The Vincennes Community School Corporation (VCSC) services six schools in Vincennes, which is in southwestern Indiana on the border with Illinois. In three of its four elementary schools, the poverty rate reaches 70 percent.
The school district was looking for a partner that could help reach students across the district and tailor instruction to them no matter the situation: reading strategies in early learning, formative assessment, remediation, accelerated learning, and credit recovery. To tick all of these boxes, it needed as comprehensive of a solution as exists on the market.
VCSC had been partnering with Plato Courseware for over five years when it realized it needed a far-reaching blended learning installation. Edmentum was the natural choice to serve all six schools and every situation that exists in the district.
"Above all, we wanted to improve student achievement," said VCSC curriculum director Barry Stone. "After that, the considerable toolbox of digital resources and ease of use is what convinced us to broaden our relationship with Edmentum."
"Broaden" is an understatement. "Study Island has served as our formative test tool for the past two years," reported Stone. "Each grade level or curriculum department creates standards-based assessments to ensure mastery of the standard being taught during a three-week period. Our district also uses Study Island as a remediation tool and as digital content for Lincoln High School in a one-to-one environment. Plato Courseware is used as a credit recovery tool. Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress are used within the 90-minute reading blocks to enhance reading strategies. EducationCity is also used within the reading block as a remediation tool and as a digital resource to teachers. Accucess has been used within departments at the high school to track student progress and mastery of standards. Our special education department has been using it to help track educational goals within IEPs [individualized education programs]."
The turnaround at VCSC has been nothing but remarkable. None of the four elementary schools had higher than a C grade from the state in 2013, with two of them considered failing. Now, led by principals Jono Connor, Kelley Crowley (2013 District 11 Elementary Principal of the Year), Susan Marchino (2014 District 11 Elementary Principal of the Year), and Richard Rutherford, the elementary schools are three A's and a B.
The middle school moved from being considered a failing school in 2012 to a C in 2014. Also that year, all 77 of the 8th graders enrolled in Algebra I for high school credit passed the End of Course Assessments (ECA).
The high school has shown improvements as well, increasing Algebra I ECA scores by 40 percent and English 10 ECA scores by nearly 30 percent, so now the school has a near 90 percent passage rate for 2014. Also, the high school has improved the graduation rate from 82 percent to 93 percent during the 2013–14 school year.
Perhaps most importantly, Stephen Combs, 2014 District 11 High School Principal of the Year, stated, "Twenty percent of the 2014 high school graduating class used an Edmentum product to graduate on time through the district's alternative program or through credit recovery."
"Our school district is nothing but a success story," beamed Stone. Anecdotally, one can see just what an impact VCSC's Edmentum partnership has had on the district. From an elementary teacher: "I use [Reading Eggs] daily at centers and during indoor recess. The students love it. After a standard is taught, students use the program to earn eggs that reinforce the standard and associated terminology. The teacher is able to view the progress of each student."
Ryan Clark, middle school principal, has a favorite story that demonstrates the flexibility of the system: "We have one young man who needs this program for PE. The environment in the gym was not ideal for him. Now that he has a quieter setting with a much better teacher-to-student ratio, he is able to succeed at a higher level overall."
Under the leadership of superintendent Greg Parsley and his curriculum team, success at Vincennes Community School Corporation has been so impressive that it is currently preparing to host the state's premier educational technology conference in the summer of 2014. Not surprisingly, Barry Stone and his curriculum team of Joe Keller, secondary curriculum coach; Suzanne Corrona, elementary curriculum coach; and Dustin Jones, technology coordinator, are organizing the conference.
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