North Dakota Exact Path: Stories of Success from Across the State
North Dakota Exact Path: Stories of Success from Across the State
“Because our students are counting on us and because who we are as educators, I know we are going to make sure that we are progressing with our students and our families and our communities.”
These important words were recently shared by North Dakota State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler as she addressed educators across the state and reflected on the challenges of teaching during a pandemic.
It’s this firm belief in progress in the face of change that brought together the governor’s office of North Dakota and the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to provide access to Edmentum Exact Path at no cost to all students, families, and school districts in North Dakota for the 2020–21 school year.
Exact Path provides diagnostic-driven, individualized instruction suitable for all learning environments. Aligned to North Dakota standards, the program promotes academic growth for all K–12 students in math, reading, and language arts. Schools and districts, both big and small, are already taking advantage of program access this school year. Read on to hear stories from educators at Fargo Public Schools, Lidgerwood Public School, and Ashley Public School.
Summer Success in Fargo Public Schools
David Burkman, principal at Woodrow Wilson High School and K–12 EL program administrator in Fargo Public Schools, first used Exact Path as a critical component of a three-week virtual summer school offered to nearly 900 K–8 learners including 150 English learners in June 2020. Upon collecting feedback from K–8 teachers, positive comments rolled in, including: it was an effective complement to synchronous Zoom learning, it held student interest and contributed to student gains, and the learning pathways created by NWEA MAP scores seemed to align well.
This year, the Fargo Public Schools Elementary Virtual Academy has become the largest elementary school in the district, serving more than 400 students, and the school has plans to utilize Exact Path. The brick-and-mortar elementary schools running hybrid programs are onboarding as well.
Mr. Burkman acknowledges the summer success and forthcoming program use this school year is not without support from the Edmentum team.
“The product support from Edmentum has been a reason why it has been a really sustained product in the schools that I have been in,” noted Mr. Burkman. “While moving to Exact Path in a time of a chaos caused by COVID, it was reassuring at the superintendent's level to know that it's not just a product, that the customer service is high quality and done pleasantly. As districts are trying to feel their way around, it's important that they're able to know that a company makes a quality product but that the customer service has really been outstanding.”
Commitment to Closing Skill Gaps at Lidgerwood Public School
In the small district of Lidgerwood Public School, Superintendent and Elementary School Principal Chris Bastian is also very excited about the different individualized learning and intervention needs Exact Path can help address.
“I was looking over a 4th grader’s shoulder here this morning [as he was working in his learning path], and I was entrenched in the story too,” remarked Mr. Bastian. “It was very interactive. It seemed like it grabbed this one little boy’s attention right away. He was all in.”
Teachers across K–12 are using Exact Path to address other needs as well. For elementary students, teachers are carving out time to give students targeted skill-based support when they can. At the middle and high school level, the program is being used as an intervention tool. The most excited group to dig in, however, has been the resource and Title I classrooms, whose students have 30 minutes in their schedules each day for dedicated needs-based instruction.
“We’ve got to prepare ourselves that no matter what we did this past spring , in fall, these guys are going to be behind,” reflected Mr. Bastian. “Before we throw the panic button, let’s get them enrolled in Exact Path. We’re doing our best to run everybody through the diagnostics so that we have that available to [our teachers].”
While it’s still early in the school year, Mr. Bastian is committed to closing skill gaps and promoting growth, and he believes Exact Path is a powerful part of that equation.
“[Exact Path] is for kids, and that’s what we’re here for,” proclaimed Mr. Bastian. “This is a tool 100-percent aligned to kids to help them get better, period. We know that COVID is a monster—that it raises its head and it just takes, and [with Exact Path,] this is one piece that we might be able to take back.”
Intervention Expands into Individualized Learning for All at Ashley Public School
For pre-K–12 Principal Chris Doane at Ashley Public School, bringing Exact Path into the fold started with a very clear need driven by data.
Mr. Doane recalled, “We’re always asking the question[s]: ‘What do we do with our test scores? How do we implement improvements or interventions?’ Exact Path is something that will help [students]—whatever we can do to get students from point A to B. I have faith that my teachers can do a lot of it, but I still think something like this would be a huge benefit to our students.”
Ashley Public School began using Exact Path during the 2019–20 school year for Title I students in an intervention capacity, but even before the year even ended, the school had expanded its implementation to reach all students.
“I think it’s a great program,” reflected Mr. Doane. “I think it's a program that helps us with supplementary materials that we don't have to go find,” such as instructional videos, practice, lesson plans, and printables. “That's one of the big things that I've tried to tell my teachers: ‘You have kids that have gaps, and you're trying to help them. You don't have to go find that information on your own.’”
For the 2020–21 school year, Mr. Doane has set the expectation that all K–9 students will use Exact Path twice a week to meet their individualized needs. Many are exceeding that recommendation already.
“We have an administrative conference every October,” noted Mr. Doane. “I’ve tried to let my peers know: ‘This is a program that I’ve been using, and you’ve got to check it out.’ I will keep doing the same.”
Want to learn more about using Exact Path to support North Dakota students? Visit the North Dakota Exact Path website, and then fill out this short interest form to request access.