Helping Pennsylvania Students and Teachers Grow with Personalized Learning

Over 1,200 students at Pennsylvania’s Manheim Central School District are benefiting from an engaging, personalized approach to teaching and learning.

We sat down with Instructional Coach Melissa Troiano to learn how K-4 grade classrooms use eSpark to help students learn new math and reading skills at their own pace.

How does eSpark help teachers meet the diverse needs of their students?

“When I was in the classroom, I always struggled with this. You go home at night and say, “I didn’t reach this kid…” I was structuring my math and my reading in rotational models. My kids would move in groups and I tried to keep it as flexible as I could, but it was not personalized for every single kid. Now eSpark puts [students] directly into a learning progression of where they need to be. I can go in and check on the dashboard to see where they are at. If they’re struggling with a skill I can then support them in a small group or independently based on what I see in the dashboard.”

How does eSpark save teachers time?

“I can go into the dashboard and see exactly if kids are stuck on an eSpark quest and go in and help them. I think the most beneficial feature has been the weekly emails that come out on Mondays and Wednesdays. The Monday email that comes out will tell me “these four kids need help in a small group with these skills” or “these three kids have been stuck on this quest for this long.” So even if I get a little behind and don’t check my dashboard, I still get those email reminders and can boom go into it that day and use a rotation model or centers to help those kids.”

How have you seen students grow while using eSpark?

“Well it goes way beyond the content that they’re learning. The pathway or “quest” that they go on means that students are really taking ownership of their learning. They have to make sure that they’re progressing. Now as teachers we’re checking in and making sure, but they really take ownership and pride in getting through a quest. They love the high fives at the end and celebrating that with the class. And they also love the videos at the end of each quest. Kids love making videos of themselves. It’s a YouTube generation!”

How have you seen teachers grow while using eSpark?

“Teachers are really taking off. The professional development that eSpark has provided looks at what our needs are from our data. They take feedback from our teachers as to what next steps might be. For example, kindergarten was saying that kids were having trouble making videos because they weren’t remembering the prompts. Now eSpark has made it so the prompt appears on the screen so students can remind themselves while they’re making those videos. I think teachers have really grown in the fact that they’re releasing their control… I think teachers are amazed at what kids can do on their own.”

Ready to see what eSpark could look like in your district?