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The Evolution of an After-School Tutoring Program in South Dakota

The Evolution of an After-School Tutoring Program in South Dakota

Rewind to just three years ago at C. C. Lee Elementary School of Aberdeen School District in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and you’d find an after-school tutoring program experiencing limitations on staff hours and funding. Within the structure at the time, some educators were electing to pack in practice and remediation that expired after just a month—leaving students without dedicated additional support during other critical times of the school year.

Knowing that students needed consistent, ongoing support, Principal Christopher Osborn began rethinking and restructuring the program so that it might extend to three to three-and-a-half months throughout late fall and winter instead. It was during this time of reflection that Mr. Osborn also began a partnership with Edmentum just in time for the 2017–18 school year.

Following some trial and error in year one, the program found its stride in year two. In 2018–19, the after-school tutoring program ran two days a week with alternating focus on reading/language arts and math, serving between 30 and 45 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders based on their specific subject needs. Representing about four to five students out of every classroom, the most struggling students were guaranteed an extra 30 to 45 minutes of practice and targeted remediation under the new structure.

Additionally, support also moved at the pace of each specific learner. Using Edmentum Exact Path, students would first complete an adaptive diagnostic assessment to uncover specific strengths and weaknesses. From there, students spent their time working in individualized learning paths made up of competency-based instruction, practice, and short quizzes to close learning gaps and get students back up to grade level.

“We could set goals for them, and they would work towards those goals,” commented Mr. Osborn. “It was at their pace, so they seem to be doing very well with that.”

In addition to the tailored experience that each student received, the data that the program yielded was also being used to help keep students on track.

“When we notice students don’t get a standard, we can take the kids one-on-one,” remarked Mr. Osborn. “The program has worksheets that we can do one-on-one to make sure that the student can pick it up with one-on-one instruction, then go back and try it again independently on their own. That has been a benefit.”

As educators continued to find success at C. C. Lee Elementary, they also piqued the interest of other neighboring schools within the district. Simmons Middle School began its Exact Path implementation in 2018–19, and May Overby Elementary School also started a pilot just this past September. May Overby, specifically, is trying out Exact Path with all 3rd to 5th grade students, not just its intervention population.

“May Overby has used it with all of their students; I’ve used it more as just intervention,” said Mr. Osborn. “But, I know that the ability for the program to push all kids in that direction has been a way that they can differentiate and help those star students—those ones that need to be pushed a little further than what they’re getting in the classroom even.”

In C. C. Lee Elementary’s current implementation, Mr. Osborn notes that he is seeing good things so far. But, he is not only pleased with the academic progress; he has also witnessed a positive boost to student behavior.

“I wouldn't be using the program if I didn't think there was a benefit to helping students,” noted Mr. Osborn. “A lot of the kids that we've seen—they've just grown with their confidence as they've used the program and become more confident in their skills.”

With additional sharing of best practices and careful monitoring of student progress, educators across the district are hopeful that they will continue to see good things.

Interested in learning more about Exact Path? Explore our assessment-driven individualized learning program by watching this short product overview and demonstration video.

madison.michell's picture

Madison Michell has been a member of the Edmentum team since 2014 and currently serves as a Marketing Manager. As a former Kindergarten and 3rd grade teacher during her time as a Teach For America corps member, she believes education truly has the power to transform lives. She is passionate about connecting educators with online programs, best practices, and research that improve teaching and learning for today's students.

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