“This really is amazing, it’ll be a game changer for our schools,” said Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt, diocesan superintendent for Catholic schools, describing Imagine Learning, an online K-8 supplemental program that will be piloted in 21 elementary schools this year in the Diocese of Trenton.

As Dr. Schmidt explained, “The purpose for Imagine Learning is to provide both enrichment and remediation in Math and Language Arts. This is all about personalized learning. With Imagine Learning, students can work at their own pace. This will allow for differentiation of instruction and help our schools to reach each student exactly where they are.”

Students will take an initial placement test which creates a baseline score.  From this baseline, targeted lessons and instruction are created unique to each child.

The assessments and lessons are engaging and grade-level appropriate and are designed to also support students who speak English as a second language.

Teachers who will be using the program this year will receive training in Imagine Learning this month and can begin to implement the learning tool into their classrooms in a number of different ways.

“The teachers can really use it however they want to – they can use it in the classroom with small groups or with the whole class. It can also be assigned for homework,” Dr. Schmidt said.

The program also provides online assistance from a live and certified teacher.

If students are struggling with a problem and are not arriving at the correct answer, instructional “hints” will be offered.  If the hints are not helpful, avatars – unique cartoon characters – will also provide assistance and once an incorrect answer is given three times, a teacher will arrive online and guide the students to completing the problem correctly.

While Imagine Learning will benefit the students individually, it also provides an invaluable resource to the teachers, including reports of students’ progress. The data will assist teachers in determining which of their learning goals have been met and what content areas may need reinforcing.

“It’s 100 percent data-driven,” Dr. Schmidt offered, noting the success the implementation of Imagine Learning brought to the schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit where he previously served as associate superintendent of Catholic schools.

“It changed the whole educational paradigm. So, when I had the opportunity to bring it here, I jumped at the chance.  It really is such a great tool and I am thrilled that the Diocese is able to participate in using it,” he said.