Creating Success with Rigor and Individualization in Elizabeth, West Virginia

Creating Success with Rigor and Individualization in Elizabeth, West Virginia

Wirt County Middle School - Elizabeth, West Virginia
Dr. David Tupper, Principal
305 Students
Grades 5-8
Study Island
Exact Path
51% Economically Disadvantaged
96% Caucasian
4% Other
The Challenge: 

“Just because you're in a nice little remote part of West Virginia doesn't mean you can't succeed,” said Wirt County Middle School (WCMS) Principal Dr. David Tupper. “The sky's the limit.” In Elizabeth, West Virginia, WCMS educators strive to ensure that students understand they are just as capable as any in the nation, regardless of location.

To level the educational playing field, WCMS leaders sought Edmentum’s support to raise test scores and individualize instruction. The campus uses Study Island to provide aligned and rigorous supplemental content for core courses and Exact Path to provide individualized instruction for every student.

WCMS educators strive to ensure that students understand they are just as capable as any in the nation, regardless of their remote location. To level the educational playing field, school leaders sought Edmentum’s support to raise test scores and individualize instruction.
How They Did it: 

Supporting Formative Assessment with Study Island

Brandy Harris, a 5th grade math teacher at WCMS, implements Study Island in her classroom with fidelity. Ms. Harris explains that when she is conducting a math lesson on adding and subtracting fractions, she begins by pulling up the pertinent standards in Study Island and using a few questions to take a pulse of what the students already know. As Ms. Harris progresses through the unit, she again checks for understanding.

“Once we get . . . three quarters of the way through it, I'll pull some Study Island questions because I love how they're rigorous,” reported Ms. Harris. “I swear, sometimes, you guys [Edmentum content writers] all cheat and look at the West Virginia test because some of the questions kids are going, ‘That looks like Study Island.’ So, they’re prepared for that test.”

Ms. Harris shared how she sets up her students for success by showing them they can do difficult things: “I like to tell them we're not OK with failing—that we get multiple chances to pass. So, if they don't do very well, they get to keep going until they get to that 90 percent, and they can see they were successful because there's such a bank of questions. It just helps them grow.”

Achieving Individualized Growth with Exact Path

Dr. Tupper stated that every teacher and every student in grades 5–8 uses Exact Path. Teachers have enrichment time in the classroom, and students work in their individualized learning paths for a set period of time daily.

Dr. Tupper said that Edmentum works well to remediate and accelerate “because we're just not keeping everybody at the status quo. We can get them to really accelerate.”

Ms. Harris added, “I had a couple of 5th graders on their learning path who were working on the 8th grade level. That's what I love about it. It lets them keep going and building what they need.”

Teachers at WCMS enhanced student motivation with Exact Path competitions. Students competed weekly to see who could earn the most trophies. Different prizes were awarded to the winning classes, including a nacho party, movies, and extra gym time.

Transitioning to Flexible Learning Environments

When schools closed because of the pandemic in March 2020, WCMS students were already proficient using Study Island and Exact Path, making the transition to online learning easier.

Ms. Harris said, “I felt a little more at ease because I knew I could get them on their learning path on Exact Path to kind of help fill the gaps and keep them on their level and going. So, that made me feel a little safer about them being at home as a teacher—that I know I'm not going to lose them totally.”

WCMS Technology Integration Specialist Gayle Hickman noted that the teachers did not have to spend so much time reinventing the wheel and recording lessons. It was already done for them.

Mrs. Hickman said, “I work with technology with the entire school during the pandemic. And some of our biggest complaints were not seeing how to do things, but when we assigned Exact Path lessons, they [students] didn't have that complaint. [Teachers] could share a link on our LMS [learning management system] platform, Schoology, and the lessons were there for parents to watch—students to watch. I think having tools like Study Island and Exact Path left us . . . a lot better off than a lot of school districts because we already relied on these technologies. So, when we went virtual, it changed a lot for us, but we still had our backbone ready.”

“I like to tell them we're not OK with failing—that we get multiple chances to pass. So, if they don't do very well, they get to keep going until they get to that 90 percent, and they can see they were successful because there's such a bank of questions. It just helps them grow.”
Brandy Harris
5th Grade Math Teacher
Success: 

WCMS returned to in-person learning in January 2021. Dr. Tupper shared that, upon return, teachers were concerned because state testing was still happening. What WCMS educators found was that their students’ achievement on state testing had actually risen, particularly in relation to the state. WCMS saw overall growth in math and ELA. The school’s math scores were 13 percent higher than the state average and the reading scores were 12 percent higher than the state average. Dr. Tupper sees the dedication of his educators as a large part of creating successful student outcomes.

Mrs. Hickman stated, “[Teachers] make a commitment to these programs, and that is why their test scores— year after year after year—their students are achieving success. So, I think that programs like this really help our students, and I think that we're seeing that year after year at our school.”

“[Teachers] make a commitment to these programs, and that is why their test scores— year after year after year—their students are achieving success. So, I think that programs like this really help our students, and I think that we're seeing that year after year at our school.”
Gayle Hickman
Technology Integration Specialist
The Future: 

For the new school year, Dr. Tupper wants to focus on analyzing data to support student individualization even more. He also points to student-driven conferences as a valuable tool that Wirt County Middle School plans to elevate in the coming school year.

Dr. Tupper explained that, for acceleration, students now set their goals more than even the teacher. Dr, Tupper said that teachers ask, “’Not just as a class, but as a student, what do you want to do?’ So, each student can then get that buy-in and then raise that. And we know, obviously, if every student is showing up . . . then, those numbers collaboratively—we'll just be out of this world.”

For more infomation:

Contact 800.447.5286 or visit www.edmentum.com to learn more about Edmentum's online learning solutions.