How a Florida school used Prodigy to support math instruction after losing funding
“We had to look at gaps from losing Title I funding and ask, ‘What do we need to fill most?’ We found that we don't need those other programs because we've got Prodigy.”
— Mathew Taylor, Assistant Principal, Beulah Elementary School
All about Beulah Elementary School
900+ students attend Beulah Elementary School
43% of students qualify for free and reduced lunches
73 teachers covering Kindergarten through 5th grade
Filling the gap with accessible math practice
Beulah Elementary had been using Prodigy regularly with a combination of other resources. But unexpectedly, Beulah lost their Title I funding and, with it, access to expensive educational resources. “It wasn't ‘We're short on funds.’ There were no funds,” says Mathew. “So all of those programs were going away, except Prodigy.”
Mathew had no doubt that Prodigy could be the go-to math solution. “Prodigy is a reliable resource. We know it's going to be doing its job. We love that there's a Placement Test. It places that student where they should be, and it's going to work them along their own path. Prodigy can be even more successful if you implement the tools, check the data, do small group work based on it, but it's successful on its own.”
Teachers were happy Prodigy remained in their toolkit. “Students are highly engaged, and Prodigy is connected to standards. They can still play, but I can guide them or let Prodigy build their skills from where they are,” says Krystal Gibson, a 5th grade teacher.
Students were also enthusiastic about practicing math. Suzanne Hollingsworth, a 3rd grade teacher, says, “They are excited about it, and my teacher heart is bursting. To have Prodigy as a tool to help with that excitement is the best thing ever.”
Why Beulah Elementary loves using Prodigy
High student engagement through gameplay
Teachers and leaders across the school saw how Prodigy’s gameplay helped engage and motivate their students to do more math.
Suzanne saw this firsthand, saying: “They like to play it. They like to customize their character, they love that they can go on quests or do battles with their friends.”
Mathew says he’s seen it shift mindsets, too. “I have students that believe they aren’t good at math. But because they have been able to have positive experiences through Prodigy, I can change their minds,” he says.
Easy to use for teachers
As students play, Prodigy Math Game makes it easy for teachers to align content to what they are teaching in class or simply allow the adaptive algorithm to work.
“Prodigy has an impact on me as an educator,” says Suzanne. “Teachers are able to have a resource readily available for them. They don't have to spend extra time and extra money to get the results they're getting in the classrooms.”
“Prodigy is nice and easy,” says Mathew. “It’s just a sign-in through Google. I liked that it wasn’t hard to maintain and didn’t add too much on my plate.”
Meaningful data presented in a clear format
Prodigy helps schools use real-time data to plan with intentionality. One thing teachers especially appreciated, compared to other programs, was the easy-to-understand reports.
“The data I was able to look at was visually easier to read”, says Krystal. “Whether it was the charts or the way that it was structured or tiered, the breakdown of how it's displayed was a little bit easier.”
Suzanne particularly liked the Teacher Dashboard, saying it was “very clear. There's not a lot of digging around that I have to do to try to figure it out. I liked that a lot.”
What teachers and school leaders at Beulah Elementary are saying about Prodigy
“The kids really love that battling aspect of [Prodigy]. They can see their classmates in the same game. I hear them all the time: 'Where are you? Come find me!' It's exciting for them.”
“I have students who are low-performing in my class as well as gifted students. In Prodigy, my low-performing students can compete with my high-performing students without tension or negative consequences, which causes them to perform better.”
“It’s the willingness to do math, it’s in the smiles, the happiness. The students talk about the game, but you and I know they’re talking math. That's my favorite part.”
Supporting families at home
Prodigy provided easy-to-use support for families at Beulah Elementary School who previously struggled to help their learners at home. “Kids come home, they don't know how to do the math,” says Mathew.
Homework is a frustrating experience for many parents, but Mathew notes that “Prodigy closes that gap. Prodigy does the work. It's going to hit those skills that students don't have. If we didn't have Prodigy, we'd be so far behind. I mean, there's nothing else that I'm aware of that does what Prodigy does for us.”
Prodigy is an easy and fun homework activity. “I don't assign homework in my classroom, but I will tell them to get some Prodigy time tonight. They don't see that as having homework, but they are practicing math at home,” says Suzanne.
Plus, Prodigy has helped teachers build trust with their parent community. Mathew's “able to give them something to do that is simple. It requires nothing of them other than making sure their child sits down and has internet access.”
Even without Title I funding, Prodigy's math resources helped boost learning
Beulah Elementary School saw students master more skills in Prodigy with dedicated usage.
On average, students from Beulah Elementary School mastered more skills per month in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19.
Building leaders are pleased that their students are having purposeful math discussions based on Prodigy. "Kids were excited about math again, maybe even for the first time. Let's get them math-minded. Not just focused on a textbook, but actually get the excitement of solving problems. Prodigy really helps with that," says Krystal.
Assistant Principal Taylor sees more and more students eager to play whenever they can. “Prodigy's a math program, but students are begging to do it. They want to do it during recess. They want to do it at home."