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Five Lakes (MN) Elementary

/Academy Interventions

Download PDF version of this articleWith schools across the country struggling to keep up with national standards in reading and math, many districts search for additional help. But while the list of software intervention solutions may seem extensive, finding the right fit is absolutely essential for a district’s success. Educators at Five Lakes Elementary School in Fairmont, Minnesota, are convinced that the Academy of READING and Academy of MATH programs are the fit they’ve been looking for. More importantly, they’re seeing results.

“We read an article that said AutoSkill was the top rated intervention program on the market, so we decided to give it a try,” said Jodi Kristenson, Literacy Coordinator at Five Lakes. The school currently utilizes the 10 User Suite — which includes both the Academy of READING and Academy of MATH as well as the Spanish Tutor.

“I’m very pleased with the focus on automaticity that the Academy of READING offers. Teachers can’t possibly offer the amount of individualized instruction and practice that the computers can and this constant repetition makes it effective for students.”
Jodi Kristenson, Literacy Coordinator

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. At Five Lakes, students from grades 3-6 who have low math scores come in before school or during their social studies hour to get help with their math skills by using the Academy of MATH.

“I’m very pleased with the Academy of MATH; in just a short time period, our student scores have gone way up,” said Kristenson. “After one trimester, we looked at the scores and saw that out of 25 students, every single one of them increased. I would definitely attribute this gain to the Academy of MATH.”

Interactive and engaging, the Academy of MATH makes the learning process a captivating one, maintaining students’ focus and encouraging meaningful time-on-task. The Academy of MATH provides constant encouragement through an animated ComputerTutor, awards and printable certificates given to students each time they master a skill area. This tangible recognition of success allows learners to demonstrate their accomplishments to their peers, teachers and parents.

“At the high school level, all students who have not met their math and reading scores come out during their study hall, before or after school to work with the Academy of READING and MATH,” said Kristenson. “We’ve got about 60-70 students involved in the AutoSkill programs at this level, and we’re very happy with the results so far.”

As students progress with the Academy of MATH, their development is closely monitored to identify common errors, areas of weakness and total time on task. This information is captured in student, classroom and school level reports, available to educators and administrators.

Just as the Academy of MATH has proven extremely beneficial to students, educators and administrators at Five Lakes, the Academy of READING is an equally impressive intervention tool used in the district. Developed from original, neuroscience research and patented algorithms for subskills diagnosis, the Academy of READING incorporates task-analysis to break skills down into simpler components, automaticity to build fluency and positive feedback and motivational elements to boost confidence and self-esteem.

Powerful, flexible and sophisticated, the Academy of READING produces the measurable improvements in basic reading skills that educators and administrators are under increasing pressure to deliver.

“Three students were two grade levels behind and went to grade level in just one trimester, while four students tested out of the program,” said Kristenson. “I would attribute this gain to the sequential and spiral practice offered through the AutoSkill programs.”

For each skill area and level, students build conceptual knowledge, computational fluency and strategic competence in a short amount of time. At Five Lakes, students were placed in the Academy of READING program from the beginning of October to the end of November, and every single student improved.

The Academy of READING offers a structured and sequential intervention program that helps struggling students become proficient readers. Students develop fluency in foundation reading skills through focused training in phonemic awareness, sound symbol association, phonics and decoding, and comprehension.

It’s very effective. The program allows us to see errors that the students are making, analyze the errors, and then intervene to help with the learning process,” said Kristenson. “I’m very pleased with the focus on automaticity that the Academy of READING offers. Teachers can’t possibly offer the amount of individualized instruction and practice that the computers can, and this constant repetition makes it effective on students.”