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Partner Story: PIEDMONT CITY SCHOOLS

Leveraging Technology for Meaningful Growth in a Rural District

300

students in kindergarten through second grade

93%

eSpark activity student approval rating

13

math and reading standards mastered per student

In 2009, Piedmont, Alabama had fallen on hard times. The rural town’s largest employer closed, the median household income dipped $20,000 below the national average, and many of Piedmont’s residents had little to no internet access.

Seeing their community in decline, district leaders at Piedmont City Schools decided to launch mPower Piedmont, an ambitious district program that leveraged technology to form long term solutions to local issues of inequity, unemployment, and poverty. In less than 5 years, Piedmont became one of the most innovative districts in the state, installing a citywide wireless network and 1:1 devices in K-12.

By 2014, the district was ready to leverage their new infrastructure to drive student growth and engagement. District leaders were especially interested in finding a solution that empowered teachers to meet the diverse learning needs of their students while monitoring academic growth and engagement. Turning their attention to Piedmont Elementary School, the district decided to partner with eSpark Learning to provide 300 K-2nd grade students with access to personalized learning experiences in math and ELA.

Meaningful Student Outcomes and Growth

Year over year, Piedmont has seen returns on their edtech investment. Shortly before launching eSpark in 2014, the district had students take the NWEA MAP to establish a benchmark for student growth. On average, Piedmont K-2 students scored at the 42nd percentile on this assessment.

“I was blown away by the power and potential of eSpark. I am thankful to be in a district which utilizes eSpark and understands its impact on student growth and learning.”

– Brigett Stewart

Piedmont Elementary Principal

eSpark Learning’s team of data scientists used MAP data to diagnose student skill levels and differentiate math and reading instruction at scale throughout Piedmont Elementary School. Providing each student with digital resources aligned to his or her learning needs, eSpark streamlined classroom differentiation and gave teachers the time and data they needed to provided targeted support and intervention. After Piedmont students mastered a skill or standard in eSpark, they used eSpark to record a re-teaching video in which they synthesized and creatively applied what they had learned. Since launching eSpark, this feature has become an important part of Piedmont’s curriculum, used to monitor student growth and build college and career readiness. “When students create videos they are applying what they know, learning valuable communication skills, and providing the teacher with an authentic assessment of what they have learned,” says principal Brigett Stewart.

Students using eSpark at Piedmont Elementary

eSpark Learning’s team of data scientists used MAP data to diagnose student skill levels and differentiate math and reading instruction at scale throughout Piedmont Elementary School.

"When students create videos they are applying what they know, learning valuable communication skills, and providing the teacher with an authentic assessment of what they have learned."

Student using eSpark to record a re-teaching video

After Piedmont students mastered a skill or standard in eSpark, they used eSpark to record a re-teaching video in which they synthesized and creatively applied what they had learned.

During the second year of implementation, students using eSpark saw similar outcomes. At the start of the 2015-2016 school year, K-2 students scored in the 48 percentile in math and reading domains on the NWEA MAP. After a year spent mastering 3,584 standards through eSpark (13 standards a student), students scored in the 60th percentile in math and 57th percentile in reading.

NWEA Growth at Piedmont City Schools

After a year spent mastering 3,584 standards through eSpark, students scored in the 60th percentile in math and 57th percentile in reading

Delighting Teachers, Students, and District Leaders

Much of eSpark’s success at Piedmont City Schools is owed to teachers’ willingness to use eSpark with fidelity and purpose. Most classrooms at Piedmont Elementary use eSpark three to four times each week, giving students ample time to practice math and ELA standards and their own level and pace. Principal Stewart credits this practice with benefitting teachers and students alike, saying, “eSpark helps my teachers by saving them valuable time in differentiating instruction and by providing valuable data to help guide instruction. It helps students by providing them with an engaging platform to work on targeted individualized learning paths.”

In addition to achieving impressive academic gains, students at Piedmont Elementary School are deeply engaged in their learning. When prompted by eSpark's feedback mechanism, students reported that they enjoy 93% of the apps and videos they encountered through eSpark.

Students enjoy 93% of the apps and videos they encountered through eSpark.

When prompted by eSpark's feedback mechanism, students reported that they enjoy 93% of the apps and videos they encountered through eSpark.

This district has since adopted a number of digital platforms to enrich instructional practice, but eSpark’s personalized solution remains a favorite. “I love my digital curriculum dearly,” says first grade teacher Candy Mobley, “but if I had to get rid of it all, I would keep eSpark.”

"I love my digital curriculum dearly, but if I had to get rid of it all, I would keep eSpark."

– Candy Mobley, First Grade Teacher

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Location

Piedmont, Alabama

Partner Since

2014

IMPLEMENTATION

1:1 iPad usage with 300 K-2nd Grade Students

Products Used

eSpark

Differentiated Math & ELA instruction for grades PK to 6

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