said. “Recognizing progress on their lessons that included schoolwide celebrations such as ice cream socials provided further motivation.”

Margate Elementary serves 1,011 students.