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How using Prodigy helped bridge learning gaps

“I like to look at data, student growth and see where they are. As a former math teacher, I love being able to talk with my teachers and have them show me how they can group students and pinpoint their exact needs.”
— Brandi Johnson, Principal, West Haralson Elementary School

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Get to know Haralson County School District

3,500+ students enrolled in Haralson County schools

62% of students qualify for free and reduced lunches

2019 Georgia School Boards Association: Exemplary Board

Pinpointing where students needed help

Like a lot of educators, Brandi Johnson saw students coming back after school closures with significant learning gaps. “When we first came in and we were doing the assessment, we did see a lot of lag in the kids based on the fact they missed an entire nine weeks of school last year,” she says.

A picture of the outside of West Haralson Elementary School in Haralson County, Georgia with the school logo.
  • And even now that students are back, frequent quarantines mean that they’re missing up to two weeks of school at a time.

  • “When I worked with some of the second grade teachers, having lost that last part of first grade, they saw a lot of what students missed,” says Laura Dickerson, a district administrator in Haralson County. But Prodigy offered a solution.

  • Teachers used Prodigy’s Placement Test to understand where students needed the most support. “When we took the Placement Test [the first time], I had so many kids at a first grade level,” says Stephen Puckett, a fifth-grade teacher in Haralson County.

  • And now? “It’s paying off in the long run,” he says. “Once they hit November I had kids multiplying and dividing on a fifth grade level.”

How Prodigy Math Game helped

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A math test without the math anxiety

More learning gaps meant more analysis to understand where students were coming from.

“One of the first grade teachers told me, after doing the training, that she really loved that she was being able to assess her kids without them knowing it,” says Laura. “For our kids, that's one less stress. And this year, some kids have to be progress monitored more often than others… so being able to do it under the radar has helped.”

Plus, the data from assessments helps teachers and admins target instruction more effectively. “We use it a lot when we have our content planning meetings,” says Brandi. “It helps the teachers hone in.”

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Confidence in Prodigy’s curriculum-alignment

School-wide, Brandi saw how Prodigy enhanced in-class lessons. “Teachers would go into Prodigy and, based on the units they were on, they would set Assignments,” says Brandi. “Of course the kids are loving the game aspect of it, but teachers were getting the data back and it truly is aligned to what they’re teaching.

Prodigy aligns with classroom lesson plans and best practices for math learning best practices for math learning like engaging in math-specific discourse. Stephen noticed that his students struggled with everyday math vocabulary, but Prodigy helped them keep ‘working the problem’ and connected math vocab with on-screen diagrams and helpful tips. “It keeps them accountable with the vocabulary they need to know,” he says.

What teachers and school leaders in Haralson County are saying about Prodigy

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Stephen Puckett

Teacher, West Haralson Elementary School

“In less than 12 months... I’ve got kids that have elevated two to three grade levels. That’s huge when you look at those kids who’ve grown three grade levels with everything that’s going on.”

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Laura Dickerson

District Administrator, Haralson County School District

“Teachers liked that Prodigy helped bring students back up through those learning gaps… It was really impressive to me that teachers could see where their kids were.”

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Brandi Johnson

Principal, West Haralson Elementary School

“I like to look at data, student growth and see where they are. As a former math teacher, I love being able to talk with my teachers and have them show me how they can group students and pinpoint their exact needs.”

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Building relationships through math

Every educator knows that teaching is about creating emotional connections and supporting students every day. With Prodigy, Stephen empowered his students and built connections with them.

There was “a little boy, rough home life, doesn't eat a lot, doesn't have a father figure, he has a younger sister who he feels like mom cares more about than him,” Stephen says. “I made a good connection with him. I said, ‘All right, every time you get your work done, we’ll do Prodigy.’ But his thing wasn't just getting on Prodigy — he wanted to battle me.

Even during quarantine, Stephen would battle with students on Prodigy. “Using math to make a connection with a child who’s missing something emotional in their lives, that’s huge. For kids that want to connect with you through math, that’s the greatest thing.”

A data snapshot of math practice and average skills mastered

The average number of questions answered and math skills mastered by students in Haralson County School District who play Prodigy, compared to West Haralson Elementary in the 2019 to 2020 school year.
  • Students answered math questions and mastered skills. On average, Haralson students mastered over 10 skills a month on Prodigy during the 2019-20 school year.

  • Without Prodigy, “We’d probably continue with teachers just picking and choosing and trying to find something that works for them,” says Brandi. But now, teachers are “all speaking the same language and we all have the same type of data to bring to the table.

  • While working with Stephen, Brandi saw the benefits of regularly using Prodigy. “He had a lot of math growth [in his class],” she says. “He feels like... Prodigy was a lot of the reason he saw growth on the district assessment.

Ready to start your journey?

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