When representatives from the U.S. Department of Education visited Francis J. Varieur Elementary School in Pawtucket to learn how this Title I school was able to consistently exceed state standards, third-grade teacher Amy Dufault-Thompson's classroom was a key part of their focus. Previously a special education teacher, Ms. Dufault-Thompson uses special education strategies for differentiating instruction in her regular classroom, reaching both struggling students as well as those who need to be challenged. She incorporates research-based instructional practices and carefully plans each lesson according to grade-level expectations. Ms. Dufault-Thompson often involves parents by inviting them to in-class presentations and sends them a monthly newsletter of current and upcoming events. She chairs the School Improvement Team and is a member of the district's Curriculum Revision Committee. As a result of her high-quality instruction, students have made significant gains across the curriculum, both quarterly and yearly, particularly in the area of writing. Looks like she's helping them write to the top.