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Tri-Valley Elementary School

/Academy Interventions

Download PDF version of this articleEducators are always looking for new techniques that can help students succeed in the classroom. Lately, Tri-Valley Elementary School in Colton, South Dakota, has been focused on the school-wide implementation of Academy of READING and Academy of MATH. According to Principal Dr. Marice Highstreet, the teachers at Tri-Valley have aggressively integrated the Academy of READING and Academy of MATH programs into their classrooms this year.

“These data-driven programs have proven to be beneficial to our students because they allow the teachers to precisely analyze individual student work and achievement and to tailor their curriculum and instruction in order to meet each child’s needs,” said Highstreet. “Consequently, we are excited about the gains that our students are experiencing and look forward to improved post-testing results.”

“I would definitely recommend the Academy of READING and Academy of MATH programs to any South Dakota school. These programs offer the opportunity for students to work at their ability and this gives the teachers confidence of knowing all children are being properly challenged.”
Barb Meyer, Title 1 Teacher

Barb Meyer, a Title 1 teacher at Tri-Valley who helps to coordinate the program, has been using the AutoSkill programs, Academy of READING and Academy of MATH for approximately nine years and feels strongly that both help students of varying abilities. But it wasn’t until this year that Tri-Valley began implementing Academy of READING and Academy of MATH as a part of the curriculum for all classes. Teachers are confident they’ll see the gains they know are possible.

“I like that I can monitor how the students are progressing or not progressing. I can look at their training and see where they need help. I can then pull any Academy of MATH students that are struggling with the same concept and work with them as a group,” said Meyer. “Often just a brief training session will help them get back on track and master that level. I can also monitor those Academy of READING students who are working too fast and getting too many wrong. I can encourage them to slow down — to get them right.”

Developed from original, neuroscience research and patented algorithms for subskills diagnosis, Academy of READING and Academy of MATH are proven to work. The pedagogical model 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.

In just five months working with the Academy of MATH, 30 percent of students have made at least one level of gain, with many improving even more than that. Teachers throughout Tri-Valley are seeing results and are continuing to spread the word about these impressive software intervention programs that are helping their students succeed.

Feedback about the Academy of READING program includes:

“As a 2nd grade teacher, primary literacy is of the utmost importance. The Academy of READING program has been instrumental in helping students achieve success in my classroom. Because the program is set up to individualize instruction to each student’s needs, they are able to learn the skills they need, at their own pace. The reinforcement of these skills has given my 2nd grade students the confidence to succeed as proficient readers.”

–Teresa Hillberg, 2nd Grade Teacher

“I have three students who have passed all of the first grade material in Academy of READING. I feel like the program has been able to challenge these particular children at their specific levels at times when I am not able to. I have also observed this year that some of the students who have made the most progress in Academy of READING are the same students who have made big gains in our guided reading program.”

–Jessica Vandrovec, 1st Grade Teacher

“I have an ELL student who speaks very little English. After trying numerous programs, we recently put her on Academy of READING. Since starting the program, she has excelled far above what anyone thought she would. Academy of READING has greatly improved her sound recognition and reading skills. She loves getting on the program and is improving everyday.”

–Gina Sershen, 5th Grade Teacher

Tri-Valley also had similar praise for the Academy of MATH, including:

“The students love Academy of MATH. They are constantly telling me about the awards they have won — even students that I don’t have in my class. The puzzles in both Academy of READING and Academy of MATH are exciting for the children to uncover.”

–Barb Meyer, Title 1 Teacher

“This is the first year I have used The Academy of MATH program. What I appreciate about this program is that my students take a placement test to start them at an appropriate level and from there they progress at a pace that suits their individual needs. What do I hear day after day during classroom instruction? ‘Mrs. Hillberg, I did this in Academy of MATH!’ We all get what we want from the program — I get reinforcement of skills I am teaching in the classroom and my students are proud and confident learners.”

–Teresa Hillberg, 2nd Grade Teacher

“I have found the Academy of MATH program to be effective for the majority of my students. We visit the computer lab for 15 minutes every day, alternating between math and reading. The students love when they pass a level and get to take home an award. I like that I can log on at any time and check the progress of my students and find where they might be getting stuck. I also like how the program knows when children are not focused or just guessing at answers and doesn’t allow them to move on to the next level.”

–Jessica Vandrovec, 1st Grade Teacher