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Volume 22, Issue 3 Fall/Winter 2011

SHARE magazine

A Perfect Landscape:

Down to a Science: We Commend The Exemplary Labs For 2010-2011

The Science of

Success

CEI partnership with Sharyland ISD bears valuable fruit

Hypothesis

proven

Killeen’s Sugar Loaf Elementary Follows the Scientific Method to Create Three Successful Labs

Til the Cowboys come home: The tradition of excellence continues In Woodson


SHARE Magazine

© Copyright 2011 by Creative Education Institute® (CEI®) All Rights Reserved. For further information, call 1.800.234.7319. Publisher: Managing Editor: Contributing Editor: Design and Art:

Ric Klein Robin Wilson Lesley Mullen Robin Wilson

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Essential Learning Systems® (ELS®), Mathematical Learning Systems® (MLS®), Science Learning Systems® (SLS®), Science Vocabulary Essentials™ (SVE™) CEI Evaluate™, Letter Recognition® (LR®), CEI Learning Manager™ (CLM™), Quick Tales™ and eQuick Tales™ are registered trademarks of Creative Education Institute®.

3 From the Editor

PRINTED BY: AMA Nystrom Printing/Finishing Waco, Texas 254.776.8860

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WRITE TO US: We welcome your letters, testimonials, photos, and stories about your students. The editor reserves the right to determine the suitability of letters for publication and to edit them for accuracy and for length. If you would like to submit photographs, you may send printed copies or digital copies via snail mail or e-mail; if you would like your printed copies or digital media returned to you, please indicate so in your mailing.

maga zi n e

Volume 22, Issue 3 Fall/Winter 2011 Table of Contents

The science of success For almost 25 years, we’ve believed that each and every one of those students can learn. In fact, we’ve made it our mission to develop intervention programs to aid in that endeavor. Our results reveal that what we’re doing is working….

Down to a science

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CEI congratulates the 2010-2011 Exemplary Labs. Regardless of how long they’ve been our partners, all of these labs have one thing in common…. They have running a CEI lab down to a science!

A Perfect Landscape

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In order to include a student’s photograph in our publication, we must have a signed copy of the Permission to Reprint form on file before the issue goes to press. You may download the form from the SHARE Magazine page on our website at http://www.ceilearning.com/share.htm.

CEI is proud to partner with Sharyland’s rich heritage and to play a role in helping the district accomplish its goals for the students. We believe this remarkable partnership makes Sharyland ISD a perfect landscape for academic, social, and professional success.

In the Spotlight: Sharyland ISD’s Dr. Melissa Martinez and Tina Ramos

22 WRITE: SHARE Magazine Creative Education Institute P.O. Box 7306 Waco, Texas 76714-7306

E-MAIL: SHARE@ceilearning.com info@ceilearning.com

support line: 888.511.4194

WEBSITE: www.ceilearning.com

Hypothesis Proven 26

A Study of How Killeen’s Sugar Loaf Elementary Followed the Scientific Method to Create Three Successful Labs

Til the Cowboys come home

FAX: 888.475.2402

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The tradition of excellence in Woodson continues as Joy Brown and her students celebrate another Exemplary Lab award.

http://www.facebook.com/ceilearning

http://twitter.com/CEI_learning

30 … And the Phenomena Continues

36 Firefighters

31 From our Partners

37 Community Organizers

32 The Constants

38 Dreaming, Planning, and Believing!

33 Emphasis Added 33 Continuing the Tradition 34 Ten Edinburg MLS Labs Earn Exemplary Status in Initial Year of Operation

39 Consistency is Key to Westwood Elementary ELS Lab Success 40 Five McAllen ISD Labs Honored as Exemplary


from the

editor

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’m willing to bet that even those who aren’t musicians like I am can answer this famous question: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Yes, that’s right.... Practice, practice, practice! Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. We laugh, but while it may be an old saw, that saw still has teeth. Developing the musical ability required to perform at one of the most prestigious musical venues in the world requires lots of practice. In fact, research indicates that it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything. The thing is, just practicing alone won’t do it.... No, there’s more to it than that. The practice has to be perfect practice. I’ve been reminded of this repeatedly as I’ve worked with my goddaughter Sarah, who started learning the trumpet this year. Sarah is fortunate to go to a school that has an excellent beginning band program. She has a very talented and experienced director. If I remember correctly, her director’s primary instrument is the trumpet. She’s in a class of like instruments, which, as a former band director myself, I can attest makes a world of difference when you’re trying to teach critical content to beginning musicians. She’s really in an ideal setting for a beginner. But there’s one thing that’s true in the world of beginning band, no matter what the environment might be: it’s always a challenge to give beginners the individualized attention they need when they’re starting on the instrument in a class setting. Sarah’s mother was a choir member, not a band nerd like me, which was a slight disadvantage in this situation. That, combined with the whole mothertrying-to-help-daughter-with-homework dynamic, made for some pretty tense afternoon practice sessions … some of them so tense that Sarah even hinted that she may not want to continue with this band thing. What?! She can’t just quit! That’s where I came in. Although my primary instrument isn’t trumpet, I have one, and I can do a decent job on it. So I took my trumpet to Sarah’s, and we set up a semi-regular schedule for practicing together. The first time I met with her, Sarah pulled out her method book … I think

perhaps halfway expecting me to sit down and join her in playing through the lines they had covered in class. But I didn’t do that. Instead, we took the first few notes she had learned, and we concentrated on the sound Sarah made when she produced them. If you’ve ever played a wind instrument, you know that there are lots of things at play there: the instrument itself and how you hold it — your posture, your hand position, your fingers — along with your lips, your teeth, your tongue, and your airstream, just to name a few. For beginning trumpet players, this can be quite a daunting combination, as it’s possible to play multiple different pitches when pressing a particular valve or combination of valves. You have to develop a “feel” for where certain pitches “land.” Using the proper lip pressure, tongue position, and air speed are all critical to playing with a characteristic tone. But sometimes, the gears just don’t work together well at first. It was my task to make sure this complicated process didn’t come to a grinding halt. So we played these tones over and over. When one didn’t sound the way I thought it should, I tried to encourage Sarah, I asked her what she thought she could do to correct or improve, and we tried again. And we celebrated when she was successful. We began every session with a focus on getting a good tone. When we did move into the book, we broke down the exercises and the sections within them that gave Sarah trouble, and we practiced them in smaller “chunks,” making adjustments and corrections before we put the entire exercise together. Due to my schedule, there have been some weeks that I haven’t gotten to work with Sarah, and I haven’t always been able to reinforce my method of practicing. Sarah still attends class regularly, she practices with her friends before school, and she takes her trumpet home to practice. But when her director or I can’t work with her one-on-one, we can’t ensure that she’s practicing everything she should be on her own. When we’re not with her, we can’t reinforce the fundamentals of tone production, of reading music, or of counting rhythms. We can’t focus on the specific areas with which Sarah struggles. We can’t make sure she spends the time she needs to spend on

particular passages. We can’t prevent her from becoming distracted. We can’t offer corrective feedback. And last, but certainly not least, we can’t encourage and motivate her. Not surprisingly, during those times, Sarah doesn’t do as well on her performance assessments. Recently, I was talking with Sarah’s mother about the band experience, and she — a veteran CEI consultant and trainer herself — pointed out that Sarah’s experience has been a lot like what we’ve observed with kids learning to read or to do math. In some ways, it’s been exactly the same; Sarah has experienced the typical struggles anyone has when learning to do something new. But in some ways, Sarah’s experience is a stark contrast to that of many of your students. Sarah has done very well in her first few months on the instrument. She’s got a great band director. She doesn’t have any neurological or physical difficulties that prevent her from playing her instrument. She’s selfmotivated enough to want to improve. She has a wide network of people who can help her, and she has an excellent support system at home. Unfortunately, many of your students don’t experience the same positives Sarah has. When they’re learning how to read or to do math, sometimes, all the gears just don’t work together well at first. Often, the students don’t receive the individual attention, the time, the practice, the feedback, and the encouragement they need. And some of them just quit. But that’s where you come in. CEI partners are experts at giving their students everything they need to achieve academic, social, and professional success. And in this issue, we celebrate those who have managing Essential Learning Systems and Mathematical Learning Systems labs down to a science … our 2010-2011 Exemplary Lab award winners. We congratulate them, and we wish all of our partners a fantastic 20112012 school year. Best Wishes for Success,

Robin Wilson Editor, SHARE Magazine

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For the past four academic years, our final SHARE Magazine of the school year has included our remarkable “Who’s Who” section, a smorgasbord of student success features, each one a testimony to the fact that Creative Education Institute accelerates learning in reading and math. For each student we included, there were thousands more in schools across the United States — in public schools, private schools, charter schools, religious schools, after-school programs, community-based programs, adult education centers, and rehabilitation centers. The faces in those “Who’s Who” features represent the diversity of struggling learners in America — age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English proficiency, and ranges of learning difficulties and/or disabilities. CEI serves them all. And for almost 25 years, we’ve believed that each and every one of those students can learn. In fact, we’ve made it our mission to develop intervention programs to aid in that endeavor. Our results reveal that what we’re doing is working….

The Science of

Success Creative Education Institute www.ceilearning.com

SHARE Magazine Fall/Winter 2011

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The average gains for each subgroup are about the same for each ethnic group, for each age group, for each level of school, for English-language learners, for dyslexics, for each socioeconomic level, and even for students with other reading and mathematics learning disabilities.

And that doesn’t surprise us at all. Our programs are intentionally highly individualized so that each learner gets exactly what he needs for success.

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any have asked exactly what it is that we do that truly accelerates learning. Lots of publishers say they do, but the truth is that they don’t, except for very small populations of students — usually the so-called “bubble kids.” But time and time again, these programs leave behind those who struggle to learn. There are many students who, for one reason or another, are behind, and many of them are simply not able to access the grade-level curriculum — even with tutoring or re-teaching. They lack the foundational knowledge and skills that are prerequisites for learning. That’s why CEI is unique. We understand the major causes for learning difficulties: economic disadvantages, learning disabilities (including dyslexia and dyscalculia), and lack of proficiency in English. For students struggling with any of these, standards-based mandates and spending more time only on the grade-level curriculum are wastes of time. Persistence in focusing only on THE curriculum can be a disaster for the students involved. At CEI, we seek to serve those lowest performing learners — because we know they can learn if given the appropriate instruction. And they do, as the evidence proves time and time again! Students in CEI’s labs across the country typically gain far more than one year of learning for one year of instruction. Such true acceleration is critical if schools are ever going to be able to narrow the achievement gap.

So, what it is about CEI programs that enables those kinds of gains?

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Our programs teach

critical content.

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he first step in creating an effective intervention is in designing instruction that includes only the most critical content in a subject area. Students who are two or more years behind their peers need to focus entirely on what matters most: the foundational knowledge and skills that they must have to perform successfully at the next level. Given the repetition and practice that are required for mastery of this content, every moment of time that can be saved in instruction can be devoted to move the most critical content into long-term memory, which is, after all, the goal of all instruction. CEI’s correlation of ELS with the findings of the National Reading Panel (NRP) shows that we do exactly this. The NRP concludes that the most critical things to teach beginning and/or struggling readers are phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. ELS teaches those, and it includes two more critical topics — letter recognition and spelling. Critical content may vary among populations. For example, in the Fall 2010

issue of SHARE, we published an article on “Why ELS Works for Dyslexics.” For these students, the most critical concepts and skills include phonological awareness, explicit instruction in spelling, and fluency development. Other ELS topics are also important, of course, but the ones listed are the areas of emphasis, since they most likely are the ones of most need for this population. In the same issue of SHARE, “Why ELS Works for ELLs” discussed instruction critical for learning English: phonemic awareness in English, letter recognition (for those not literate in a home language or whose home language does not use the English alphabet), English vocabulary development, and, of course, fluency. Evidence of our curriculum emphasis for MLS is in our correlation to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Curriculum Focal Points and to our alignment with the National Mathematics Advisory Panel report. According to research studies, students fail algebra, regardless of whether they have learning difficulties

or disabilities, for three major reasons: 1.

lack of fact fluency;

2.

lack of understanding of operations algorithms, particularly long-division; and

3.

lack of understanding of fraction concepts and operations.

Understanding the reasons for math difficulties makes clear why just the re-teaching of algebra does not work. Rather, what students need is the kind of therapeutic approach offered in MLS, along with an appropriate focus on developing these prerequisite skills. MLS’ dual approach develops math concepts and provides the repetition and practice required for fact fluency. CEI developed SVE because of the documented need for a standards-aligned program that would provide efficient and effective instruction in science vocabulary. Struggling learners, whether economically disadvantaged, learning disabled, or limited

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in English proficiency, typically have weak vocabularies in general. This is especially true of the technical vocabulary in science since many of the words and terms are not used in everyday English. Even when an everyday word like “matter” appears, its meaning is something entirely different from what it is in a science context. SVE provides explicit, systematic instruction in the critical vocabulary students in grades 3-8 must know in order to demonstrate mastery of the science standards.

Our programs provide

individualized instruction.

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ome of the oldest and most credible scientific studies indicate that effective interventions use technology to provide individualization so that each student spends time only on the concepts and skills that she has not already mastered. CEI programs do precisely that. ELS, MLS, and SVE all include assessments that help educators determine exactly what material each student has mastered. ELS and SVE both employ lesson sequences and settings that individualize decisions about which tasks an individual student will complete, in what order, and how many times. Although MLS doesn’t incorporate sequences, it does use a similar strategy in placing a student at the appropriate level and assigning tasks, difficulty level, and range in the fluency strand. Parameter settings, scaffolding options, and the individual coaching conducted by the lab teacher/facilitator add to the individualization of each program. These strategies accelerate because they prevent students from wasting time on something they already know. And, they keep students from becoming frustrated and unmotivated if the instruction they are receiving is too difficult. In other words, CEI ensures that students are taught in what the renowned learning theorist Vygotsky termed the “zone of proximal development.” Lab teachers/facilitators also individualize. Because the facilitator carefully monitors student performance, she can use her observations and the data generated in daily and periodic reports to adapt and modify the program. This is one of the most powerful ways to individualize the instruction, but it doesn’t stop there. The facilitator continues to individualize as she

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coaches each student, as she encourages each student to stay on task and keep working, and as she provides individual differentiated instruction as needed.

Our programs

Our programs employ

for quicker acquisition.

multisensory p r o ce ss i n g strategies.

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o one disputes that students learn differently, that each one has different learning strengths and weaknesses, and that each one has learning preferences. Cognitive science has established that the more modalities are used in encoding information, the more flexibility the learner has in retrieving that information and being able to apply it. Research on effective teaching indicates that students who are learning English as a second language, students who are learning disabled (including dyslexics), and students with economic disadvantages all benefit from multisensory instruction. The incorporation of this strategy is just one of the strengths of ELS, MLS, and SVE.

Our programs offer

direct instruction.

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esearch study after research study confirms that direct instruction is far superior to a more constructivist/ discovery approach for struggling learners. Direct instruction saves the student time by identifying precisely what it is that must be learned and by providing a total focus on that goal. Beginning and/ or struggling learners do not yet typically have enough knowledge in concepts or skills — or schemas — to benefit from more open-ended instruction. Direct instruction also prevents what is called extraneous cognitive load. Working memory is very limited when it comes to new learning. Following a constructivist approach with an inexperienced learner not only produces less learning; it can also actually prevent learning. Direct instruction is of further importance in that it saves time in the instructional process so that students can focus more on the practice/ repetition they need to achieve mastery.

chunk and cluster information

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powerful finding in cognitive psychology is that given the restraints in working memory, we can learn faster and more accurately if we chunk new information. In ELS, for example, students learn groups of words that are organized in sound patterns. More able learners can learn many of these words in one lesson, but for those who are challenged for whatever reason, the program allows the teacher/facilitator to break the chunks into even smaller pieces for easier and quicker acquisition. Similar adaptations are available in MLS — especially in the fluency strand — where the teacher/facilitator can limit the size or range of the new learning that is to be practiced. In SVE, teachers can select lessons that teach vocabulary related to a specific scientific topic.

Our programs adapt to provide necessary

practice and repetition.

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lmost all instructional programs include practice/repetition exercises, but only a very few provide enough practice for struggling learners to achieve the fluency/automaticity needed to master a concept or skill. Struggling learners and second-language learners may require anywhere from about 15 to more than 100 repetitions of new information for mastery. Teachers lack the time to develop and administer all these practice tasks, and they certainly lack the time to individualize them as CEI does with its software. Additionally, the kind of individualization and extensive practice/repetition required for struggling learners to be successful are very expensive to implement without incorporating computer-assisted instruction. That is one of the reasons we created ELS, MLS, and SVE. Another important finding is that the practice needs to be varied so that students stay engaged and motivated to continue. Again, CEI does that. In ELS, for instance, there are more than two dozen different tasks, each of which can be further varied with the options in the


parameter settings. MLS and SVE also have modifiable parameters that allow teachers to provide varied practice on lesson tasks.

Our programs offer

corrective feedback.

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ractice does not make perfect. As researchers have pointed out, there has to be perfect practice, or the student who is already behind wastes even more time by learning the wrong thing. That is why immediate, corrective feedback free of judgment and criticism is built into all CEI programs. Research verifies that it takes much longer to un-learn and then re-learn something than it would take to learn it correctly the first time. Immediate, corrective feedback, therefore, is part of what ensures that CEI’s programs truly accelerate.

to be learned — the shape of the word, the spelling of the word, a visual cue, the pronunciation of the word, the definition of the word, and the use of the word in context. Therefore, when a student learns a word, several connections are established in the brain, enabling the student to recall everything she knows about the word. The mastery criteria are set at very high levels so that the recall will be highly accurate, as well as rapid. Fluency is well established as one of the most important influences on comprehension. Science texts can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for some students to read, especially if the students are not already familiar with the very technical vocabulary that is prevalent. A major emphasis, therefore, in ELS, MLS and SVE, is fluency development in the most fundamental skills and knowledge — for quick and accurate retrieval.

Our programs

Our programs ensure

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develop fluency.

gain, cognitive science models relating to the importance of working memory and long-term memory emphasize that learners must be fluent in basic skills in order to become efficient and effective learners. Without high levels of decoding fluency, readers use all of their working memory just to decode text and leave nothing for comprehension. Even when a student can decode the words but lacks fluency in vocabulary, he may be able to “read” passages but not be able to understand their meaning. In mathematics, without fluency in basic math facts, the student spends so much working memory to do calculations that there is none left for problem solving. Even when students persevere in such slow-motion learning, they become very frustrated, and their motivation to keep working wanes. Fluency, defined as rapid and accurate recall, is one of the things that CEI’s programs do best, and that emphasis is also included in SVE. The design of SHARE activities includes every aspect of the word

time-on-task.

he scientific research on the importance of student engagement and time-on-task is abundant. The finding that academic learning time is related positively to more student learning is consistent in the research for both general education students and students with learning problems. Researchers have stated that American learners must receive at least 100 hours of instruction to make progress that is educationally equivalent to one grade level.

Narrowing the achievement gap through accelerated learning is sometimes an overwhelming expectation for schools. To do so requires appropriate interventions, but it also requires additional time-on-task. Second-language and learning-disabled students will likely require even more time — beyond core instruction — to catch up. CEI programs are highly motivating and typically engage students at a high level, so little time in class is wasted. ELS, MLS, and SVE all include a variety of tasks that require students to interact with and respond to the computer or the teacher/facilitator. Attendance typically improves for students in CEI labs, again enhancing and increasing learning time.

Our programs include

distraction Control .

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EI consciously fights to keep its instructional computer screens as clean and free of distractions as possible. Scientific evidence indicates that programs with animation; music or distracting sounds; busy or complex screens; a variety in layouts, colors, and fonts; and more entertainment than instruction dooms struggling learners to more failure. Cognitive psychology findings verify that none of us learns efficiently with those kinds of distractions, and learning is actually prevented for students who already struggle in such environments.

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Our programs

encourage and motivate Students.

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e not only acknowledge the need for motivation in the regular classroom, but we also know that there is a critical need for a motivation component in an intervention for struggling learners. This is true with math, reading, and science, and this need for motivation has no boundaries regarding age. Csikzentmihalyi, one of the foremost authorities on motivation, says we all want more of what he calls “flow,” or “the optimal experience,” which results from a series of conditions. When people reflect on how it feels when their experience is most positive, they mention at least one, and often all, of the following:

The experience usually occurs when we confront tasks we have a chance of completing.

The student’s learning goals are clear, and immediate auditory feedback is provided at each step.

We must be able to concentrate on what we are doing.

Lessons are not so challenging that they cause frustration, but they provide sufficient challenge to maintain the student’s interest.

We are usually able to concentrate because the task we have undertaken has clear goals and provides immediate feedback. We act with a deep but effortless involvement that makes us less aware of everyday life’s worries and frustrations. We can exercise a sense of control over our actions. Our self-concern disappears; yet paradoxically, our sense of self emerges stronger after the flow experience is over. The way we sense time passing is altered; hours pass by in minutes, or minutes can stretch out to seem like hours. The combination of all these elements causes a sense of deep enjoyment that is so rewarding people don’t mind expending a great deal of energy simply to be able to feel it. CEI, of course, wants every learner’s experience with ELS, MLS, and SVE to be a “flow” experience, so the features of “flow” are included in the design of each program: The program places the student at a level where he can complete the tasks. The design of the program, the use of headphones, and the engagement of the computer software make it possible for students to concentrate.

The student has a great deal of support, choice, and control as he works through the lessons. The student receives auditory praise when he responds correctly and encouragement when he does not so that he will be willing to try again. The student receives printed feedback and progress reports, which give him a feeling of accomplishment and a sense that his efforts are paying off. As a student is more and more successful, his self-image improves, and he becomes more motivated to keep working for mastery. We frequently tell a favorite story of ours during trainings and in-services to illustrate these points. While visiting a lab early in the school year, a CEI representative was captivated by a small boy who was very engaged in his work on one of the programs. A feature of CEI’s computerassisted instruction is the feedback, either praise for correct responses or encouragement to try again after an error. This small boy responded correctly, and the computer voice said, “Good job!” The boy looked around briefly, and then with a smile on his face, patted the computer monitor on its side and whispered, “Thanks!” That student was enjoying a “flow” experience, and it is our goal to provide a similar experience for all of our students.

These research-based principles are in CEI’s DNA! We’re obsessed with ensuring that they are incorporated in the design of each of our products. For almost 25 years, we have been accelerating the learning of all ages of struggling students — and changing not only their lives, but also the lives of their families! 10

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Down to a Science The 2010-2011 Exemplary Labs At CEI, we frequently talk about the importance of evaluating not only the differences between pre- and post-assessment measurements, but also the effectiveness of lab implementation. We call this “implementation with fidelity.” Another term from the field of psychology is “treatment integrity.” “Treatment integrity,” according to Lane, Bocian, MacMillan, and Gresham, “refers to the extent to which an intervention is implemented as originally designed. Treatment integrity reflects the accuracy and consistency with which each component of the treatment is implemented.” They continue: “In order to draw accurate conclusions about intervention outcomes, treatment integrity needs to be assessed.” Creative Education Institute www.ceilearning.com

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By Lesley Mullen CEI Client Support Manager As your Client Support Manager, it is my goal to ensure that all of us at CEI are providing you the support you need to achieve treatment integrity. It may sound simple, but in 16 years with the company, I have noticed that treatment integrity boils down to one thing…. If you run the programs according to CEI’s recommendations, you WILL get the results you want to see. Of course, nowadays, it’s not always prudent to take just one person’s word. But would you feel secure if you had the confirmation of … let’s say … 73 people? Okay, it’s actually 73 labs, this year’s Exemplary Lab recipients! CEI would like to congratulate the administrators and facilitators of all the following labs. Some have only been CEI partners for one year; others have worked with the company for way more than the 13 years we have awarded the honor of Exemplary status. Regardless of how long these labs have used CEI’s products, all of them have one thing in common…. They have running a CEI lab down to a science! 12

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The 2010-2011 Exemplary Labs Thirteenth Year Exemplary Labs

Academy Elementary – ELS, Academy ISD Christa McAuliffe Elementary, Brevard County Llano Elementary, Llano ISD Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary, Goose Creek CISD Twelfth Year Exemplary Labs

Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary – ELS, Edinburg CISD McCamey Primary School – ELS, McCamey ISD Eleventh Year Exemplary Labs

Economedes High School, Edinburg CISD Escandon Elementary, Edinburg CISD Escandon Elementary, McAllen ISD Francisco Barrientes Middle School, Edinburg CISD Incarnation School – ELS, Archdiocese of Chicago Jefferson Elementary School, Edinburg CISD Monte Cristo Elementary School, Edinburg CISD Trevino Elementary School, Edinburg CISD Visitation School, Kansas City, MO Second Year Exemplary Labs

Bandera Middle School – ELS, Bandera ISD Kline Whitis Elementary, Lampasas ISD

Academy Elementary – MLS, Academy ISD Avila Elementary School, Edinburg CISD Bellaire Elementary – MLS, Killeen ISD Duncan Elementary School – ELS, Killeen ISD Lincoln Elementary School – ELS, Edinburg CISD Manchester Academy – ELS Saegert Elementary School – ELS, Killeen ISD Saegert Elementary School – MLS, Killeen ISD St. Michael School Taylor Creek Elementary – ELS, Lampasas ISD Taylor Creek Elementary – MLS, Lampasas ISD Thigpen-Zavala Elementary School, McAllen ISD Truman Elementary School, Edinburg CISD

Seventh Year Exemplary Labs

First Year Exemplary Labs

Selman Elementary, Sealy ISD

Austin Elementary – MLS, Edinburg CISD Brewster Elementary School – ELS, Edinburg CISD Brewster Elementary School – MLS, Edinburg CISD Cano–Gonzalez Elementary – MLS, Edinburg CISD Duncan Elementary School – MLS, Killeen ISD E.B. Guerra Elementary School – MLS, Edinburg CISD Eisenhower Elementary School, Edinburg CISD Esparza Elementary – MLS, Edinburg CISD Hargill Elementary – ELS, Edinburg CISD Hargill Elementary – MLS, Edinburg CISD Incarnation School – MLS, Archdiocese of Chicago Lincoln Elementary School – MLS, Edinburg CISD Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary – MLS, Edinburg CISD McAuliffe Elementary, McAllen ISD Memorial Middle School – MLS, Edinburg CISD Seguin Elementary, McAllen ISD Sugar Loaf Elementary – ELS Room 1, Killeen ISD Sugar Loaf Elementary – ELS Room 2, Killeen ISD Sugar Loaf Elementary – MLS, Killeen ISD The Pine School – ELS, Stuart, FL Villarreal Elementary – ELS, Edinburg CISD Villarreal Elementary – MLS, Edinburg CISD Youth Development Center – MLS, Houston, TX

Woodson School, Woodson ISD Tenth Year Exemplary Labs

Cuero Junior High – ELS, Cuero ISD Grand Saline Intermediate, Grand Saline ISD Lampasas Middle School, Lampasas ISD Santa Gertrudis School, Santa Gertrudis ISD Westwood Elementary, Westwood ISD Eighth Year Exemplary Labs

Sixth Year Exemplary Labs

Navarro Elementary, McAllen ISD Fifth Year Exemplary Labs

Austin Elementary – ELS, Edinburg CISD Cuero Intermediate – ELS, Cuero ISD Cuero Intermediate – MLS, Cuero ISD Esparza Elementary – ELS, Edinburg CISD Fourth Year Exemplary Labs

B.L. Garza Middle School, Edinburg CISD Cuero Junior High – MLS, Cuero ISD Willow Springs Elementary – ELS, Killeen ISD Willow Springs Elementary – MLS, Killeen ISD Youth Development Center – ELS, Houston, TX Third Year Exemplary Labs

Bandera Middle School – SMLS, Bandera ISD Betts Elementary School, Edinburg CISD Cano–Gonzalez Elementary School – ELS, Edinburg CISD E.B. Guerra Elementary School – ELS, Edinburg CISD

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What Does it take to be named an exemplary Lab? At CEI, we already know you are doing everything you can to help your students to become successful. Show everyone else that you have running your CEI lab down to a science, and apply for CEI’s Exemplary status! This year, we have redesigned the applications for both ELS and MLS. You may request copies of the new applications from your Solutions Analyst, or you may email contest@ceilearning.com to request copies. When you receive the application, simply type or copy all of your answers into a single digital document for each product: Exemplary Lab Application for Mathematical Learning Systems

Exemplary Lab Application for Essential Learning Systems 1)

1)

What innovative methods have you incorporated to make your ELS lab exemplary?

Comments:

Comments: 2)

2)

Please indicate how many days a week your students attend lab: One

What innovative methods have you incorporated to make your MLS lab exemplary? Include processes or procedures that specifically help the students in your lab, reports you have created to track progress, motivation plans that have inspired the students to achieve, etc. Explain concrete gains and/or positive outcomes in your lab and overall program benefits to the students in the lab. CEI encourages you to include your lab participants’ scores on various assessmentsfederal or state-mandated testing measurements, benchmarking, math inventories, etc.to demonstrate other evidence of positive outcomes. This evidence includes improved grades, improved attendance, improved behavior, and other remarkable examples of academic and personal success.

Include processes or procedures that specifically help the students in your lab, reports you have created to track progress, motivation plans that have inspired the students to achieve, etc. Explain concrete gains and/or positive outcomes in your lab and overall program benefits to the students in the lab. CEI encourages you to include your lab participants’ scores on various assessmentsfederal or state-mandated testing measurements, benchmarking, reading inventories, etc.to demonstrate other evidence of positive outcomes. This evidence includes improved grades, improved attendance, improved behavior, and other remarkable examples of academic and personal success.

Two

Three

Four

Please indicate how many days a week your students attend lab: One

Five

Two

Three

Four

Five

CEI recommends that students attend the MLS lab five days a week to achieve optimal results. Discuss how you work with teachers and administrators to schedule students into the lab as often as possible.

CEI recommends that students complete SHARE five days per week to achieve optimal results. Discuss how you work with teachers and administrators to schedule students into the lab as often as possible.

Comments:

Comments: 3)

3)

Please indicate how many days a week your students complete SHARE: One

Two

Three

Four

Yes

Five

Comments:

Comments:

Below, please check the reports you print/view and analyze, and submit a copy of each one you use.

4)

Yes Yes Yes Yes

No No No No

Below, please check the reports you print/view and analyze, and submit a copy of each one you use. Concept Building Student Progress Chart (Please black out the student’s name.) Concept Building Lesson Printout (Please black out the student’s name.) Fluency Facts Report (Please black out the student’s name.) Fluency Lesson Printout (Please black out the student’s name.) CPM Summary Report for all students covering the range of dates you ran the lab (Please run the report using Student IDs instead of names.)

No

Discuss whether students complete the task manually or on the computer, detail how you motivate students to perform well, and describe how you handle students who have difficulty with the activity.

Student List (Please run the report using Student IDs instead of names.)

Comments: 6)

use their mats and manipulatives during the Tactile lessons? use the computer mouse during Illustrative lessons? use paper and pencil during the Problems and Assessment lessons? speak aloud during all Concept Building lessons?

Comments: 5)

Do students keep Long Term Recall up-to-date? Yes

students students students students

Describe your procedures for having students work their lessons and the methods and motivation systems you use to ensure that students follow those procedures.

Describe how often you print or you use these reports to communicate progress to students, parents, classroom teachers, and administrators. Comments:

Do students follow CEI’s recommendations for completing each Concept Building phase? Do Do Do Do

Pre-Test Printout for one of your students (Please black out the student’s name.) Post-Test Printout for one of your students (Please black out the student’s name.) CPM Summary Report for all students covering the range of dates you ran the lab (Please run the report using Student IDs instead of names.) ELS Continuous Progress Monitoring Report for an Individual Student (Please black out the student’s name.)

5)

No

Describe how the enhancement of allowing you to enter the student’s MLS Placement scores has helped with tracking lesson progress and recycling and discuss your guidelines for lesson completion, as well as any grade level objectives you have established.

Discuss any methods, sequences, or motivation systems that affect students’ ability to achieve this.

4)

Do students complete lessons in the order that the MLS Placement test and Mastery Cycle Guidelines suggest that they should?

Describe how often you print or you use these reports to communicate progress to students, parents, classroom teachers, and administrators.

How often and why do you adjust parameters and sequences to fit students’ individual needs, and how do you supervise parameter selection in Echo, Quick Pick, Quick Talk and Copy-Write? Do you adjust parameters to fit students’ individual needs? Do you adjust sequences to fit students’ individual needs? Do you use the “Use Task Parameters” option within the CLM?

Yes Yes Yes

No No No

Comments: 6)

Please indicate how many days a week your students complete Fluency exercises:

Once you add your attachments, you’re on the road to being an Exemplary lab. You can submit your materials one of two ways:  Email — Simply email your completed application and scanned documents, along with the PDF copy of your CEI statistical report to contest@ceilearning.com.  Mail — Print your completed application and attach your supplementary materials, including your CEI statistical report, and mail the hard copies to: CEI, Attn: Exemplary Lab Applications 4567 Lake Shore Drive Waco, TX 76710 If you email your application, please send it by the second Friday in June. If you mail hard copies, please make sure they are postmarked no later than the first Friday in June. Thank you for all you do to support your students. We look forward to reading about your lab, and more importantly, to recognizing you for your hard work and dedication!

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Exemplary Lab Interview for Essential Learning Systems What innovative methods have you incorporated to make your ELS lab exemplary? Include processes or procedures that specifically help the students in your lab, reports you have created to track progress, motivation plans that have inspired the students to achieve, etc. Explain concrete gains and/or positive outcomes in your lab and overall program benefits to the students in the lab. CEI encourages you to include your lab participants’ scores on various assessments — federal or state-mandated testing measurements, benchmarking, reading inventories, etc., — to demonstrate other evidence of positive outcomes. This evidence includes improved grades, improved attendance, improved behavior, and other remarkable examples of academic and personal success. Please indicate how many days a week your students attend the lab. CEI recommends that students complete SHARE five days per week to achieve optimal results. Discuss how you work with teachers and administrators to schedule students into the lab as often as possible. Please indicate how many days a week your students complete SHARE: Discuss any methods, sequences, or motivation systems that affect students’ ability to achieve this. Please submit a copy of each of the following reports you use. (On individual reports, please black out the student’s name.)  Pre-Test Printout for one of your students  Post-Test Printout for one of your students  CPM Summary Report for all students covering the range of dates you ran the lab (Please run the report using Student IDs instead of names.)  ELS Continuous Progress Monitoring Report for an Individual Student Describe how often you print or you use these reports to communicate progress to students, parents, classroom teachers, and administrators. Do students keep Long Term Recall up-to-date? Discuss whether students complete the task manually or on the computer, detail how you motivate students to perform well, and describe how you handle students who have difficulty with the activity.

How often and why do you adjust parameters and sequences to fit students’ individual needs, and how do you supervise parameter selection in Echo, Quick Pick, Quick Talk and Copy-Write?  Do you adjust parameters to fit students’ individual needs?  Do you adjust sequences to fit students’ individual needs?  Do you use the Use Task Parameters option within the CLM? Clarify how and when you change parameters or sequences, express how long you observe the student before making changes, describe reasons for making the changes, and discuss when you call the CEI Solutions Analyst to help determine necessary changes. Also, if you are using the Use Task Parameters option, please tell us how this enhancement has impacted the progress of your students. Do you provide carryover activities so that students can transfer the concepts they learn in your lab into other areas? Please describe any supporting activities, Web-based Activity Center tasks, or comprehension practice you incorporate to build upon what your students have learned on the program. Have your students made appropriate gains on the Diagnostic Screening Test: Reading (DST:R)? Include the CEI statistical report for the students in your lab. This report includes the gains for all students, as well as the results for individual students. You may also include the results from other testing. Do you communicate with the following people to achieve campus-wide enthusiasm and support for the program?  Administrators?  Faculty members?  Parents?  Community members? Discuss any techniques you use to inform people, describe any meetings or special events — open houses, news articles, or in-service presentations — that facilitate communication, and attach samples of the materials you use to accomplish this.

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Do you take advantage of the recognition opportunities that CEI makes available? Because positive recognition is so important, especially to those students who haven’t experienced academic success, please discuss how you take advantage of the recognition opportunities CEI provides through our Annual Creative Writing Contest, SHARE Magazine articles, and the annual Who’s Who collection.

kit, tell how the Toolkit has made document management easier for you, and discuss how often and why you refer to the ELS 9.0 User’s Guide included in the Toolkit. Do you have any additional information you would like CEI to consider while evaluating your application? List any other positive attributes — participation in Beta testing, Creative Writing Contest, etc. — or include testimonials or materials you think could affect your lab status.

Have you implemented the Facilitator’s Toolkit into your lab instruction? Please describe which documents you access most in the Tool-

Exemplary Lab Interview for Mathematical Learning Systems What innovative methods have you incorporated to make your MLS lab exemplary? Include processes or procedures that specifically help the students in your lab, reports you have created to track progress, motivation plans that have inspired the students to achieve, etc. Explain concrete gains and/or positive outcomes in your lab and overall program benefits to the students in the lab. CEI encourages you to include your lab participants’ scores on various assessments — federal or state-mandated testing measurements, benchmarking, math inventories, etc. — to demonstrate other evidence of positive outcomes. This evidence includes improved grades, improved attendance, improved behavior, and other remarkable examples of academic and personal success. Please indicate how many days a week your students attend the lab. CEI recommends that students attend the MLS lab five days a week to achieve optimal results. Discuss how you work with teachers and administrators to schedule students into the lab as often as possible. Do students complete lessons in the order that the MLS Placement and the Mastery Cycle Guidelines suggest that they should? Describe how the enhancement of allowing you to enter the student’s MLS Placement scores has helped with tracking lesson progress and recycling, and discuss your guidelines for lesson completion, as well as any grade level objectives you have established.

Do students follow CEI’s recommendations for completing each Concept Building phase?  Do students use their mats and manipulatives during

the Tactile lessons?  Do students use the computer mouse during Illustrative lessons?  Do students use paper and pencil during the Problems and Assessment lessons?

 Do students speak aloud during Concept Building lessons? Describe your procedures for having students work their lessons and the methods and motivation systems you use to ensure that students follow those procedures. Please submit a copy of each of the following reports you use. (On individual reports, please black out the student’s name.)  Concept Building Student Progress Chart  Concept Building Lesson Printout  Fluency Facts Report  Fluency Lesson Printout  CPM Summary Report for all students covering the range of dates you ran the lab (Please run the report using Student IDs instead of names.)  Student List (Please run the report using Student IDs instead of names.)

Describe how often you print or you use these reports to communicate progress to students, parents, classroom teachers, and administrators.

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Please indicate how many days a week your students complete Fluency exercises. Detail which students you place on Fluency and for how long, describe how you determine which facts the students should complete, and discuss how you ensure students speak aloud as they perform Echo and Quick Answer.

Have you implemented the Facilitator’s Toolkit into your lab instruction? Describe which documents you access most in the Toolkit, tell how the Toolkit has made document management easier for you, and discuss how often and why you refer to the MLS Teacher’s Manual included in the Toolkit.

Do you provide carryover activities so that students can transfer the concepts they learn in your lab into other areas? Describe how you use CEI Worksheets, Math Magic, Drawing Conclusions, Web-based Activity Center tasks, or other practice you incorporate to build upon what your students have learned on the program.

Do you have any additional information you would like CEI to consider while evaluating your application? List any other positive attributes — participation in Beta testing, Creative Writing Contest, etc. — or include testimonials or materials you think could affect your lab status.

Have your students made appropriate gains on the Diagnostic Screening Test: Math (DST:M)?

Please Turn to page 26 for extended features about some of the remarkable 20102011 Exemplary labs.

 Average yearly gain in Basic Processes  Average yearly gain in Addition  Average yearly gain in Subtraction  Average yearly gain in Multiplication  Average yearly gain in Division Include the CEI statistical report for the students in your lab. This report includes the gains for all students, as well as the results for individual students. Do you communicate with the following people to achieve campus-wide enthusiasm and support for the program?  Administrators?  Faculty members?  Parents?  Community members? Discuss any techniques you use to inform people, describe any meetings or special events — open houses, news articles, or in-service presentations — that facilitate communication, and attach samples of the materials you use to accomplish this. Do you take advantage of the recognition opportunities that CEI makes available? Because positive recognition is so important, especially to those students who haven’t experienced academic success, please discuss how you take advantage of the recognition opportunities CEI provides through our Annual Creative Writing Contest, SHARE Magazine articles, and the annual Who’s Who collection.

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A Perfect L By CEI Solutions Specialist Laura byrd

Photograph Š Mohamed Osama | Dreamstime.com


“Know ye the land of cedar and vine, Where the flowers ever blossom The beams ever twine, Where the soft wings of Zephyr Oppressed with perfume Wax faint o’er the gardens Of gull in their bloom Where the citron and orange, The fairest of fruit And the voice of the nightengale Never is mute Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky In color though varied, in beauty may vie.” “A Trip to Sharyland” by C. B. Fontain

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CEI partnership with Sharyland ISD bears valuable fruit

A

s you drive around the area of Sharyland in deep South Texas, the beautiful orange and grapefruit crops are very impressive. They are especially picturesque in the fall when the bright colored fruit look like Christmas ornaments against the dark green foliage. In the early Twentieth Century, people began settling in the area, mostly due to an invention by a man named John Shary. Shary developed an ingenious irrigation system in a very dry region to create a perfect landscape for the growing of many crops of fruit. As the area exploded in growth in the early 1920’s, it necessitated the creation of a school district. So was born Sharyland ISD. Today, Sharyland Independent School District is one of the fastest growing school districts in the Rio Grande Valley. By 2015, it is projected to nearly double in size from the 2005-2006 school year. The district serves students from six communities in Hidalgo County and has a broad range of ethnic, social and language backgrounds to accommodate. Through all of the growing pains — the building of several new elementary schools, a new junior high school and plans in the works for a second high school — the mission of Sharyland ISD has remained the same: “To provide the highest quality education possible to all students. To the fullest extent of their individual abilities, students will be provided the opportunity to develop the ability to think logically, independently and creatively and to communicate effectively. The district will promote the worth and dignity of all students and encourage them to become productive and responsible members of society.”

CEI is proud to partner with Sharyland’s rich heritage and to play a role in helping the district accomplish its goals for the students. The district has Essential Learning Systems (ELS) labs in all eight elementary schools. Last year,

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Sharyland ISD’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Melissa Martinez (left), with Curriculum Coordinator Tina Ramos

administrators added Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) to their summer school curriculum, and two elementary campuses have begun using the brand new Science Vocabulary Essentials (SVE) program just this fall. At CEI, we believe this remarkable partnership makes Sharyland ISD a perfect landscape for academic, social, and professional success. The district uses the ELS program as its dyslexia intervention program. However, once administrators have ensured that all of their dyslexic population is served, they open the program to any child who demonstrates difficulty in picking up reading skills or who needs to work on learning the English language. Curriculum Coordinator Tina Ramos notes that she encourages schools to use ELS as a preventative measure as much as an intervention. The very young students immediately begin attending the lab if test results indicate they are showing any signs of struggle in reading. According to Dr. Melissa Martinez, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, the Essential Learning Systems program used by the elementary reading labs “is one of the resources used to provide intervention to help students

achieve their full potential. “The ELS program helps the district obtain academic success for all students,” says Dr. Martinez. “Administrators, principals and teachers look for the opportunity to give students a self-paced intervention that meets students at their level and leads them on to success. This goes hand-in-hand with what the ELS program provides.” Dr. Martinez notes that with the modeling that goes on in the program, as well as the self-paced, multisensory, mastery learning philosophy, “It really complements the reading programs that we already have in place.” Ms. Ramos has worked with the district for 38 years. She first became familiar with the ELS program as a campus administrator. She remembers appreciating the program because the combination of computerized exercises and teacher/student interaction allows for a lot of individualization without sacrificing the human interaction. It also allows a larger number of students to be helped at the same time. Ms. Ramos explains, “We have used programs where the interaction was a more one-to-one or one-to-two student/


Sharyland ISD at a Glance Official Name: Sharyland Independent School District Founded: 1921 Motto: “Commitment, Cooperation and Communication” Mission Statement: The mission of the Sharyland Independent School District is to provide the highest quality education possible to all students. To the full extent of their individual abilities, students will be provided the opportunity to develop the ability to think logically, independently and creatively and to communicate effectively. The district will promote the worth and dignity of all students and encourage them to become productive and responsible members of society. Mascot: Rattler Colors: Red and White Communities Served: Sharyland, Alton, Edinburg, McAllen, Mission, and Palmhust Brief History: The area known today as Sharyland was originally part of a Spanish mission called La Lomita. Apart from the mission’s farming operations, the surrounding area was sparsely inhabited or cultivated, although a few Mexican families lived in the region throughout the 19th Century. Around 1914, John H. Shary, originally from Corpus Christi, purchased most of these ranches and consolidated their land, renaming the area Sharyland. Sharyland Independent School District is named in honor of John H. Shary, who was president of the district’s first board of trustees. Created in 1921, this 26 square-mile school district is located in Hidalgo County. The district is committed to providing the highest quality education possible for all students. Sharyland ISD is one of the fastest growing school districts in the Rio Grande Valley. By 2015, it is projected to have nearly doubled in size from the 2005-2006 school year.

The ELS program allows us to impact so many more students while still providing highly individualized instruction. The results have been great! teacher ratio. The ELS program allows us to impact so many more students while still providing highly individualized instruction. The results have been great! We see students become much more confident, independent learners.” Tina continues, “This program has really taken hold in this district. Our principals are very happy with the results that they see. Administrators are not the only ones pleased with the program.” Tina remembers one boy who was diagnosed as dyslexic and was having trouble getting over the hurdle. After working on the ELS program, he was not only able to pass his TAKS [Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills] tests, but also became an independent learner. He has now graduated from Sharyland High and is going to college.

His parents were very happy with the ELS program and credit it with his success, calling it “exactly what he needed.” Tina notes that this is not an unusual circumstance. “We see this kind of result on a regular basis.” While student success is obviously the goal of Sharyland ISD, the district’s partnership with CEI has other advantages. Dr. Martinez feels that one of the many benefits of the CEI programs is the support the district receives for its teachers and facilitators. She knows that if there is a question or a problem, CEI will take care of it, whether it requires technical support or educational advice about the program. “The training and service visits that the labs receive from CEI representatives, along with the customer tech support provided, takes a lot of

pressure off of the school administrators.” Tina Ramos is also grateful that CEI is there when needed. “The fact that so many representatives of CEI are available and have visited and interacted with us helps maintain our effectiveness with the program.” The feeling is mutual, Dr. Martinez and Ms. Ramos. CEI appreciates our partnership with Sharyland ISD, and we are glad to help the district provide the highest quality education possible to all students. With the rapid growth the district is expecting, we look forward to even more opportunities to serve you in the future.

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In the Spotlight

Name: D r . M elissa M artine z Title: Sharyland ISD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Hometown: I came to the Valley from New Jersey 28 years ago. Family: Three children — Ryan (17), Aaron (16), and Brittney (13) — all in Sharyland schools. Pets: Three dogs Education: Undergraduate, Masters, and Doctoral degrees from University of Texas, Pan-American Favorite subject in School: Math Favorite Teacher: Economics professor at UTPA, Mr. Vento. “He was very motivational…. He encouraged us to excel and take our education further.” What is your favorite food? Shrimp What is your favorite type of music? Soft rock, Contemporary top 40 What is your favorite TV Show? Grey’s Anatomy What would be your dream vacation? To visit my grandmother’s homeland, England. Tell us something people might be surprised to learn about you. I participate in Iron Man Triathlons.

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Sharyland Isd’s Dr. Melissa Martinez and Tina Ramos

Name: T ina R amos Title: Sharyland ISD Curriculum Coordinator Family: Husband Antonio, who is also an educator, and three grown daughters. Education: I graduated from McAllen High School. I tried the business world but it was too narrow; I wasn’t comfortable sitting at a desk, and I wanted more personal interaction. I changed my undergraduate degree to Education at Pan-American (now the UTPA). I also have a Master’s degree in School Supervision with a certification in Mid-Management. Professional: Tina has been employed by Sharyland ISD for 38 years. She started as a kindergarten teacher and has served in many capacities — reading specialist, assistant principal, principal, and now in administration. Favorite Teacher: Sister Geralda. “She encouraged us to spread our wings and do things our own way…. She did not believe that things had to be done a certain way.” What is your favorite food? Mexican or steak What is your favorite type of music? Oldies — 40s and 50s What is your favorite TV Show? Any mystery or detective show — CSI, Bones, Monk, etc. Do you have a hobby? Reading and Reading! I usually have three or four different types of books going at one time. What would be your dream vacation? A cruise to anywhere

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Sharyland ISD partnership Profile Creative Education Institute began its partnership with Sharyland ISD in 1994 when the district purchased one Essential Learning Systems lab. Two years later, they purchased another, and so on, and so on, and so on. Now, Sharyland ISD, one of the fastest growing districts in the Rio Grande Valley, owns 10 CEI labs. They have an ELS lab in every elementary school and have now added one Mathematical Learning Systems lab and one Science Vocabulary Essentials license to ensure their students are well equipped to pass all state-mandated testing.

Lloyd and Dolly Bentsen Elementary Lisa Chapa and Yvette Cantu are new to their ELS lab at Bentsen Elementary this year. They have easily adapted and are facilitating a very organized and smooth running ELS lab. They also are running an MLS lab before school for students who need that extra help with math. “They really hit the ground running and are doing a super job in facilitating both labs” says Laura Byrd, CEI Solutions Specialist. “Their students are well trained and working hard whenever I visit.” OLIVERO GARZA, Sr. ELEMENTARY The CEI lab at Olivero Garza, Sr. Elementary is a positive, encouraging and nurturing place where students from the special education, dyslexia, bilingual and early childhood programs excel. It is truly a place that serves to assure that all students learn successfully! Reading teacher Aracely Villarreal and ELS facilitator Diane Parker appreciate both ELS and Letter Recognition for the variety of students, but the kindergartners really enjoy working on LR. Garza Elementary Facilitator Diane Parker “This program reinforces (left) and Reading Teacher Aracely Villarreal kindergartners’ learning of letters and sounds and enhances early literacy skills,” Aracely explains. “Kindergartners reveal their success through the printing of daily reports for immediate feedback.” Reuben Hinojosa Elementary Anna Longoria and Carol Tarver work hard to serve their students in the ARK lab at Reuben Hinojosa Elementary. According to Anna, the “lab is used to service our dyslexic students, as well as students who need a little extra help to get over the hurdle.” Both Anna and Carol appreciate being able to adjust the ELS program according to each student’s individual needs. Anna says that the goal of the Hinojosa lab is to “offer the students the extra support they need to conquer the obstacles which are ahead of them.” Jessie Jensen Elementary Maresyl Castillo was new to the ELS program last year, but she has taken everything CEI has to offer and has run with it. According to Sharyland ISD’s Solutions Specialst, Laura Byrd, “She has studied the appendix of our ELS User’s Guide and implemented every suggestion she can find to make her lab run smoothly.” Maresyl has a great rapport with the kids and works hard to make sure they are on proper sequences and getting the most out of the program. She says she likes working with the program because ELS takes kids where they are, and she sees them excel to their own individual potential. She uses the new Continuous Progress Monitoring reports so that others can see this growth as well. The reports have also helped Maresyl determine which parameter and sequence changes will help the students the most.

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(Left to Right): The Bentsen Elementary ELS Lab — Reading Teacher Lisa Chapa, Helene Elizondo, Luis Yzaguirre, Jorge Toral, Facilitator Yvette Cantu, Hiram Sanchez, Joel Borjon, Brenda Callazo, Elmer Cano Ramirez

Bentsen Elementary’s Joey Urbina uses manipulatives to complete an MLS Tactile lesson.

The Hinojosa Elementary ELS Lab — Alexis Aarce, Julia Fowler, Sofia Sanchez, Caroline Fowler, Macedonia Lopez, Reading Teacher Anna Longoria, Facilitator Carol Tarver, Principal Dr. Debra Arce


Abraham Hernandez explains, “What I like about the computer lessons is that it helps me learn words I don’t know.” “The computer lessons help me in reading,” brags Carlos Hinojosa, with Natalya Guerra passionately agreeing, “And me too!” Hector Manrique adds, “The lessons help me learn new things.” Maria Gutierrez, supporting that thought, adds, “And new words.”

The Jensen Elementary ELS Lab — Principal Maggie Gonzalez, Juan Garza, Isaac Heredia, Michael Galvan, Javier Zamarron, Zoe Gonzalez, Leeroy Villanueva, Romeo Garcia, Kevin Delgado, Jocelyn Garcia, Jesus Membrano, Vanessa Ramirez, Facilitator Maresyl Castillo, Reading Teacher Dolly Hernandez

John H. Shary Elementary Sandra Bagwell and Josie Granados are veteran ELS facilitators who provide a very inviting atmosphere for their students. According to Sandra, “Kevin Pompellio and William Wilson have been attending the CEI lab at Shary Elementary for the past three years. During these three years, many changes have occurred for Kevin and William because the CEI lab is a safe and familiar environment where they can always achieve total success.” Harry Shimotsu Elementary Shary Elementary Reading Teacher Gail Roman and Maria Navejar work with Sandra Bagwell, Kevin Pompellio, William Wilson, Facilitator Josie Granados students in the ELS lab at Sharyland’s Harry Shimotsu Elementary. These very capable ladies oversee 68 ELS students each day. Ms. Roman is very impressed with the latest version of ELS. “The new [Continuous Progress Monitoring] reports are wonderful! I can easily track a student’s progress, and they help us make the best educational decisions for each student.” Ms. Navejar likes that students are very excited about being able to skip through lessons when they pass their Pre-Tests.

The Martinez Elementary ELS Lab — Front row (L to R): Natalya Guerra, Barbara Chimal,and Maria F. Gutierrez. Middle row (L to R): Carlos Hinojosa, Hector Manrique, Abraham Hernandez, Facilitator Linda S. Garcia. Back row (L to R): Facilitator Assistant Nora Michalk and Fernando Reyes

Donna Wernecke Elementary Cindy Liljedahl and Melba Garza are a great team in the ELS lab at Wernecke Elementary. Together, they serve over 40 students in their lab each day. Cindy is a veteran reading teacher, and Melba — a new facilitator — has learned quickly, practicing all the recommendations she absorbed during training at the beginning of the school year. One of

Shimostsu Elementary ELS Lab — Ramon Garcia, Alejandra Pinero, Facilitator Maria Navejar, Reading Teacher Gail Roman

Shimostsu Elementary ELS Lab — Ramon Garcia, Alejandra Pinero, Facilitator Maria Navejar, Reading Teacher Gail Roman

Romulo D. Martinez Elementary Every day, Reading teacher Linda Garcia and facilitator Nora Michalk encourage and focus on success in the ARK (Assisted Reading for Kids) lab at Sharyland’s Martinez Elementary. As a result, the students who work on ELS walk in with excitement and enthusiasm. They love the program and are making great progress.

those recommendations they adhere to is using Letter Recognition a lot to help English language learners get started with the alphabet sounds. Cindy appreciates Melba’s quickness to get organized and find small ways to motivate kids to follow lab procedures and do their best. And even though she is new to the ELS program, Melba has come to realize that “There are so many benefits to each activity the kids do.”

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Hypothesis

Proven A Study of How Killeen’s Sugar Loaf Elementary Followed the Scientific Method to Create Three Successful Labs By B.C. Seely, Solutions Analyst, and Lesley Mullen, Solutions Specialist

The scientific method is a way to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments. Since its origination by ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, the steps have varied from experiment to experiment. However, the process is similar when performing any type of experiment: Ask a Question Do Background Research Construct a Hypothesis Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion Communicate Your Results


One of the questions most frequently asked of CEI’s Solutions Analysts is “Who should be in the CEI labs?” Sugar Loaf Elementary began using CEI’s Essential Learning Systems (ELS) and Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year when the district purchased both programs to serve all elementary students who needed Tier II or Tier III interventions as part of their Response to Intervention (RTI) requirements. Both ELS and MLS are excellent Tier II and III interventions that provide the base knowledge students will need to access their grade-level curriculum. The programs also accelerate learning by paring back the topics to those most critical and teaching them to mastery, the most efficient way to move students forward as quickly as possible and narrow the achievement gap. Typically, RTI implementations serve students who are performing in the lowest quartile on benchmarks and state testing. But were there additional students who could benefit from the programs? That would be something worth researching.

THE

Background

Research

Fortunately, the administrators at Sugar Loaf didn’t have to spend too much time on research. They were fortunate to have Amber L. Diaz on staff. Mrs. Diaz had already run several ELS labs that had been purchased before KISD administrators implemented the program district-wide. Throughout her years as a facilitator, she

Hypothesis

Based on her experiences with labs at other campuses, Mrs. Diaz was confident that ELS would benefit students at Sugar Loaf, too. “When I arrived at Sugar Loaf in 2007, they were getting an ELS lab and an MLS lab for the first time. However, the ELL students were not the primary targets. They were not even going to have the chance to participate in this lab. My experience running the ELS lab for ELL students was so beneficial that I wanted my ELL students the opportunity. Therefore, I wrote a grant to purchase an additional ELS Lab.” In early 2008, the campus added the third lab, as Mrs. Diaz, explains: “After that first initial year, I did not have enough computers to serve all of my ELL students, so I wrote an additional grant. My ELS lab now served 15 ELL students [at a time], as well as other students who were not being served by the other lab.” Mrs. Diaz, who also ran a successful lab at Reeces Creek, continues: “As Mr. Bradley began to see great success with the way we operated our lab, he asked me to be in charge of supervising all of the labs. We hired a new ELL teacher to run the ELS lab that serviced ELL students, Damiana Martinez. Sandra Novoa began to facilitate the original ELS Lab. Carol Weber facilitated the MLS Lab.” Mrs. Martinez has since left to further her own education, but of the two remaining facilitators, Mrs. Diaz boasts, “I know the amount of effort, work, and dedication Mrs. Novoa and Mrs. Weber both have. They are more than facilitators. They care so much about the students that they work with. Their heart makes these labs as successful as they are!” During the 2010-2011 school year, all three labs ran six sessions with full labs. When students start attending the school, Mrs. Novoa and Mrs. Weber administer the Diagnostic Screening Tests for Reading and Math and the MLS Placement to assess for

gaps in foundational learning. As a result, they frequently assign at-risk students, ELL students who have a low foundation in sight words, all students with a low foundation in Math, and Special Education students to participate. Sugar Loaf is currently serving over 100 students in their three CEI labs, and they are still in the process of identification. At her own campus, Mrs. Diaz wants to start younger students on ELS as part of the the pre-K, K and first grade curriculum. She feels like having the lab as part of a rotation, like center activities, could alleviate some of the issues that come with failure at the earliest ages. She knows that for students who participate, the CEI lab makes a world of difference. “The lab is a comfortable environment for students who lack confidence because they are aware they struggle with sight words and reading,” Mrs. Diaz explains. ”It’s a place where they can go and develop their sight word recognition and greater vocabulary foundation. It’s a safe haven for the many students who struggle with basic math facts and math fluency. There, the MLS program helps students build a greater sense of repetition and recall. “

THE

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Question

found another population who greatly benefited from the reading program: “I was first introduced to the lab by my principal, Jo-Lynette Crayton [now the director of KISD’s Leadership Development/ Title II Department], when I worked at East Ward [Elementary School, also in Killeen ISD],” Mrs. Diaz recalls. “That is where I facilitated ELS for the first time. My ELL students participated in the lab.”

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ince this issue of SHARE celebrates both the science behind success and the labs that earned CEI’s Exemplary status, it presents the perfect opportunity to show how the scientific method applies to a well run CEI lab, or in this case, three well run CEI labs. For the first time in Killeen (TX) ISD’s CEI history, three labs at one campus not only applied for, but also earned CEI’s top honor. This article explains how Principal Karl Bradley; Assistant Principal Violet Simmons; Interventionist Supervisor (and now Cavazos Elementary Assistant Principal) Amber L. Diaz; and facilitators Sandra Novoa, Carol Weber, and Damiana Martinez followed the scientific method to guarantee the success of their students.

Experiment

As Violet Simmons attests, “The lab must be run with fidelity.” Over the years, CEI has noticed that our most successful labs have several things in common: Students attend the lab for at least 45 minutes each day and complete SHARE exercises every day they work on the program. Students print frequently, and facilitators discuss the printouts with students and analyze the printouts so that they can make appropriate lesson modifications based on student performance. Students adhere strictly to the Mastery Cycle. Students keep Long Term Recall current. Mrs. Novoa, Mrs. Weber, and Mrs. Martinez adhered to all of these recommendations, but — as anyone who runs a CEI lab can tell you — there are several factors with which you have to experiment until you find just the right way to help the Creative Education Institute www.ceilearning.com

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New Cavazos Principal Amber Diaz (left) meets with ELS facilitator Sandra Novoa (center) and MLS facilitator Carol Weber.

students. Everyone involved with Sugar Loaf labs agrees that the first variable is the facilitator. They maintain that you have to take ownership and have a positive attitude about the job and the students you serve in the lab. They add that you have to set high expectations. To ensure that the facilitators had the time and resources they needed to succeed, Sugar Loaf’s administrators assigned the women, whom they have dubbed Instructional Assistants, a conference

time. According to Mrs. Simmons, the facilitators need this period because they “must be able to think correctly about how to best serve the students.” During the conference period, Mrs. Novoa and Mrs. Weber test new students, review current students’ work, and meet with teachers concerning specific students’ progress. They review the results from other tests to see which areas the student has mastered, and they frequently give their math students the

ELS facilitator Sandra Novoa (left) and Assistant Principal Violet Simmons. 28

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MLS Placement to see whether or not the gaps in learning have narrowed and determine if the student can move on. The facilitators also meet with Mrs. Simmons weekly to discuss the students and to decide what steps they need to take next. Often the steps require finding ways to motivate the students to want to succeed. Mrs. Novoa explains the motivation plan that she and Mrs. Weber follow for their students: “We give our students stamps on a stamp sheet when they are ‘caught talking.’ After the students earn 20 stamps, they earn a free choice on the computer. Additionally, when students earn a total of four 100s on their daily work, they earn a Bear Buck, a Froggy Buck, or a Star Buck. The students collect these Bucks and use them to go shopping at the end of the nine weeks. “Even when they have their shopping day, it is the reward of getting the Buck that the students really enjoy. They enjoy counting them and knowing that they worked hard to earn them.” According to Mrs. Novoa and Mrs. Weber, the students also enjoy working on the mastery lessons. Mrs. Weber explains: “It is at this point where the students apply what they have learned and are rewarded intrinsically for their accomplishments. I also believe that the students feel such a sense of pride when they come to the labs, and this may be the only place students see so much success.” Mrs. Novoa adds, “A student may not be a great reader in a third grade classroom and may fail many assignments, but the lab printout displays many 100%s.” The women also try to involve the parents in their children’s success. Mrs. Novoa elaborates: “On a consistent basis, we are writing notes to go home with our students. When students earn their 20 stamps, we always write a note on the back of the stamp sheet. We make parent phone calls when students are doing really well or when we need to find additional ways to encourage our students. When we have an Open House, we always encourage our students to bring their parents to see the lab, meet the facilitator, and look at the student binders.” Mrs. Weber and Mrs. Novoa are painfully aware that students who are not performing on grade level often begin to lose self-esteem. For that reason, the facilitators occasionally add students to to the lab to give them the boost they need to achieve success. Mrs. Novoa discussed


CEI Solutions Specialist Lesley Mullen (far left) presents Exemplary Lab plaques to (left to right) ELS Facilitator Sandra Novoa, former Interventionist Supervisor and Cavazos Principal Amber Diaz, MLS facilitator Carol Weber, and Assistant Principal Violet Simmons.

a confidence booster. And even when she wasn’t facilitating the lab, Mrs. Diaz would visit and talk to students who needed a little encouragement or additional support.

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how ELS provides confidence and success by increasing fluency, vocabulary and phonemic awareness. She also mentioned a particular student, who wasn’t missing the foundational skills but whose low self-esteem prevented the girl from being able to comprehend successfully. With the positive attitude of the facilitator and the structure of the lab environment, the girl’s confidence and reading comprehension both improved quickly. Mrs. Novoa and Mrs. Weber do acknowledge that success sometimes doesn’t come easily, and students do periodically have to recycle through their lessons. Both women endeavor to prove how important the recycling process is. Ms. Novoa clarifies, “We work hard to help them understand this process and make it a positive reminder of the work they are doing. As they grow, things get a little harder. We simply show them how their growth is challenging them.” The women added that they often eat lunch with students as either a reward or

Analysis

Did the students experience changes because of their facilitators’ extra efforts? Mrs. Diaz, Mrs. Novoa and Mrs. Weber all feel that the labs have changed many students’ lives. Mrs. Novoa attests, “For some students, this lab could be the single most important factor in feeling and becoming successful in school. I have seen so many students benefit from the ELS lab. They love coming and learning so much from the program.” Mrs. Weber adds, “I really enjoy the math lab. I feel that the MLS lab is making a huge difference in the students’ lives. They are more confident and have less behavior problems.” Mrs. Diaz explains why she thinks the students are experiencing such positive

effects: “First and Foremost, ELS and MLS are designed to allow all students to work on their individualized level. The programs are so wonderful for that simple fact alone. Additionally, in ELS, the program changes allow even more individualization. Within a classroom, the teacher is not always able to address the gaps in the students’ skills, but the lab can. I have personally seen the life of one of my students changed. He could not read or write when he started the program in the fourth grade. Today, he is successful in school because of CEI.” Regarding MLS, Mrs. Diaz adds, “MLS provides individualization of lessons in the program, which other programs cannot provide in a small group setting. In other programs, students must be grouped by skill, whereas in MLS, 10 students can all be working on different lessons and still receive individualization and support with the facilitator.” She goes on to discuss that the first year Sugar Loaf implemented MLS, a student who had never passed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) was finally able to pass. Creative Education Institute www.ceilearning.com

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THE

Results

The culmination of efforts has paid off more than anyone could have expected. Mrs. Novoa’s students gained an average of 1.4 years in Reading Comprehension in just seven months. Students in Mrs. Martinez’s ELL lab gained an average of 1.8 years in Reading Comprehension in just six months. Mrs. Weber’s MLS students gained over a year in all areas; almost half of them improved two and three grade levels in multiplication alone. There are also more specific examples of progress. According to Mrs. Weber,” We have seen a student begin MLS at a 2.1 grade level and grow to a 3.8 in less than a year.” Students who struggled before entering the lab are now able to score high on state-mandated testing. According to Erin Tsatsos, Interventionist Aide, “One child struggled consistently with subtraction with regrouping, and after the

reinforcement from the lab, he was able to master the skill. It is my personal belief that the math lab played a major role in this student achieving Commended on his third grade math TAKS.” Growth is abound in the ELS labs as well. Mrs. Novoa adds, “We have a student in fourth grade who could not pass Level I, Lesson 1, and after only a year-and-a-half on the program, had reached Level II, Lesson 28.” Parents have even written Mrs. Novoa about the positive changes in their children. One mother writes, “I cannot explain the pain that I would see on my daughter’s face. I do believe that she was embarrassed and frustrated with her reading ability. This program was our little miracle.” Mr. Bradley takes great pride in the students’ results. “Our scores have continued to help our low socioeconomic school receive the Texas Education Agency’s Recognized status. I am very proud of Mrs. Diaz, Mrs. Novoa, and Mrs. Weber for doing a great job facilitating these labs.”

All of us at CEI thank Mr. Bradley, Mrs. Simmons, Mrs. Diaz, Mrs. Novoa, and Mrs. Weber for all they are doing with the students at Sugar Loaf Elementary. They have taken every step to question, research, hypothesize, experiment, and analyze to ensure the best possible results for their students. We also offer our congratulations on earning CEI’s Exemplary status for the first time! We are sure we will be sending many more date plates to fill up your new plaques!

A nd the Phenomena Continues…. Sugar Loaf may be the only Killeen lab that has earned CEI’s Exemplary status for the first time, but there are several labs enjoying the honor again this year. Willow Springs Elementary — ELS and MLS Willow Springs has the longest history among Killeen’s Exemplary labs. The 2010-2011 school year marked the fourth time that the campus’ ELS and MLS labs have earned the honor. What makes the story more remarkable is that the ELS facilitator, Nicole Saucedo, worked in the lab less than six months before submitting her application! Congratulations, Nicole, for making up for lost time!

Willow Springs ELS faciltator Nicole Saucedo

Saegert Elementary — ELS and MLS This is Saegert’s second year to earn CEI’s Exemplary status for both reading and math. Facilitator Melissa Brown has Saegert Elementary ELS/MLS faciltator Melissa Brown (left) with Principal Gail Charles Walters been running both ELS and MLS since the 2007-2008 school year, when KISD purchased both programs for all elementaries. What makes Melissa so remarkable is that she runs 10 stations of reading and 10 stations of math in the same room at the same time. That, on its own, is Exemplary! Thank you, Melissa, for all you are doing to turn what could be chaos into success! Bellaire Elementary — MLS You might recall reading about facilitator Becky McMickle in last Winter’s edition of SHARE. The article “Growing Tomorrow’s Flowers Today” described everything Becky was doing in her MLS lab to uphold the school’s motto, “Bloom Where You are Planted.” This year you’ll probably be reading even more about Becky, as she takes on the role of ELS facilitator as well.

Bellaire ELS and MLS faciltator Becky McMickle

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Way to go, Becky! We look forward to your first application for ELS Exemplary status at the end of the school year!

SHARE Magazine Fall/winter 2011


From our Partners... CEI has consistently showed the value of its products through the positive academic growth my students demonstrate after they are on ELS and MLS. I cannot help but think CEI will help with science vocabulary, which consistently challenges my students. Maryann Ramos Principal, Clear Creek Elementary Killeen ISD, TX

Dear CEI friends,

Dear Peggy and all of our friends at CEI, We truly love the new ELS software! We are using it up a storm! The testing is fantastic. With the additional vocabulary testing, it is easy to see where many of the children are having difficulty. Most of them will pass the decoding, but not the vocabulary part. Last year, we were having to print out Word Match Worksheets to check students’ knowledge. Now, it is all there.

The CEI program is truly an asset to our school. We continue to have great success with our students by using CEI’s Essential Learning Systems. The ELS program allows us to reach all children with any reading problem. Initially, the program places the student on a manageable reading level, which elevates his/her self-esteem and subsequently makes the student more excited about learning. The CEI program truly helps our school achieve its seminal goal: instilling confidence in students about their reading ability. My students enjoy coming to the CEI lab, so much so that they even stay for additional time. Kudos CEI, and thank you. Mary Cheeseman Reading Specialist, Santa Gertrudis Elementary Kingsville, TX I appreciate the time the Solutions Analyst spends in our labs and the relationships that she has developed with our lab facilitators. They know CEI as a valuable resource when they have questions about the program or even about student progress. Because the SA knows the program intimately, she can give suggestions and ideas that add to the personalization of the program for all students. Thanks for providing a great Solutions Analyst!

The tracking system is absolutely terrific! CEI has weathered many storms in education over these many years because it is so true to its mission. Its format has remained basically the same without so many changes that would compromise its integrity. Where so many programs have either failed or just wore out their welcome, CEI prevailed. Thank you all for your hard work to help children (and adults) learn to read. God Bless!

Sheila Bowman District Intervention Coordinator Hillsboro ISD, TX

Holly, Debbie, and Sally Facilitators, Briarwood School, TX

the Phenomena... Duncan Elementary — ELS and MLS While Duncan Elementary’s ELS lab has earned CEI’s Exemplary status twice now, this was the first year facilitator Linda Gomez applied for and earned the honor for the MLS lab. A lot of things have changed this year. There’s a new principal, Pamela Disher; a new facilitator, Fay Green; and a new campus technologist, Chris Cooper. Fortunately, one thing that hasn’t changed is the great attitude about using CEI’s programs to help the students! Pamela, Fay and Chris, all of us at CEI look forward to your carrying on the Exemplary tradition!

EDITS

In the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of SHARE Magazine, our Who’s Who issue, we inadvertently misidentified one of last year’s remarkable CEI students. Ivan Nunez was an exemplary role model of a St. Nicholas of Tolentine 3rd-grade student. “Ivan has a gentle, humble, and caring nature,” Facilitator Donna Radtke says. “He takes initiative in the lab to help others … without being asked. His teacher, Mrs. Berryman, agrees. He demonstrates the same behavior in his regular classroom. Ivan exhibits command of both the English and Spanish languages. He also participates in extracurricular activities, such as soccer and violin. “Ivan’s self-motivation will undoubtedly help him achieve the goals he sets for himself,” Donna states. Creative Education Institute www.ceilearning.com

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The Constants

By Connee J. Stine, Solutions Specialist

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he teachers and 93 students at Christa McAuliffe Elementary in Brevard County, Florida, have news they are eager to share! After 14 years of running an Essential Learning Systems lab, they are Exemplary once again! In fact, McAuliffe has the distinguished honor of earning CEI’s Exemplary status so many times that they needed another plaque to hold all of their date plates! The teacher of the lab, Candi Polhill, the past and current paraprofessionals, Teri Witzel and Chris Bell respectively, all share in the success of implementing this exemplary lab. What has made this lab so successful for so many years? We believe it’s the constants. In scientific terms, a constant is a value that never changes or varies. For 14 years, students in McAuliffe’s SIT [Sensory Integration Training] lab have benefited from the care and commitment of their constants — the lab’s administrators and facilitators. “Our lab is successful due to administrative support and due to the lab facilitators believing in the program and being enthusiastic and supportive to the students,” according to Candi. ”Students feeling success, students running to get Copy-Write papers and worksheets because they are on a mission to complete a lesson, students with behavior problems in regular classroom don’t show behavior problems in SIT Lab,” explains Candi. She adds, “Mrs. Roddenberry, who has been our principal since we started this program, has always been very supportive. She allows us to run the program with fidelity by giving us time to do pre-testing and post-testing. She often visits our lab to see how the students are doing. She supports our motivational plan, which is a tremendous help. Mrs. Chancery, our assistant principal, is also very supportive of the program. She also visits our lab often to see how the students are doing. The strong administrative support is crucial for sustaining the passion the facilitators have.” Of her visits to the lab, Carol Roddenberry says, “I have seen students who have been discouraged at school come to life in the SIT lab. SIT lab has given them an opportunity to learn at their own pace, in a different way, and they feel successful. This change in attitude helps them not only achieve in learning, but also changes their whole attitude about school.”

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From left: Terri Witzel, Candi Polhill, and Chris Bell with McAuliffe Elementary’s Exemplary Lab plaques

Assistant Principal Tracy Chancery agrees. “The SIT lab at our school produces phenomenal results! The lab has been run by Mrs. Candi Polhill for the past 13 years. She has worked with three different instructional assistants to implement the program with fidelity and diligence. The students are motivated by her positive attitude and willingness to provide incentives for goals reached. The CEI program provides the exceptional education and ELL students the opportunity to feel academically successful.” According to Candi, one sixth-grader summed up that feeling perfectly. The student, who earned a perfect Copy-Write score, commented, “It’s weird, but a good kind of weird, to have MY paper hanging on the bulletin board.” The administrators aren’t the only ones who have seen positive changes like this student’s. Classroom teachers have observed “improved self-esteem, students wanting to do work, and students helping and encouraging others,” Candi reports. Second grade teacher Tina Hill attests, “I had a young lady who cried every time she was asked to read or write at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. She started the year at a pre-primer level. Through the months she attended SIT Lab, I noticed her spelling in her written work became better, her reading scores improved, and her confidence level was much higher. At the end of the school year, her reading

level was 1.2. Most importantly, I noticed a tremendous change in her attitude about what she could and could not do.” Attah Tikili—third, fourth and fifth grade VE (Varying Exceptionalities) teacher—concurs. “I have seen students’ reading fluency improve, which has improved their self-confidence when reading. I have also seen students become more confident when writing, as they now have ownership of a variety of vocabulary words. I have had several behavior issues with some of my students, but the one time of the day that they will not have an incident is while they are in SIT Lab. My students can work independently, and they see their success immediately. They are extremely excited as they earn their immediate rewards and look forward to the long-term rewards as well. SIT Lab has become one of the essential parts of my Special Education classroom.”

CEI thanks Candi Polhill, Chris Bell, and all of their supporters for all they have done to help the students at McAuliffe Elementary. Congratulations on achieving your 13th CEI Exemplary lab award. We look forward to presenting you with many more!


Emphasis Added

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n the world of real estate, the old saying goes that there are three important factors when selling a piece of property: location, location, location! Among CEI’s staff, there is a similar statement as to what three factors will make or break the success of a lab: facilitator, facilitator, facilitator! Grand Saline Intermediate School has had an Essential Learning Systems (ELS) lab since 2000. Joyce Hollenshead has facilitated the ELS program with excellence from the beginning, and she continues to do a stellar job. “I did not apply for Exemplary Lab status the first year I had the lab, but I have done so every year since,” Ms. Hollenshead said. “I am proud to say that this past year was my tenth consecutive year to be awarded the Exemplary status award!” That continued success can be attributed to Ms. Hollenshead’s emphasis on developing excellent relationships and rapport with each one of her students. Ms. Hollenshead describes herself as “a mother hen to all of my students in the lab,” explaining that she takes them in and gets to know them personally. “I am constantly encouraging them verbally and with tokens and by showing off printouts and grades to the principal and their classroom teachers.”

Although Ms. Hollenshead pushes her students to work hard, she reports that they actually look forward to coming to the lab and do not want to leave when their lesson is finished. “They want to stay and do another lesson!” she said. This school year, the Grand Saline district has provided the lab with 14 new computers, for which Ms. Hollenshead is very appreciative. “We have also added the MLS [Mathematical Learning Systems] program to the lab as of January of 2011, and we have been equally as proud of the student progress we’re seeing with MLS.” As is almost always the case with CEI’s best labs, Ms. Hollenshead has the benefit of excellent administrative backing, especially from Principal Brenda English. “Ms. English is very supportive and provides whatever I need to run the lab effectively,” Ms. Hollenshead said. “I share students’ progress with her quite often…. She always makes a special point to brag to the students on their work and progress in the lab. Sometimes she even calls them into her office and has a conversation with them about how well they’re doing and how proud she is of them. We are sold on the program’s success.”

Continuing the Tradition

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he Pine School in Stuart, Florida, started its new school year with allnew staff and a new Exemplary Lab award for Essential Learning Systems (ELS). During the 2010-2011 school year, former lab facilitator Debbi Schuster applied for and earned CEI’s Exemplary status for her lab and students. For many years, Debbi faithfully served, helping kindergarteners, first-graders, and second graders whose classroom teachers believed they would benefit from an intervention. Since Debbi informed her school mid-year that it would be her last year running the lab, they found an equally strong teacher to replace her. After an intense ELS training and some time spent working in the lab, Sharon Babbitt has

by Robyn Irving, Solutions Analyst

Grand Saline Elementary facilitator Joyce Hollenshead (left) with Principal Brenda English

Ms. Hollenshead is confident that the CEI lab “has made a difference in boys’ and girls’ attitudes toward learning, reading and school in general! “We have seen significant improvements firsthand over and over through these 11 years, and we do not want to be without the CEI lab as an intervention for our students,” Ms. Hollenhead concluded. With this level of positive commitment, Ms. Hollenshead — as facilitator, facilitator, facilitator — is sure to continue to achieve great success with her students!

By Connee J. Stine, Solutions Specialist

picked up exactly where Debbi left off … facilitating an Exemplary Lab with students who are excited about attending every day. We congratulate Sharon Babbitt, Debbi Schuster and the students in the lab at The PIne School for establishing and continuing a tradition of excellence.

Photo: The Pine School Principal Victoria Dobson (left) and new ELS Facilitator Sharon Babbitt display the lab’s Exemplary Lab certificate and plaque.

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Ten Edinburg MLS Labs Earn Exemplary Status in Initial Year of Operation by bonnie Blake, solutions specialist

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n August 2010, Edinburg CISD implemented CEI’s Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) program district-wide, covering 40 campuses. Thanks to the foresight of administrative staff and the direction of Special Education Director Alida Suarez and her department, Edinburg saw the need to improve district math scores. During the 2010-11 school year, campuses saw a tremendous growth in the scores of their students. Throughout the school year, the Special Education Department closely monitored the progress of the MLS labs. Ms. Suarez and her staff made frequent visits to each of the campuses to ensure that this program would be used to its fullest potential. Because of this dedication, students were given the opportunity to succeed in areas that had been unattainable in the past. Ten campuses went above and beyond in their quest to implement this program with fidelity, applying for and earning CEI’s prestigious honor of Exemplary status.

Austin Elementary Facilitator: Susan Zuniga Principal: Homero Cano Perhaps one of the most dedicated CEI facilitators, Susan Zuniga embraced yet another responsibility when she implemented the MLS program at Austin. Susan was already facilitating CEI’s ELS program, which also earned Exemplary status, as well as other computer-assisted programs on her campus.

Susan Zuniga

Many classroom teachers at Austin praised the MLS program, even giving it credit for helping their students pass the math TAKS. They also praised Susan’s efforts in the lab. One fifth grade teacher commented on why the lab was so successful: “Ms. Zuniga aligns the program to meet the students’ needs. She understands that students need to feel successful, which is why she encourages and motivates students to do well.” CEI commends Susan for doing an outstanding job with both of the CEI labs.

Brewster School Facilitator: Olga Balderas Principal: Cipriano Pena An amazing phenomenon happened this past year at Brewster School. Because this unique campus serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade, teachers are responsible for not only a wide range of ages, but also a variety of educational backgrounds. Those challenges didn’t deter facilitator Olga Balderas. In her first year of operating both ELS and MLS, she applied for and earned CEI’s Exemplary status in both programs. Olga Balderas

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Olga’s principal, Cipriano Pena, says of her determination, “The 2010-2011 school year brought high hopes of managing the CEI lab to produce positive results in students’ gains. Hope turned to reality as the reports started to come in. Results have been great, with gains ranging from 1.08 years to 2.05 years in the subgroups. We are serving over 60 students. Ms. Balderas’ commitment to the students and program has produced the results we were anticipating.” It is truly remarkable what Olga was able to accomplish in her first year. We look forward to seeing what happens in 2011-2012! Memorial Middle School Facilitator: Ashley Perez Principal: Carlos Guzman If you’re seeking someone who embodies the word “organizer,” look no further than Ashley Perez, the facilitator at Memorial Middle School. Ashley embraced her duties as the MLS lab manager with all of her being. Excited about the remarkable gains her students made in just a short time period, Ashley beamed, “A few students made a year gain, many made at least a two-year gain, and a few actually finished on grade level.”

Ashley Perez

As Margaret Martin, Instructional Lead Teacher testified, “Our goal for next year is to increase the number of MLS lab periods at our campus in order to benefit more of our struggling math students. What an integral part of our RTI matrix this CEI Math Lab has become!” Thank you, Ashley, for the part you played in this phenomenal success. Lincoln Elementary Facilitator: Jessica Salinas Principal: Eva Sandoval The need for the MLS program was evident throughout the district, but each campus had its own set of issues to deal with. Jessica Salinas, who facilitates both ELS and MLS at Lincoln, said it best when she wrote of her math students, “When giving the pre-test and the MLS Placement, I realized some of them were extremely low. I immediately set them at their level, and we got to work.”

Jessica Salinas (Left) and Eva sandoval

Jessica’s students made quite a turnaround. She boasts, “I was amazed to see their daily grades! Most of them scored 100’s in daily lessons, when in testing, they had scored a 47%! When I post-tested students, I was able to see all the gains they had accomplished in the five to six months that we used the program! It’s amazing.” Jessica, having achieved Exemplary status in both ELS and MLS, you, too, are amazing. We look forward to seeing how you continue to make differences in the lives of your students.


Hargill Elementary Facilitators: Gloria Garza and Florinda Benavidez

Principal: Diane Willis This year, Hargill celebrated two first-time Exemplary labs, with Florinda Benavidez garnering recognition for ELS and Gloria Garza for MLS. Several teachers wrote CEI about the success of the labs. Regarding the MLS program, many were absolutely amazed at the progress their students made in such a short period of time. One teacher commented, “My students have progressed in their math skills and are more excited than ever in learning more about math strategies. This program has instilled in my students that math is fun to learn and at the same time they even have a positive attitude towards learning more about math.” Congratulations go to both ladies in their successes. It is evident that CEI is an integral part of the curriculum at Hargill Elementary! EB Guerra Elementary Facilitator: Frances Kotzur Principal: Sandra Avila “Amazing gains.” This is how facilitator Frances Kotzur described the MLS lab for the 2010-11 school year. “Most of my students, especially in kinder and first grade, had difficulty associating a number quantity with a symbol. In fact, many of them could not count to or even beyond 10. In most cases we were starting from ground zero.” Frances continues, “I am proud to say that even though our MLS lab was open for the spring semester, our lab in its first year achieved a gain of 1.02 in Basic Processes, 1.02 gain in Addition, 1.50 in Subtraction, .8 in Multiplication, and 2.34 in Division!” No doubt, the MLS program works, but it takes a dedicated facilitator like Frances to get the job done. As one fourth grade teacher wrote, “After my students worked with Ms. Kotzur Frances Kotzur in her math lab, they came bursting into my classroom with an evident rise in confidence, and I noticed a significant growth in their mastery of the subject.” Good job, Frances! In fact, Frances also earned CEI’s Exemplary status for the ELS lab at EB Guerra Elementary. Lorenzo de Zavala Elementary Facilitator: DeeDee Flores Principal: Dr. Graciela Perez In her MLS Exemplary Lab application, DeeDee Flores wrote that two qualities have to exist in order to be exemplary: consistency and dedication. In every testimonial, teachers and administrators wrote about these qualities existing in de Zavala’s MLS lab.

DeeDee Flores

Gloria Garza and Florinda Benavidez

a higher level. Two third grade teachers even remarked, “Students from my classroom that attended CEI all passed their TAKS test.” DeeDee credits a great deal of the lab’s success to her principal, Dr. Graciela Perez: “The principal at LDZ, Dr. Gracie Perez, is extremely supportive of the program. This lab is proof that success is achievable!” Success is definitely achievable for DeeDee. She received the Exemplary Lab award for her ELS lab as well! Cano-Gonzalez Elementary Facilitator: Lupita Tijerina Principal: Thelma Rodriguez Edinburg implemented the MLS program during the summer session prior to the 2010-11 school year. Lupita Tijerina was one of the first facilitators in Edinburg to work with the MLS program and see its benefits. She knew from the beginning that it was a program she wanted to work with. When the school year started, Lupita began facilitating both the ELS and MLS labs and has since received Exemplary Lab awards for both programs. Principal Thelma Rodriguez commented on the labs’ success: “The CEI lab has seen substantial growth this year, and it is due to the dedication and hard work of the students and Mrs. Tijerina.” Lead teacher Ana Jimenez adds, “Students who are receiving services from the CEI Lupita Tijerina lab have become more confident and self-motivated in the classroom in math and reading.” CEI commends Lupita for her passion and dedication, both of which bring out the best in her students. See “Edinburg,” page 36

All staff members are excited to know that their campus has a supplemental assistance program that is improving and enhancing their academic performance to

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Edinburg, continued from page 35

Esparza Elementary Facilitator: Janie Reittinger Principal: Ernestina Cano For the past several years, Esparza Elementary has focused on prevention before intervention by using ELS with the students. This year, Principal Ernestina Cano has made it a mission to serve Esparza’s kindergarteners and first graders with both ELS and MLS.

Congratulations, Esparza! Here’s to your preventative efforts!

Ms. Cano is pleased with the success her students have experienced with the new math program: “When we implemented Janie Reittinger math last spring, I was so excited to see that CEI math took into account what research states is the best way for students to learn math; that is, tactile kinesthetic to sketching and then abstract. It is this research-based approach that has allowed our students to blossom. I have found that our students, who are engaged in the CEI math, are experiencing many “AH-HA” moments in the lab with Ms. Reittinger. Those moments are usually tied to the experience with the manipulatives.”

Villarreal Elementary Facilitator: America Arreguin Principal: Odilia Villarreal This year, Villarreal Elementary received the distinction of receiving both the ELS and the MLS Exemplary awards for the first time. But that is not the only exciting news…. At the end of the 2010-11 school year, facilitator America Arreguin reported that her MLS students saw a gain of over 1.1 year’s growth in their math skills! The students were fortunate to have a facilitator like America — highly organized, compassionate, enthusiastic, America Arreguin and reliable. Principal Odilia Villarreal even complimented, “America is resourceful and always utilizes students’ strengths to help build their self-esteem.”

Ms. Cano is also pleased with facilitator Janie Reittinger, who’s earned CEI’s Exemplary status four times for her ELS lab and is now in charge of MLS as well. Best described as passionate and understanding, she follows both programs with fidelity. That’s not an easy task when you are teaching five-year olds how to press the right key and click the right button. However, Janie does it all with

This fall, America accepted a position in a neighboring district as a Special Education classroom teacher, taking her dedication and enthusiasm to other students who needed her attention. All of us at CEI are sure that her students at Villarreal Elementary will miss her, but we are certainly thankful for her commitment and for her helping those students to achieve success.

Firefighters

D

eep in the heart of Texas, the small town of Sealy is making good things happen! Here, Selman Elementary has two strong-willed women running an exemplary lab. Teacher Debbie Weiss and paraprofessional Buffy Seals run an Essential Learning Systems lab with the heart of teachers we all hope our own children are able to experience. For 17 years, both Debbie and Buffy have been a part of the Sealy ISD team that even during a time of budget cuts, those in central administration know they could never afford to lose. Debbie and Buffy tell anyone who visits their ELS lab that they are there by choice. Their dedication to their students is evident the minute you walk into their lab and find every student actively engaged in their lessons. “We are on a personal basis here with Tyler. I tell my students that if Tyler is talking to you, you should be talking to Tyler,” attests Debbie. The speaking aloud is just part of the ELS’ multisensory instruction, which Debbie feels is a pivotal aspect of the program. “All students’ brains need to learn by seeing, hearing, and touching. Students feel in control because they are doing all of those three,” explains Debbie. “The student interaction and engagement is my favorite part of the ELS program.” Both Debbie and Buffy also know that their principal is another key to their success and the success of the students. Nicole Poenitzsch is a first year principal at Selman, but she is already dedicated. “Mrs. Poenitzsch is very supportive, not only of the lab at her school, but also of her staff on a personal level,” affirms Debbie.

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grace and patience, so it is no surprise that the MLS lab has earned Exemplary status for the first time.

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By Connee J. Stine, Solutions Specialist

From Left: Selman principal Nicole Poenitzsch, ELS facilitator Buffy Seals, teacher Debbie Weiss, CEI Solutions Specialist Connee Stine

Recently, Debbie — a volunteer firefighter — was called to fight the Colorado County fires that burned 2,500 acres over the Labor Day holiday. When the fires were extinguished, Ms. Poenitzsch called Debbie personally to check on her. As we all know, having the support of a boss only fosters more passion. And in Sealy, the passion for fighting fires — either literal fires or the figurative fires of helping struggling students — is very apparent.


Community Organizers

A

term made popular by the media in recent years, community organizers are those who work to empower a community of individuals to solve local problems, achieve a common goal, and affect positive social change. The remarkable staff at Houston’s Youth Development Center (YDC) is doing just that. Houston’s Youth Development Center began using Essential Learning Systems (ELS) during the 2002-2003 school year. During the 2010-2011 school year, directors added Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS). At the end of the school year, both labs applied for and earned CEI’s Exemplary status. ELS facilitator Debra Asberry began volunteering at YDC two years before she was actually hired to be the facilitator for the reading lab. In the lab, she and Teacher Assistants Bryce Powers and Mari Paredes serve anywhere from 55-65 students enrolled in the Center’s after-school program. In the math lab, facilitator Brenda Colbert and Teacher Assistant Ambra Asberry serve a total of 58 students. Both labs serve the same student demographic. Debra discloses, “We serve At-Risk students in grades 1-6 in Houston’s Greater Fifth Ward. Our student population is 100% minority. Ninety-nine percent of our population qualifies for free or reduced lunch at their school.” Traditionally, students who fall into those combinations of categories can be more difficult to teach, but Debra hasn’t found that to be the case in the ELS lab. She explains, “The Reading Program is an excellent program for teaching a child how to read the phonetic way. Because this program is an individualized program, it encourages the success of each student, and it builds the student’s confidence. The program also builds the student’s self-esteem in reading.” Brenda sees similar benefits with MLS. “It builds the students’ confidence and self-esteem. I like the fact that the program encourages the use of manipulatives in the math lab. Math is fun in the math lab. We engage in weekly motivational math games and math worksheets to strengthen weak areas in math.” The facilitators for both labs have done a lot of work to ensure their students are motivated to be successful. According to Debra, “We set expectations and procedures in place at the beginning of the year. We expect students to achieve 80% on all work. We have a reward system…. We use positive reinforcement to build up self-esteem, YDC Bucks, the Treasure Chest, and incentive charts to show their progress.” Brenda and Ambra use similar plans with their students. Brenda describes, “We use verbal praise with a chant or finger snaps as motivation for the students that complete the most math lessons. We engage in weekly motivational math games.” In addition to the motivation plan, Debra works “on building their self-esteem by encouraging them and making them feel that they can do anything they set their mind on doing.” She, Brenda, and the Teacher Assistants give students lots of one-on-one attention if they continue to have difficulty. The students have responded well to their facilitators. Debra explains, “They actually like the [ELS] Pre- and Post-Test because [it] permits them to skip lessons. They also like Quick Pick and Quick Talk because they treat it as a game. They love the website. They love the YDC Bucks and going into the Treasure Chest after they have completed lessons.” Students’ responses weren’t just limited to enjoying the program. According to Debra, “One student actually learned to speak English in the Reading Lab. Many of our students’ reading ability truly improved in school. One student entered the program not reading at all, and by end of the year, he could read.” Both Debra and Brenda credit support from others for their labs’ success. Debra boasts, “All of my assistants were awesome with the way they came in and began working in the lab. [Administrators] Mary Nell Jones and Rhonda Mays were there whenever and wherever they were

By Connee J. Stine, Solutions Specialist

needed with full support. All of the teachers and assistants at the YDC helped with [this] becoming an Exemplary Lab. The support of the Board of Trustees was, and is, truly essential to the program.” The feeling is mutual for Brenda, who says, “My lab assistant is a great help in running the lab and working with the students. Mrs. Rhonda Mays and Mrs. Mary Nell Jones are there with much support and in supplying whatever is needed in running the lab.” All facilitators try to maintain a high level of communication with all of the stakeholders, according to Debra and Ambra. “We have staff meetings and conferences with each other. We send out progress reports and have parent/teacher conferences quarterly; we called the parent/ teacher conferences ‘Friday Night Live.’ We have events for the students and the community to attend, like the Literacy Carnival. We have events

Top Photo, Left to Right: Brenda Colbert, Ambra Asberry, and Rhonda Mays Bottom Photo: CEI Solutions Specialist Connee Stine (left) and Debra Asberry

for Thanksgiving and Christmas where the students, their families, and the community are invited to attend.”

While acknowledging the people who have helped make the ELS lab at Youth Development Center a success, Debra even expressed her gratitude to CEI. “The technical support from CEI is fantastic. Sonya Gray is always there when I need her. Connee Stine is the best Solutions Specialist you could ever ask for.” Brenda agrees, adding that Connee is “excellent in her job.” Debra, Brenda, and everyone involved in YDC’s CEI labs, all of us at CEI think you are excellent as well. Congratulations on your community effort, the resulting positive change, and your Exemplary Lab awards! Creative Education Institute www.ceilearning.com

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Dreaming, Planning, and

Believing! To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

~ Anatole France

O

pen the door into the RaD (Reading and Development) lab at Llano Elementary, and you will immediately hear voices of various pitch and enthusiasm saying lesson words or repeating sentences. You will also see Gwen Feaster standing nearby, encouraging the students to speak aloud and to do their best. Mrs. Feaster began facilitating in 2007, but she is proud to say that the Llano Elementary has earned CEI’s Exemplary status every year for the past decade. There is no single aspect that has made the lab successful for so many years; rather, it is the combination of dreaming, planning, and believing! Mrs. Feaster knows all of her students very well. Although the primary focus of the RaD lab is kindergartners and first graders, she serves students as old as third grade. Regardless of a student’s age, she can provide you a detailed description of his abilities, the progress he is making in both the lab and the classroom, and a family history. Shelly Schuessler, the Program Coordinator for Llano Elementary commented on Mrs. Feaster’s attention to detail: “Gwen believes in her program and is a proponent of the program. She keeps in close communication with the teachers, parents and administrators to ensure her students are successful.” “As a small school community, communication with the teachers has been easy and frequent,” explains Mrs. Feaster. To promote communication, and to ensure that each student is challenged but not overwhelmed, she maintains detailed notes of every change she makes in the student’s lessons. She refers to her notes often, consulting with the student’s classroom teacher regarding progress. She provides the teacher a report detailing the student’s Diagnostic Screening Test: Reading scores. At the end of the six-week grading period, teachers and parents

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receive a Summary Report that includes their student’s lesson progress, comments about performance, her phone number, and her conference time. Mrs. Feaster works with Llano Elementary staff to compile a “Start-Up” list of potential students who will need assistance the following year. Those students begin in the lab immediately after school starts in the fall. Other students are assigned to the lab after the first six to eight weeks. Of the lab, teacher Carol Freeman attests, “I have taught at Llano Elementary more than 21 years in several grades. I have seen the most positive reading results come from the students attending the CEI lab. We have various reading tutorials. While the other programs show

by BC Seely, Solutions Analyst

improvement, the CEI lab is overwhelmingly the most effective, in my opinion.” Oscar and Fyli are just two students who have shown great results with Mrs. Feaster’s assistance and her individualization of CEI’s Letter Recognition program. Oscar did not attend pre-Kindergarten, so he entered school with no knowledge of letter names or sounds and no computer skills. Within two months of school, he was recognizing letters and their sounds and using the computer keyboard without assistance! Mrs. Feaster boasts, “He confidently says the letter names and sounds of the letters during See Say!” “Fyli began in Letter Recognition Level I, Lesson 1,” explains Mrs. Feaster. “He is now in Lesson 5 and can read 12 sight words. He is quite smart and very proud of himself!” Oscar and Fyli are not alone in their experiences. Elaine McDaniel, a recently retired kindergarten teacher, explains, “I have students that were struggling with their letters and sounds attend the lab and

Llano Elementary ELS facilitator Gwen Feaster is proud to say that Llano Elementary has earned CEI’s Exemplary status every year for the past decade.


were able to exit the lab after successfully completing the Letter Recognition lessons. Mrs. Feaster does a great job of running the lab. My students look forward to attending the lab and the atmosphere is very positive.” One reason, according to Mrs. Feaster, is that “having the choice of choosing, Letter Name, Letter Name and Sound, or Letter Sound is a great option to the facilitator when working with the very young students.” Another way Gwen helps is by taping the students’ sight word lists to the table, so they can have extra practice. Mrs. Feaster also knows the benefits of motivating her students. She always finds a positive comment to ensure the student that he is learning and that she is proud of his efforts. Her students are quick to show their name on Gwen’s Mastery Bulletin Board and count the stars by each Mastery Cycles they have successfully completed. Mrs. Feaster also adds new certificates when students move to the next level.

“We have various reading tutorials. While the other programs show improvement, the CEI lab is overwhelmingly the most effective….” Quick Pick is another activity that the students like to show off. Once a student can read 25 words within 50 seconds, Gwen writes the student’s name on a tag and places it on the Quick Pick board. When the student beats that time, Mrs. Feaster writes the new time on a tag. She explains, “The Quick Pick board encourages the students to try harder to increase their fluency.” Gwen even rewards students at the end of each period by allowing them choose a small sticker when they give their best effort. “The recognition need not be expensive but genuine and earned.” You would think that communication, consistency, adhering to the Mastery Cycle, focusing on critical content, early

intervention and a positive facilitator would guarantee that a lab earns Exemplary status. ­However, there is more! Andy, Gwen’s husband, volunteers to read with a student each week. As a result, students have the privilege of experiencing a dynamic couple’s genuine interest and determination that they succeed in school and in life. Both Gwen and Andy act on each student’s dreams, plans and beliefs every day. The end result? One can only imagine how many of Gwen’s current and former students convey their success stories, and all of those stories began with the dreams, plans and beliefs of Gwen Feaster! Her life’s work says it all!

Consistency is Key to Westwood Elementary ELS Lab Success by Robin Irving, Solutions Analyst

Consistency. In virtually any endeavor, the level of consistency involved will have an impact on the level of success. Linda Calverley has been the facilitator for the Essential Learning Systems (ELS) lab at Westwood Elementary (Palestine, TX) for 12 years now. Out of those 12 years, the lab has now reached a milestone of having been named as an Exemplary Lab for 10 years. That is consistency at its best. “From the start, Linda had a desire to do things correctly,” recalls CEI Solutions Analyst Robyn Irving. “I have always appreciated how well she follows CEI’s recommendations, and I believe that adherence to proven methods is a big part of why her lab has had such great success in helping struggling students improve.” Ms. Calverley enjoys her work and feels it is an important part of the Westwood Elementary academic program. “The most fulfilling thing I feel in running our CEI lab is helping all of the students become more confident, better readers,” Linda said. Ms. Calverley recognizes that she would not be able to do her job as well without the backing of her administrators. “Every administrator on our campus is involved in support of our CEI lab,” Ms.

Westwood Elementary ELS facilitator Linda Calverley and her students have consistently earned Exemplary status during Ms. Calverly’s tenure.

Calverley explains. “They can count on me to supply answers to students’ learning deficits, and I can count on them to support our lab by providing encouragement in our efforts to help students in need. Their confidence in me is truly appreciated.” Sonya Brown serves as the principal of Westwood Elementary, along with Assistant Principal Rebecca Huff and Counselor Debbie Coates. “I have had Linda’s lab in my territory for many years now, and I always enjoy my visits there,” Robyn Irving notes. “It was especially fun this year to get to show such a veteran facilitator all of the new bells and whistles of ELS 9.0! I know Linda will make the most of the new features, and her students will continue to benefit from her dedication and professionalism … and, yes, her consistency.”

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Five McAllen ISD Labs Honored as Exemplary By Laura Byrd, Solutions Specialist

Escandon and Navarro Elementary Schools Sonia Rodriguez is a great CEI facilitator. “She is very motivational and excited to work with her students each day,” says Laura Byrd, CEI Solutions Specialist. “She follows CEI recommendations very conscientiously and always wants the best for her students.” Sonia facilitates Essential Learning Systems (ELS) labs at both Escandon Elementary and Navarro Elementary in McAllen ISD. CEI would like to congratulate her for earning Exemplary status for both labs. Seguin and McAuliffe Elementary Schools Angela Gonzalez is a veteran reading teacher in McAllen ISD. She spends half her day at Seguin Elementary and the other half at McAuliffe Elementary working with reading groups and ELS labs, and students from both schools love attending the labs.

Sonia Rodriguez (far left) poses with students from the Escandon Elementary ELS lab (top photo) and the Navarro Elementary ELS lab (center photo).

Angela really enjoys using the ELS program with her dyslexia students, and according to CEI Solutions Specialist Laura Byrd, she is very gifted at it. “I can tell when I look at Angela’s CEI Learning Manager at both schools that she is a proficient, experienced facilitator. She places the students on correct sequences and is great at adjusting the program for each student.” Congratulations to both of Angela’s labs for earning CEI’s Exemplary status this year. Thigpen-Zavala Elementary Juan Garcia is the facilitator in the CEI lab at Thigpen-Zavala Elementary School in McAllen ISD. He creates a very calm, organized lab where the students are motivated to come and to succeed at their ELS lessons. He has a very consistent reward system set up, and he praises and encourages students regularly. CEI Solutions Specialist Laura Byrd describes the positive setting that Juan has been able to create for the children. “Every time I visit the lab I hear the students speaking out loud. They are well trained on the program, and everyone is happy to be there. It is an environment very conducive to learning and success!” Byrd says. Kudos to Juan for earning his second consecutive Exemplary Lab award.

Bottom PHOTO: McAuliffe Elementary Principal Sandra Pitchford (left) with McAuliffe and Seguin Elementary facilitator Angela Gonzalez .

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Thigpen-Zavala facilitator Juan Garcia and his students are all smiles after receiving their Exemplary Lab award.


Til t he Cowboys Come Home By Susan Keith, Solutions Analyst

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I

n her application for the Exemplary Lab award for the eleventh year, long-time facilitator Joy Brown stated, “Motivating our students to become better readers and overall better students is a goal that we strive for, and if we reach our goal, then we believe our lab is exemplary.” Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Sheilah Owens are both paraprofessionals who have devoted themselves to helping their Woodson Cowboys become stronger in their academic skills. Woodson purchased the Essential Learning Systems (ELS) program in 1995. The school added Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) in 2004. Joy, who has facilitated both labs since their inception, is also the Woodson librarian, and she is very tech-savvy. She commented that she is so impressed with the way CEI keeps pace with technology and makes advancements and upgrades every year. She remembers the early days of the floppy disks and Double Talk boxes. Because the first lab has been in operation for 16 years, and because the school serves students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade, Joy has the privilege of seeing her former students frequently. In fact, three high school students who attended the lab from first through seventh grade experienced a homecoming of sorts when they visited the library to see Joy receive her Exemplary Lab award. Administrative Assistant Margaret Mathiews, who went through initial facilitator training with Joy, was also on hand for the presentation. She credited much of the lab’s success to Joy’s organizational skills. Former lab student Allie Hibbitts, now a freshman, agreed, “I loved the programs, and Mrs. Brown was an amazing teacher!” According to Joy, Allie was an excellent student who is still doing very well in her studies.

Left to Right: Derrick Robles, Facilitator Joy Brown, Allie Hibbitts, Administrative Assistant Margaret Mathiews, and Gilberto Davalos receive Woodson’s Eleventh Exemplary Lab award.

reading. [The programs] do an excellent job covering objectives that help prepare them for testing during the year.” Susan Keith, a CEI Solutions Analyst since 1997, commented, “This is one of the best CEI labs I have ever visited. Joy Brown and Sheilah Owens are really invested in the growth and success of their students. The administrators, former Superintendent Danny

“The CEI program … is a great experience for students needing extra help in math and reading. [The programs] do an excellent job covering objectives that help prepare them for testing during the year.” Derrick Robles, who worked on both programs, added, “It was a pretty good class for me. It helped me with my speech.” Derrick, also a freshman this year, was born with a serious birth defect that affected his speech. During the time he was in the CEI lab, he had several surgical procedures, but Joy boasted that he never complained and always had a positive attitude. In fact, she said that working in ELS and MLS helped him keep up with his reading skills and math skills when he missed school because of operations. Gilberto Davalos, a sophomore student with Spanish-speaking parents, said of Essential Learning Systems, “It was excellent for me. I came from a Hispanic family and it helped me a lot.” He added that he is still seeing the results of his working in the lab. The students aren’t the only ones who have fond memories of their time in the lab. Mrs. Brown always gets positive feedback from parents, especially when they come to Open House in September and their children show them how the programs work. Additionally, the administration and teachers at Woodson sing the praises of the programs and facilitators. Second grade teacher Kim Miller writes, “The Woodson CEI program has helped my second grade students master the basic reading skills. It has helped them experience success in reading, which will carry over into other areas. The feedback that we receive helps us [the teachers] monitor the students’ progress as they continue through the program. I appreciate the time and effort [each of the facilitators] has put into running an effective reading program.” Fifth grade teacher Dale Bundy adds, “The CEI program … is a great experience for students needing extra help in math and 42

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Bellah, current Superintendent Gordon Thomas and Administrative Assistant Mathiews have always been extremely supportive of the programs and the facilitators. This lab has been working with CEI longer than I have.” It is common knowledge that both CEI programs have come a long way since Joy began using them to help her students. She loves the MLS program because it makes math fun to do, and she tries to help the students understand how math can always be fun instead of something to be feared. Regarding the changes in ELS, Joy said the students love the most recent version, which includes pre- and post-tests that allow them to skip lessons that they don’t need to complete. Her favorite thing about ELS 9.0 is that she no longer has to do Word Meaning Review with the students. Not everyone is in agreement about that. Sixth grader Bailey Kinyon said she misses Word Meaning Review because it was easier than the post-test. Of course, the biggest benefit of both programs is the success the students have experienced as a result of using them. Many students have graduated from Woodson and even gone on to college because of the help they received in the ELS and MLS labs. CEI would like to thank Joy Brown and her co-facilitator Sheilah Owens for the time and devotion they have put into helping their students become better learners and for helping them find success both in and out of Woodson School. We would also like to thank Superintendent/Principal Gordon Thomas and his staff for all the support they have given to strengthen their students’ academic skills. It is clear that the Woodson students will continue to be successful … even AFTER the Cowboys come home!


Third-grader Raygon Briseno

Third-grader Sterling Gotschall

Shawn Brown (left) and Taylor Killion

Second-grader Kylie Deaton

Superintendent/Principal/Coach Gordon Thomas

Second-grader Emmori Munoz

Second-grader Clay Green

Third-grader Ryan Diaz

Sixth-grader Mayson Groote

Second-grader Hanna Miller, granddaughter of former Superintendent Danny Bellah

Left to Right: Mayson Groote, Stasha Williams, Bailey Killion

Fourth-grader Colton Wagley

Fourth-grader Jordan Adkins Creative Education Institute www.ceilearning.com

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supergiant: an extremely large brilliant star with a luminosity thousands of times greater than that of the sun. 44

We believe supergiant stars aren’t limited to outer space. We’re confident you’re astounded by the brilliance of superstar students in your labs and classrooms each and every day. And we’re offering you two opportunities to recognize them in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of SHARE! 2011-2012 Creative Writing Contest Creative Education Institute proudly invites all students to participate in our (lucky) Thirteenth Annual Creative Writing Contest! Why is it lucky? Because this year, we have added an additional category … Science! Now every student and facilitator participating in the Essential Learning Systems, Mathematical Learning Systems, or Science Vocabulary Essentials program is welcome to enter! For their submissions, ELS and SVE students and facilitators may write original stories using the words from their recent lessons or cycles. MLS students and facilitators may write math word problems or puzzlers using any or several operators. Parents and teachers may help students with spelling, but the students must come up with their own ideas and complete all of the work. The deadline for electronic entry forms and story submissions is the second Friday in February 2012. If you are sending your stories electronically but mailing in your entry forms, please make sure they are postmarked by the first Friday in February. We will publish the results in the Spring/Summer Who’s Who issue of SHARE Magazine. For a complete list of rules, an entry form, and a sample ELS story, please visit www.ceilearning.com.

2011-2012 Who’s Who Issue of SHARE SHARE Magazine’s annual “Who’s Who” issue shows our appreciation for the remarkable students who use CEI programs and for our partners who support those students. In this issue, we celebrate your dedication … your commitment … your achievements. In other words, we dedicate this special issue of SHARE to YOU! In this issue, we feature not only students, but also facilitators, teachers, and administrators. If you would like to recognize your remarkable students and the supportive personnel associated with your lab, please complete the following information and return it to your Solutions Analyst no later than Thursday, March 15. Following, you will find information about what you should submit with your nomination. Please note that due to the volume of submissions we receive, we may not be able to include your submission if it does not meet guidelines. Please submit all submissions digitally, via a word processing document or text file attachment, or by email. You may include information for multiple students in the same document or email; it is not necessary to create a separate document for each student. Please include in your submission the following information. Be sure to format your submission as indicated below: Student (or Facilitator) First Name and Last Initial or Last Name District Name (if applicable) School or Lab Name City, State, Zip Primary Facilitator First Name and Last Name Primary Facilitator’s e-mail address Solutions Analyst First and Last Name For the feature, write 100 words or fewer about the subject’s actions and accomplishments related to the lab and/or classroom. We particularly like quotes from facilitators, faculty members, and parents! Please include a high-resolution photo of your subject. Please Note: Photos taken by many cell phones are not suitable for print. Check your photo on your computer before you submit it; if it’s blurry, it will not print well. Finally, include a signed Permission to Publish form for each subject you wish to feature. You may obtain a copy of the Permission to Publish form from your Solutions Analyst or from the CEI website.


Recognize Your

Supergiants

Hubble Telescope image of Alpha Orionis, or Betelgeuse, a red supergiant. Credit: Andrea Dupree (HarvardSmithsonian CfA), Ronald Gilliland (STScI), NASA and ESA


What do the words on the preceding page have in common? Yes, they’re scientific terms, but would you believe that some of these advanced terms are found on many state science assessments ... for third graders?! Looking at some of those terms, it makes it a little easier to understand why poor science scores are nothing new. Study after study finds that vocabulary is critical to students’ ability to understand and think about scientific concepts. And unfortunately, many students just haven’t developed that critical vocabulary. Research indicates that there are more new words in any science textbook than there are in the first year of a foreign language course. Compounding that problem is the fact that any of us require 8-12 repetitions to learn a new vocabulary word. For students with learning disabilities, that number may be as high as 100! Complicated science words are even more difficult.

At Academy (Texas) Middle School, students attend the computer lab each Friday to work on the science lesson words they studied during the week. “The lessons provide a review for some and remediation or practice for others,” says fifth grade science teacher Donna Beach. “The students love hearing the correct pronunciation of each lesson word. “As one student stated, ‘We are all learning the correct pronunciation of the words even though the teacher is unsure about some of the science words.’ As we know, our students love ‘catching us’ getting it wrong!” Llano (Texas) Elementary uses SVE during the spring semester has a remediation tool before

“The extra practice ensures that the students understand the lesson vocabulary before taking their mandated science test.” That’s where CEI comes in.... We’re excited to offer our new Science Vocabulary Essentials (SVE) — a program proven to accelerate the acquisition of critical science vocabulary in Grades 3-8 — for a special price that will allow you to implement it immediately! SVE teaches sets of science words or terms organized thematically with almost 400 lessons and more than 3,000 words! This supplemental intervention teaches students to decode, pronounce, spell, write, define, and use the words in context. Standards-based and correlating to your state’s grades 3-8 science standards and assessments, the design of SVE is so flexible that individual teachers may choose to use it in a variety of ways: ;; pre-teach vocabulary and essential concepts before a unit is taught — especially important for ELLs and children with learning disabilities; ;; reinforce teacher’s instruction by providing a review of critical concepts and vocabulary; ;; implement as an intervention, such as RTI, for struggling learners — those who need significantly more practice; ;; review and practice for benchmark tests and state assessments.

the state mandated test. The fifth grade science teacher provides a list of students needing help and the particular lessons in which the student is not firm in his knowledge of the lesson vocabulary. The students are pulled during their tutorial time to complete the lessons. “The extra practice ensures that the students understand the lesson vocabulary before taking their mandated science test,” says Programs Coordinator Shelly Schuessler. Basically a “plug and play” software program, SVE uses direct instruction that requires little teacher intervention and no formal training. The best news is that the SVE program carries a site license, allowing you to load the program onto every computer in your school … all at one low price … with no additional costs … ever. Even the first year of technical support is included. You wanted help for all students, including the growing numbers of ELLs and students with learning disabilities. You wanted achievement to improve in science as measured in classroom grades and on state assessments. You wanted to narrow the achievement gap. You needed to save teachers’ time and to save money. And, of course, you needed an intervention that is grounded in scientific research and includes ways to motivate students. We listened, and we have the solution to meet your needs!

SVE

®

Science Vocabulary Essentials®

Save 20%! Limited-Time offer Discounted Price

$795 Contact us: Call 800.234.7319, extension 131, or e-mail info@ceilearning.com

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SHARE Magazine, Fall 2011/Winter 2012