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[Study Island + Exact Path] 3 Secrets to a Successful Implementation from Two Georgia Schools

[Study Island + Exact Path] 3 Secrets to a Successful Implementation from Two Georgia Schools

We know there are countless ways that educators are using Edmentum’s online programs for assessment, practice, and instruction successfully in their classrooms, and we love hearing about educators who are driving their students toward academic achievement. Recently, we were lucky enough to chat with principals at two different elementary schools in Georgia and discuss how they have managed to meet some of the challenges their students faced, achieve real gains and real growth, and forge their own unique pathways to success.

Ryan Butcher, principal at Kennedy Elementary School in Winder, Georgia, and Dr. Connie Yearwood, principal at Demorest Elementary School in Demorest, Georgia, shared how the teachers at their schools used Edmentum’s Study Island and Exact Path programs to support student learning and drive instruction in their classrooms. Check out three secrets they shared to driving success:

1. Let the reports do the driving

As any teacher knows, you can collect student data reports all day long, but if you can’t use them to help your students in some way, they don’t mean much. At both Demorest Elementary and Kennedy Elementary, teachers are using student data gathered in Study Island and Exact Path to not only monitor student progress but also guide in-class instruction.

While Demorest Elementary is no stranger to using student data to drive teaching decisions, Dr. Yearwood appreciates how Study Island and Exact Path help teachers make the most out of student data by aligning what’s reported directly to what they are teaching.

“We've historically been a school that's done a really good job of analyzing student data to know the deficiencies and weaknesses that our students have, but finding a just-right resource to help us close the gaps has oftentimes been very difficult,” remarked Dr. Yearwood. “Well, Edmentum provides that for us, and to have the diagnostic pieces in Exact Path and the benchmarking for Study Island helps teachers make instructional decisions that are based on student achievement data directly related to the content and skills that they are accountable for teaching.”

At Kennedy Elementary, Mr. Butcher has found that reports from Study Island and Exact Path have not only helped teachers tailor their instruction to student needs but also saved teachers some time and guesswork.

“We can upload the [students’ MAP® scores] into Study Island, and then it assigns specific tasks based off the needs of the students—it just pinpoints that instruction that these kids need, which makes it so much easier on the teachers,” said Mr. Butcher. “The reporting allows them to differentiate their instruction based off what the kids need.”

“With Exact Path, teachers are looking at the skills that students are missing and then trying to adjust their instruction accordingly,” Mr. Butcher explained. “The nice thing about Exact Path is that it will group their kids for them. The teachers are pretty aware of where their kids need to be, but Exact Path gives them a little bit more. . . . It confirms they’ve got them in the right spot.”

2. Find the right fit; it’s a must

One key to success when it comes to implementing any new classroom tool or resource is finding the right strategy. For both Demorest Elementary and Kennedy Elementary, one strategy included employing Study Island and Exact Path together to support their unique needs. By finding the right fit for how to use these two Edmentum programs in tandem, both Demorest Elementary and Kennedy Elementary are able to meet student needs and maximize student potential for success.

Mr. Butcher credits much of the success educators and students have shared at Kennedy Elementary to his teachers finding the right approach to using Study Island and Exact Path to support instruction. According to Mr. Butcher, utilizing Study Island’s NWEA™ MAP® Growth™ integration along with Exact Path’s adaptive diagnostic assessment with students has been extremely helpful in making teachers’ supplemental instruction better.

“Now that Study Island will take the [RIT] scores and set [students] on the path for success and Exact Path is [also] helping set students on the path for success, it actually is just making our supplemental instruction so much better,” said Mr. Butcher

Educators at Demorest have also struck a sweet spot when it comes to using Exact Path and Study Island together to drive growth. Dr. Yearwood says she appreciates how Exact Path skills and Study Island practice topics align, making it easy for her teachers to quickly take action and connect instruction with practice for students.

“[Teachers] were able to streamline what they were doing in a way that seemed to totally benefit student engagement in the classroom, enhanced the teacher's planning time, made it easier for them to differentiate, and then let the students practice exact skills that they had assigned to them in the programs,” said Dr. Yearwood.

3. Always remember the true source of success

Kennedy Elementary and Demorest Elementary were both looking to solve very different challenges when they turned to Edmentum for support, but they each knew that when it came down to implementing a successful solution, only one thing truly mattered: their educators.

At Kennedy Elementary, Mr. Butcher was sure to recognize how buy-in from teachers and students at the school has been key when it comes to the impact Study Island and Exact Path have had on the school. He credits the school’s recent growth and achievement to the teachers’ enthusiasm and effective use of the program.

“I love Study Island; I love Exact Path. [They’re] great support and supplement [to instruction], but I can’t give [them] all the credit,” said Mr. Butcher. “A lot happens because of what the teachers do.”

While Edmentum programs are an integral component of instruction for Demorest Elementary students, Dr. Yearwood is also quick to point out that research still recognizes the teacher as the number-one predictor of student achievement.

“Nothing, nothing, nothing will ever take the place of a teacher in a classroom, but when she has quality resources and it's streamlined and she sees those resources as being valuable, then you enhance the teacher in the classroom,” said Dr. Yearwood. “When we equip her with the tools that she needs in order to have the best professional practice she can have, then how can our students do anything but be successful?”

Interested in learning more about the amazing student and educator success at Demorest Elementary School and Kennedy Elementary School? Check out their success stories: Maximizing Instructional Time with Adaptive Learning in Demorest, Georgia, and Using Data to Find the Right Approach in Winder, Georgia.