When Kershaw County School District (KCSD) superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins arrived in the district, he envisioned the diverse school district as a model for 21st century learning. The district’s high schools had been the first in the state to provide 1:1 technology for students in and it was picked as one of the five original districts in South Carolina to pilot an online learning initiative in 2018. Dr. Robbins wanted to create comfort and competency in a 1:1 blended learning environment and in utilizing technology to give students a voice in their instruction.
Dr. Robbins knew that the right tools would put valuable time back in his teachers’ hands and allow them to focus on their unique student needs.
“I try to give voice to the voiceless, and I try to use the technology to gather back time that’s otherwise lost for my teachers,” said Dr. Robbins. “I feel like that’s one of the most precious commodities and resources that a teacher can have—time. And so, technology has a way to do that and to speed up the process and to help provide equity to students in a school district, regardless of their socioeconomic background, whether they’re rural, urban, [or] whatever the case may be.”
With the goal of delivering individualized, equitable education for all, the district implemented Exact Path and Study Island for all K–12 learners as a way to take their NWEA MAP data and make it actionable through personalized learning paths. Study Island focused on South Carolina standards mastery, and Exact Path was used to provide diagnostic-driven, individualized learning paths.
Courseware was implemented in middle and high schools to give all students access to a robust library of aligned, interactive courses that are flexible, dynamic, and personalized. The district uses these courses to offer CTE, credit advancement, and credit recovery through a broader catalog of courses than the district would otherwise be capable of offering.
Reading Eggs was implemented at elementary and middle school campuses to create more individualized literacy opportunities for students.
Dr. Robbins says that Edmentum programs remove the stigma of remediation because everyone is working within the same platform, unaware of the levels their classmates are working on. No students are pulled from the classroom; it can all be done in one space.
Recently the district established the Kershaw County Virtual Academy using Courseware and Study Island. Dr. Robbins explained, “[The Virtual Academy] is never going to go away. I never want it to go away. It’s something that we were going to progress to—it’s just the pandemic put us in hyperdrive to get there.”
One example of the district’s success can be seen at Camden Elementary School. Following a full semester of implementing Exact Path learning paths powered by data from fall and winter NWEA MAP assessments, 88 percent of students grew in reading and 83 percent grew in math. Only two students did not make sufficient growth in math and only eight did not make sufficient growth in reading according to their NWEA MAP winter diagnostic results.
“Those numbers were definitely something to celebrate,” remarked Mrs. Matia Goodwin, Camden Principal. “It was also eye-opening for those teachers who might not have been using Exact Path as much at the beginning of the school year to say, ‘Oh, wait a minute, these students are really growing; maybe I need to start.’”
Dr. Robbins’ vision of equity through technology allows district educators to move away from traditional classroom instruction. “There is zero doubt in my mind that the efficacy of the utilization of these products will show greater results for us—greater achievement results.”