About Us

Mastery Over Speed: How Progress Learning Supports Pine Valley Middle School in Texas

At Pine Valley Middle School in New Caney ISD, Texas, one teacher is making huge strides in her students’ math achievements. Mrs. Abagail Dunnavant, a 7th grade math teacher with four years of experience in this role, has been using Progress Learning since back when it was Education Galaxy. Over the years, she’s witnessed the incredible impact it has had on her students’ success. “I feel like my kids have grown even more because it’s more organized and really fits their needs,” Mrs. Dunnavant reflects. “I’ve seen a lot of growth using it.”

But what does growth look like in Mrs. Dunnavant’s classroom, and how does she measure it? For her, it’s all about empowering her students to set and achieve their goals. She explains, “I have a Google sheet that keeps track of all the student scores on tests, and I compare that to their 6th grade STAAR score for math. I tell them, ‘All I care about is that you beat last year’s scores.’” This starts them off with a mindset focused on improvement rather than just meeting a passing grade.

One of the main features of Mrs. Dunnavant’s teaching method is her emphasis on mastery over speed. “I would rather students start and ask questions and really feel comfortable with the topic than being able to finish something at the end of class,” she says.

How Mrs. Dunnavant Uses Progress Learning

Mrs. Dunnavant uses Progress Learning tools, like the Galaxies, to provide targeted practice and tutorial videos tailored to individual needs. It also provides games to keep students engaged. “My students love the Galaxies because they have games in between,” Mrs. Dunnavant shares. “They love that brain break and trying to win those games, and I love that they’re challenging.”

Besides being fun and engaging, the Galaxies have proven to be very effective. “I have one student in particular who finished all her Galaxies for 7th grade by December,” Mrs. Dunnavant says. “She loved how it pushed her, she loved how tutorial videos popped up right after… She was like ‘I love how it’s promoting mastery over speed, so I don’t have to be the fastest, I just have to be the smartest and understand the words.’”

But Progress Learning isn’t just for high achievers. Pine Valley Middle School is a Title 1 school, and there is a wide range of learning levels. “We have kids all across the spectrum. Some kids are on an 8th grade level, some are on a 3rd grade level… Progress Learning brings it down to their level,” she explains. When practicing in the Galaxies, “It’s not about how many stars they’ve completed, it’s ‘Oh, I’m getting better at this!’” Whatever the student’s learning level, Progress Learning adapts to meet them where they are.

How else is Mrs. Dunnavant using Progress Learning? “On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we make our own warmup in Progress Learning. Students have two attempts on it, they do it once themselves and then we go over it.” When Mrs. Dunnavant reviews the question as a class, students get the question correct, which earns them 100 tokens that they can use in the arcade. This has been a huge incentive for her students. “At the end of class, if they have coins to spend in the arcade, they can go play those games until they run out of coins. She adds, “Their favorite game right now is Naughty Chicken. They love Naughty Chicken.” Who can blame them? Naughty Chicken is so much fun!

She also uses the program for targeted practice after an assessment. “After they take their test, we take their test data and we tell them the TEK that they missed the most questions on and we have them work on the Study Plans over that TEK. Everyone’s working on something different but at their own pace, and the Study Plan has tutorial videos so they’re able to get help while I’m walking around and helping other students.”

She notes that Progress Learning questions are perfectly aligned with STAAR — and in fact, might be even harder. “We love the STAAR rigor and actually a lot of the Progress Learning questions are harder than some of the STAAR questions. We’ll have kids work in the Study Plan and then the kids will take one of their district tests and are like, ‘Why is the Progress Learning stuff harder than this actual stuff?’ And we’re like, ‘Well you did fantastic in Progress Learning so you’re going to do fantastic [on the STAAR].’”

The Results

So, what have been the results of using Progress Learning so far this year? “This year, 62% of my students grew,” she proudly reveals. “That means that they either got the same score as 6th grade or they did better. I had 2 kids grow by 27 points, I had one student grow 29 points, and another grew 31 points.”

New Caney ISD also does district-wide bundle tests after they finish a unit. “Our 7th graders at our middle school have had the highest scores on their bundle 1, bundle 2, and bundle 3 tests. They’ve been rocking it and it’s really exciting because it’s the full first year we’ve had Progress Learning.”

Mrs. Dunnavant says that isn’t a coincidence: “There is a correlation between the kids who just didn’t take to Progress Learning at all or didn’t finish their work or do extra stuff at home. They did not grow in points… Last year, I had one student who got a 17 on her 6th grade math STAAR test and she got a 57 on her 7th grade STAAR test for math. And she was using Progress Learning heavily.”

Spreading the Word About Progress Learning

Mrs. Dunnavant loves Progress Learning so much she didn’t want to keep it to herself. She’s been instrumental in spreading it throughout Pine Valley Middle School and even held a presentation at the district level about how the program has impacted her teaching. “This year, I’d probably say 75-80% of our campus is using it but they’re all using it in a variety of ways. Like our 6th grade ELA team is using it constantly, making their own assignments and assessments… and they love it a lot. All of our 8th grade teachers love it because, at the end of the school year, they were able to start introducing them to high school things.”

She’s even convinced another middle school to get it. “We’ve had so much success with it that [we talked] another middle school into buying it this year and I was able to go and teach them how to use it.”

Amazing job, Mrs. Dunnavant! We can’t take all the credit for your students’ achievements — clearly, you’re doing something right. Still, we’re glad Progress Learning is supporting your instruction and helping your students succeed.  If you want to see the same results as Mrs. Dunnavant, request a demo of Progress Learning today!

Related Articles

Featured Image for How Progress Learning Supports Holley-Navarre Middle School in Florida

About Us

How Progress Learning Supports Holley-Navarre Middle School in Florida

At Holley-Navarre Middle School in Florida, educators are seeing transformative growth in their students thanks to Progress Learning. Assistant Principal Pete Della Ratta couldn’t contain his enthusiasm when he described Progress Learning as “the best thing in all my 20 years of being in Santa Rosa County Schools.” He added that it helps “the students […]

Featured Image for How Progress Learning Supports Montgomery, Alabama Public Schools

About Us

How Progress Learning Supports Montgomery, Alabama Public Schools

Montgomery Public Schools in Alabama is making waves in education with its innovative use of Progress Learning. They use our program for assessments, to supplement their instruction, and to create tailored pathways for their students. Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Sonya Floyd, the Math Specialist for K-5th grades, to talk about […]

Featured Image for How Progress Learning Supports Anthony ISD

About Us

How Progress Learning Supports Anthony ISD

We recently sat down with Jaime De La Torre, Director of Instructional Support at Anthony ISD, in Anthony, Texas to chat about how Progress Learning has impacted his school district. Anthony ISD is a relatively small district in Texas. Jaime wanted to find a solution that could alleviate the workload for his teachers while offering […]