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Hanson (SD) School District

/Academy Interventions

Download PDF version of this articleAll good cooks know that you can’t make a delicious meal without quality ingredients — just like all educators know that quality reading and math skills are essential for a sound education. In Alexandria, South Dakota, the Hanson School District has implemented the Academy of READING® and Academy of MATH® as part of its recipe for successful students.

With the support of district administrators, Principal Kevin Lein began using the AutoSkill programs at the beginning of March and allowed any interested teachers the opportunity to pre-test their students if they were willing to commit to the program. It was clear that the teachers were excited about the prospect, since the entire K-8 and about 75 percent of the high school utilized the AutoSkill programs during the final weeks of the spring term.

“Adding the (AutoSkill) programs was really like hiring another teacher — one that has expertise in teaching and has the ability to fill in some of the ‘education gaps’ that some of our students have accumulated.  This is the best use of our resources for time, personnel and achievement. It has exceeded our expectations dramatically.”
Kevin Lein, High School Principal

“Despite only completing about a third to a half of the program (depending on the student), the gains were remarkable,” Lein said. “We had a .7 gain in both math and reading overall. More importantly, a good number of students we had targeted for specific needs (those not receiving special education services but lagging behind their development) saw significant gains.”

Both the award-winning Academy of READING and the Academy of MATH have proven their effectiveness in schools across the country and around the world. These products are helping teachers establish the fundamental reading and math skills that students need to realize their full potential.

“What I like best about AutoSkill is the esteem it has built in many of our students. Consciously or subconsciously, we have students that are showing conspicuous confidence not seen previously due to their improvement,” Lein said. “You can see it not only in their daily and summative evaluations, but even in the attitudes they emit regarding school and school tasks. At the outset, we assumed if this program helped one student per grade to new heights, we would feel success and worth in the implementation. It has exceeded our expectations dramatically.”

As an eductator, you know a successful educational experience has the power to extend beyond the classroom and facilitate the development of essential life skills. It’s about acquiring self-confidence. It’s about gaining access to life’s opportunities. AutoSkill is committed to helping students of all ages improve their literacy skills, through effective and research-based software solutions.

At Hanson, the students averaged seven months of skill development in the mere eight weeks that students worked on Academy of READING. They started with 77 students scoring “Below Basic” on the pre-test. Post-testing revealed that after less than a semester’s work with the Academy of READING, 34 Hanson students improved their reading to place better than “Below Basic”.

Based on original scientific research and proven to build fluency in the foundation skills of reading and math, AutoSkill products are improving student achievement in thousands of schools across the U.S., Canada and Europe. Of the 217 students participating in the Academy of READING at Hanson, 100 students gained at least one level of skill, and 50 of those students actually gained two or more levels.

“For a small school such as ours, we simply cannot hire extra personnel to help students with the fundamental aspects of reading and math,” Lein said. “Adding the (AutoSkill) programs was really like hiring another teacher — one that has expertise in teaching and has the ability to fill in some of the ‘education gaps’ that some of our students have accumulated. This is the best use of our resources for time, personnel and achievement.”

As for students who worked on the Academy of MATH, 66 percent made gains during the eight-week program. Hanson’s post-test data showed that over 60 of these students tested as “Advanced”, compared to only 13 students recognized as “Advanced” on the pre-test.

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.

“I would most definitely recommend AutoSkill to another school principal or district superintendent,” Lein said. “I would say there are two things that must be a part of implementation — clear rationale for pursuit of this method of instruction and total commitment by the majority of staff. We’re so lucky at Hanson — our staff will do literally anything for the continued development and achievement of EVERY student,” Lein said. “The combination of sound intervention programs such as the Academy of READING and Academy of MATH, implemented by such a dedicated staff, is helping to ensure no Hanson student is left behind.”

AutoSkill is committed to helping educators – teachers, principals, and district administrators – help students establish the fundamental literacy skills and achieve permanent gains in both reading and math. Using a brain-based approach that incorporates automaticity, extended practice and motivation, AutoSkill solutions provide a universal mechanism for the development of permanent reading and math foundation skills. Students of all ages in a wide range of learning environments demonstrate significant progress with just 30 minutes of training a day, three to five days per week.