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Supporting Second Language Learners at Abdulla Bin Otaiba School with Individualized Learning Options

Abdulla Bin Otaiba School is a school based in Abu Dhabi. The school has nearly 1,500 students with around ten classes per grade level, and the student cohort consists primarily of second language learners with a 100% Emirati student cohort.

In August 2019, Abdulla Bin Otaiba School underwent major changes and became a charter school and began to be managed by the education group, Aldar Education. Upon this change, huge adjustments had to be made across the board to teaching and learning at the school to meet specific new goals.

Mr. Adam Keaveny, Vice Principal at the school, says that “At that stage, children were not used to such a rigid structure and behavior issues were a huge issue. Upon Aldar taking over the school, we had to make some huge adjustments.”



The Challenge

In 2020, after the takeover and the realization that adjustments needed to be made, the school was looking for a resource to provide individualized learning for all of its students who are second language learners. Exact Path was a product that could meet their needs.

Mr. Keaveny comments on Exact Path and says,

“The bespoke learning is incredible. All of our students are second language learners, and the fact they can have something that is pitched to their level is so beneficial. It’s also a way to engage the children who have struggled during this pandemic. Working in the Middle East provides a whole host of challenges, especially with the hours children go to sleep and get up. So having a program that is accessible for them at any time of the day means we have been able to engage more learners.”


The Solution

Before implementing Exact Path, Mr. Keaveny spoke with Edmentum closely about the product to consider its suitability for Abdulla Bin Otaiba School. Mr. Keaveny says that “in truth, originally, coming upon Edmentum was by recommendation. Initially, I was very skeptical as I have worked with several programs in the past, and they don’t seem to have longevity. A huge factor in deciding to remain with the program initially was the high level of support and service we received from Edmentum. One of my faults is that I can be slow to respond due to several reasons. However, the support representative’s persistence to show me the benefits is what actually swung me to invest my time and energy into launching fully into primarily Exact Path.”

After choosing to implement Exact Path fully, Mr. Keaveny and his staff had to encourage the school to become familiar with it and log in and use it. Mr. Keaveny says that “The biggest challenge in the school is getting the children to log on, as we have so many students remotely learning. However, through competitions, rewards, and using systems, we have made things as easy as possible. We use healthy competition amongst students and staff. We send everything out in dual language, including the videos that Edmentum has created.”

Furthermore, Exact Path has become a part of the school’s curriculum and an integral part of the school’s teaching and learning, which has been another way to encourage usage. Mr. Keaveny says that

“Exact Path is an integral way to which we deliver lessons. It is part of our curriculum and an expectation which staff have really bought into.”

Mr. Keaveny also mentions the support that Exact Path has provided to both teaching and learning at the school since using it: “Exact Path is an incredible learning tool. It builds on children’s learning and supports teachers’ learning. It allows teachers to be really focused on students’ needs and to help tailor their lesson plans.”

To further support both teaching and learning, the challenges on Exact Path are used to encourage motivation to learn. Mr. Keaveny says that “Exact Path is by far the most useful tool we use and the features from the Learning Paths and the Challenges enable us to motivate the children.”

In terms of parental engagement, Exact Path is also supporting the school’s goals and progress. The school uses competitions and videos to engage parents with using Exact Path at home. Mr. Keaveny says that “For those parents who are engaged, they are hugely engaged. We have competitions where they have to reward their children and send photos. They love the videos we put out with shout-outs.

“Simply put, the children and the parents are engaged. The teachers also don’t see it as an add-on but a part of the learning for the students.”

The school has also had parent training on the product, and this was delivered in dual language to support parental needs. Mr. Keaveny agrees that this has been very successful in helping with the implementation of Exact Path.

Due to the successful implementation, Mr. Keaveny is very happy with where the school currently is with Exact Path. Commenting on its benefits to the school, Mr. Keaveny says that

“Exact Path has enhanced engagement, improved competition, and raised standards. Everyone at every level is invested in the program now. This has not always been the case. However, we are at a stage now where I can confidently say that.”


Success

The school has seen much success from using Exact Path for both teachers and students. Mr. Keaveny comments: “I would say Edmentum is not a solution on its own. I think it’s an amazing tool that helps teachers and students. In my opinion, to say it is the solution to the problem does not give the product enough credit. It enhances learning and does not replace or replicate what goes on in the classroom. However, it provides teachers with an incredible resource and children a familiar place to develop their learning.”

Furthermore, Mr. Keaveny also comments on the impact Exact Path has had on students’ learning at the school: “it is used by every child in the school, and the impact is vast.”

Staff at the school have also found success with the impressive level of customer service they have received, which has been a critical factor in helping with usage. Mr. Keaveny says that “I really do wish to highlight our support representative. Staff have reached out to her, and she has run small-group training sessions. She is there for me personally so quickly for any need I have as I run the program. The fact we are up and running is largely down to her.”

Lastly, the proof of the success of Exact Path is demonstrated by the fact that Mr. Keaveny would recommend it to other schools. The product and the support the school has received from partnering with Edmentum and using Exact Path has made the implementation process possible and why Mr. Keaveny recommends his experience.


The Future

Abdulla Bin Otaiba School has seen considerable success from partnering with Edmentum and using Exact Path.

In the future, Edmentum will continue to support Abdulla Bin Otaiba School with this success and with its forthcoming endeavors, particularly with supporting them beyond the pandemic. They will also work together to support the school with its implementation of Study Island, another solution in the Edmentum suite of products that the school has chosen to implement.