Montana City School
School Representative: Daryl Mikesell – Principal, and Erinne Ark – Math Teacher
Date EdReady Montana Program Implemented: 5/8/2015
Grade Levels of Students Utilizing EdREady MT: 6-8
Montana City School Background Info:
Montana City, a K-8 school located in the mountains outside Helena, Montana in Jefferson County, has been working with and utilizing the EdReady Montana program for the past year in grades 6 to 8. Recently EdReady Montana’s Program Manager, Dr. Ryan Schrenk, spoke with Daryl Mikesell, Montana City School Principal, and Erinne Ark, a Math Teacher at Montana City School regarding their current use of the program. Montana City is the first middle school featured by EdReady Montana to begin to show and tell the story of how students, educators and schools in the state of Montana benefit from the program.
Q: Please describe how the EdReady Montana program is being utilized at your school.
Considerations: Grade levels, Remediation, Acceleration, Intervention, Skill Building, Classroom Supplement
A:(Daryl) We are trying to address the problem of filling in the gaps at all levels of math. We want to get students caught up with what they have missed in lower level grades. On the other end of the spectrum, we are using the program to allow students to accelerate through to higher levels of math if they are ready for the challenge.
(Erinne) For example, I have eighth graders who are missing basic skills such as subtracting negative numbers while others have worked all the way up to Algebra 2 assessments. EdReady allows me to teach to these levels and everything in between inside the same classroom.
Q: How are you integrating the EdReady Montana program into daily lesson plans?
Considerations: Homework vs. In-Class use, Graded vs. Non-Graded, Special Classroom Arrangements or Lab Scheduling, etc.
A:(Erinne) We use EdReady one day a week in math class for each grade level. Wednesday for 6th, Thursday for 7th and Friday for 8th graders.
Students get participation grades for their time in EdReady. I use a tracking sheet for the day to keep track of their EdReady score at the beginning and end of the class. They either move up that day or justify to me why they didn’t make movement that day. It helps focus them on the topics they are struggling with and to focus on the difficult topics when they are forced to make positive movement in their edready score or justify no movement.
I’ve used some flipped classroom strategies in my 8th grade class where they are required to preview the topics before coming to class that day. In the early parts of the course students were inside EdReady almost every day as they moved through topics where some students were reviewing and other students who didn’t need review were allowed to work ahead and stay engaged. The students who needed the extra time to learn though needed that support.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of the program?
A:(Erinne) The cost (no cost to students or schools), flexibility and availability of the program! We also like how the program is based on standards, is engaging, offers high quality resources, and it was very easy to justify to our school board.
The differentiation capabilities are also phenomenal. We can have students working on 6th grade readiness and Algebra 2 preparation in the same class.
(Daryl) Parents appreciate the ability to have students use the system out of class and in the summer. They see it as a supportive system to get instruction and practice any time at no cost to the parent whether they are preparing to avoid developmental classes in college or stay sharp for their upcoming high school math classes.
Q: What, or who, has made implementation at your school successful?
A:(Erinne) Our administration and school board have been very supportive allowing us to make it part of our curriculum.
Students have also made it productive by their approach to it.
(Daryl) Our math department of three teachers using it creatively to implement the program with some technology limitations in our school.
(Both) This sort of solution has to be a team effort. Our administration, school board and teachers have worked together to make the implementation work at our school.
Q: How have your students reacted to the program?
A:(Erinne) Students are beginning to ask whether EdReady is available at their high school.
Students know what day they have EdReady and they can’t wait for that day. If we have other items to finish on those days they are anxious to get started.
The immediate feedback from the program is essential and appreciated. They start troubleshooting and asking questions about what they missed once they get into the flow of the program and begin to trust the feedback they receive.
Q: What are you most proud of in your implementation, or what has surprised you most about utilizing the program?
A:(Daryl) Students and parents were resistant at first seeing the system as something extra to do and complex but the approach and attitude has changed now that each student (and parent) sees that students are all challenged regardless of their personal level of understanding of the material.
The thinking has changed to realize that the system can help each student regardless of level and the teacher is able to coach each student.
Q: What advice does your school have for other schools, programs, administrators or teachers looking to implement the program?
A:(Daryl) From the administrative side, try piloting the program on a smaller scale so the “program” isn’t blamed for all the difficulties and growing pains.
The system was piloted with one class at each level then we worked through the wrinkles to fit our schedule, technology, staff then grow it from there. This is critical so you can get out of the implement, attack and abandon cycle.
(Erinne) From the teacher side, you need to communicate and be transparent with students and parents. Keep them positive, train them to think about the class and approach differently. I couldn’t have done it with all my classes from the start. I’m glad I started small with one class then grew it from there.
Keep frustrations to a minimum when technology is tough to use locally by not blaming the system but troubleshoot the real issue.
School Contact Information
Address: 11 McClellen Creek Road, Clancy, MT 59634
Phone Number: 406-442-6779