It’s said that one of the perks of teaching is the built-in three month summer vacation. Fortunately for the students at North Vernon (IN) Elementary School, their education professionals don’t necessarily take summer “off”. A discovery at a summer school program several years ago has led to increased literacy skills for the kids at North Vernon.
Originally, educators at North Vernon added the Academy of READING by AutoSkill to just their summer school program. For two years, the powerful intervention solution was offered as part of their “Summer Academy”. However, they soon realized the positive impact that the program can have on children who struggle with reading. As a result of those summer school successes, they decided to implement the program for the 2006-07 school year. And in 2008, they added the Academy of MATH to their lineup. The results have been quite dramatic for the school.
Mary Carney, Assistant Principal
In just the first year of using the Academy of READING, 68% of the students mastered 12 to 18 skills and 27% mastered 20 or more skills. The implementation plan scheduled students on the Academy of READING program four times a week in 20 minute intervals.
In addition to the powerful Academy of READING assessment tool, the educators at North Vernon also used other leading assessments to confirm these encouraging results, including the Flynt-Cooter assessment and the Rigby Benchmark. Throughout the course of the school year the Flynt-Cooter was administered four times and the Rigby Benchmark was given on five occasions — all confirmed that North Vernon’s second graders were making real, lasting gains in literacy.
“We are extremely pleased with the Academy of READING — we really are,” assistant principal Mary Carney said. “All the students that were started on the Academy of READING were at least a year behind in their reading skills. Now the vast majority are at or above grade level. It has really brought student performance up to where they need to be to compete.”
Based on extensive research and proven in thousands of elementary, middle and high schools, the award-winning Academy of READING delivers a powerful intervention software solution that helps at-risk students achieve rapid gains in reading. The Academy of READING uses a patented methodology with an adaptive intervention engine, skill mastery based on automaticity and motivational principles to build fluency in the foundation skills of reading.
“Having been a special education teacher for over 30 years, I knew that any intervention solution we added had to be strong on Phonics and Phonemic Awareness, it had to offer incentives to the students and it had to have a way to measure success and track progress. The Academy of READING does all that,” Carney said. “Currently we have 97 students enrolled in Academy of READING,” said Carney. “It has really filled a need here.”
Less than 40 percent of North Vernon’s 2nd grade students involved in their previous intervention showed any sustained improvement. Of the 97 students currently enrolled in the Academy of READING, 82 percent are showing progress in the acquisition of the skills presented.
AutoSkill delivers an adaptive, individualized training experience for each student. The program uses a patented methodology with an adaptive intervention engine and motivational principles to help students build confidence and fluency in the foundation skills of reading and math.
With the addition of the Academy of MATH at North Vernon, their success has grown even more. “84 percent of the 44 students enrolled in the Academy of MATH, initiated in November (2008), are making significant gains,” said Carney.
“I currently have four students targeted for Academy of MATH interventions,” Andrea Kent, 6th grade resource teacher for students with mild disabilities, said. “These special education students really enjoy Academy of MATH. While they do think it is challenging, they all agree that it is still enjoyable. They are self-motivated by the trophies and the pictures presented on the puzzles. After eight on-task hours, one of my students has improved an entire grade level.”
Proven to deliver significant gains, the Academy of MATH is a reader-friendly math intervention software solution that helps at-risk elementary, middle and high school students develop computational fluency. Using a patented methodology that incorporates an adaptive intervention engine and positive motivation principles, the Academy of MATH builds foundation math skills for beginner through to algebra-ready students.
“I gave the post test to my five students that have been on-task in the Academy of MATH program five or more hours,” Laura Pate, Title 1 math teacher, said. “All five students have made positive level gains, ranging from 0.2 to one full grade level. I also had three students, when benchmarked on the DIBELS Math Assessment, improved from ‘deficient’ (red) on the beginning of the year assessment to ‘established’ (green) on the middle of the year assessment.”
North Vernon’s gains in math and reading showing up where it counts at the state level: standardized testing.
The Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus (ISTEP+) is an annual testing regimen designed by the Indiana Department of Education to encourage students to master basic language and science skills, particularly reading, writing and mathematics. At North Vernon, success showed up not only in the classroom, but in the ISTEP+ date too.
“Looking at Fall 2008 ISTEP+ data, we noted that nine of the ten students enrolled in the Academy of READING program as second graders in 2006-07 passed the ISTEP+ as fourth graders,” said Carney. “And 11 of 16 students enrolled in the Academy of READING program as second graders in 2007-08 passed the ISTEP+ as third graders in the fall of 2008. This is additional evidence that the Academy of READING supports sustained improvement.”
The award-winning Academy of READING helps at-risk students build fluency in reading foundation skills in five core areas defined by the National Reading Panel, while the Academy of MATH develops computational fluency in math foundation skills in ten areas that align to NCTM standards. It not only gives students the skills they need to succeed at grade level, but it gives them the edge they need to be successful down the road.
“Academy of MATH has been a great supplemental math program,” Emi Greathouse, primary teacher for students with mild disabilities, said. “Since implementing the program several months ago, my students have mastered a range from seven to 46 skills. These students are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to using Academy of MATH on a daily basis.”
By introducing the Academy of READING and Academy of MATH to North Vernon students, educators have seen great strides both on the individual level, and for the school as a whole. The students now receive the educational building blocks they need to succeed year after year.