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SHARE magazine

Volume 20, Issue 1/2


SHARE magazine

SPRING/SUMMER 2009 Table of Contents

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From the Editor the children cannot wait! Year after year, many districts across the country do fine at the elementary level, but virtually all their middle and high schools miss their AYP in reading and/or mathematics. We believe that high schools cannot earn their AYP because of their inherited problems ... and we have ideas about how to resolve this issue.


seal your students' victory The 2009-2010 Support Agreement entitles cei partners to remarkable new features.

time is on your side: 12 Essential Learning Systems in an RTI Implementation We at CEI learn in lots of ways, but one of our most valuable sources of information is from the facilitators in our labs and from their principals and other administrators….



In the Spotlight Revealing Her Game Plan Edinburg CISD's Maria Luisa Guerra the write stuff: CEI Announces 2008-2009 Creative Writing Contest Winners


CEI Releases New Science Vocabulary Program Just as we did in the development of Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS), we listened to our clients’ suggestions that schools badly need the kind of science intervention that CEI has become famous for.


© Michaeldb |


fortress youth development center: Igniting Powerful Changes in the Lives of Urban Youth



dog days in the CEI lab In 1969, child psychologist Boris Levinson published a paper detailing research he had done by allowing his dog to attend the therapy sessions of his young patients. Levinson found that when the children interacted with the dog, they became less withdrawn and started to communicate more. Tascosa High School's June Ince finds that the same is true for her students. All-star lineup in Arkansas DeWitt Middle School MLS facilitator Debbie English had a hard time selecting a student to feature in SHARE … so she gave us three! BETTs ELS Lab covers all the bases Edinburg CISD facilitator Josie Tanamachi shares the success of two Betts Elementary students.

Facilitator closes out 26 Rookie First Championship Season

Suzanne Krause knew she needed a program that would apply to students from several special classifications. She researched many programs before finding that CEI’s ELS would be the best fit for her students at Round Top-Carmine Elementary School. First-year facilitator Jen McCain has proved her right.

knockin' 'em out of the park 27 CEI is pleased to present the 2008-2009 Edition of Who's Who Among CEI Students.


Publisher: Ric Klein Managing Editor: Robin Wilson Contributing Editor: Lesley Mullen Design and Art: Robin Wilson Essential Learning Systems ® (ELS ®), Mathematical Learning Systems® (MLS®), CODEBREAKER ®, CEI Evaluate™, (LR ®), Letter Recognition ® CEI Learning Manager™ (CLM™), Sentence Assembler™, Sound Express ®, Quick Tales™ and eQuick Tales™ are registered trademarks of Creative Education Institute®. PRINTED BY: AMA NYSTROM PRINTING/FINISHING WACO, TEXAS  254.776.8860 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. 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 WRITE: SHARE Magazine 1105 Wooded Acres Suite 700 Waco, Texas 76710 E-MAIL: SHARE @ FAX: 888.475.2402 WEBSITE:

from the Editor


aybe it was because my father had no sons ... or maybe it was because I grew up in a neighborhood full of boys. Whatever the reason, as a kid, I played lots of sports. I've mentioned several times in this space my love for basketball, but as a youth, all it took was one miserable seventh-grade season for me to figure out that I was never going to excel at hoops. My sport was softball. I know I'm giving away my age by telling you this, but back in the late 70s and early 80s, there wasn't much in the way of softball opportunities for girls other than Little League ... at least not here in Central Texas; that was before the advent of the club sports era ... before the commonplace skills camps, tournaments, and opportunities available for girls today. It was before they had softball teams in public high schools in this part of the state. And it was before young female pitchers began perfecting the art of the windmill-style fastpitch. We had a few girls in our league that could throw the ball pretty hard, but without that extra velocity that windmill pitching motion produced, it was a challenge to get a lot of speed on a pitch. Without that fastpitch speed, the ball was quite a bit easier to hit, but it typically didn't travel as far or as hard. And that meant that the scorekeeper rarely got to shade in the whole diamond on the scorecard; you just didn't see that many dingers in softball before fastpitch was in vogue. Because of that, a homer was really special. I was a good enough hitter to hit some homers during my Little League career ... three to be exact. That's nothing these days, but to me, they were really special. You never remember a home run as fondly as you do the first one. My first one came on a hot July Saturday afternoon. My team had won its way through the district tournament, and we were in the championship series. I was pitching. And after the top of the first inning, I was struggling. I couldn't seem to throw a strike to save my life. Usually able to work through a bad inning, I was already feeling defeated. But then we took our at-bat. I can't remember exactly where in the order I batted; I was a pretty good hitter, so usually it was third, fourth, or fifth. I often stepped up to the plate with runners on base; this time, there were two on. The opposing team's pitcher, while not a windmill-style pitcher, could toss a pretty mean fastball. I don't remember how many pitches it took; I just remember the one ... the one that I got the perfect piece of ... the one that sailed higher and higher into the left field lights ... my first home run. It took me a few seconds to figure out that I had hit it over the fence. But the cheering grew louder

and louder, and the infield umpire signaled that I should round the bases. When I reached home plate, my entire team was there waiting for me to shower me with hugs, high-fives, and pats on the back. It was awesome! Unfortunately, my pitching didn't improve. My coach pulled me from the mound in the second or third inning, and we lost the game by a disgustingly large margin, if I remember correctly. But the next morning, in the sports section of the local newspaper, there was a photo of me — with the hugest smile on my face — crossing home plate after knocking one out of the park. There it was ... my shining moment, immortalized in newsprint. I still smile when I see that photo. And that's what I remember about that game. I've looked forward to this issue of SHARE for a year. Last May, we presented our first edition of Who's Who Among CEI Students. In that issue (Volume 19, Issue 2 — Summer 2008), we showcased your students' accomplishments. And we received such amazing feedback on that issue that we decided to do it again this year. I have to admit that I envy you. I'm always encouraged by the stories you offer each time we begin to assemble a new issue of SHARE, but I envy you because you're in the proverbial dugout every day. You're pitching batting practice, popping fly balls, reviewing the rules, and making sure your students touch every base. Yes, I realize that you all occasionally experience days like my day on the mound I described earlier. But I also know that you're there to witness it when your kids knock one out of the park ... to shower them with the hugs, the high-fives, and the pats on the back that encourage and motivate them to achieve academic, social, and professional success. In this school year-ending double issue of SHARE, we present the 2008-2009 edition of Who's Who Among CEI Students. In the Who's Who section, which begins on page 27, we celebrate your students' accomplishments, and we cheer their shining moments. And just so they remember them, we've immortalized those accomplishments in print. I, for one, hope they feel just like I do when I come across that old newspaper clipping of mine. Best wishes for success,

Robin Wilson Editor, SHARE Magazine

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

SHARE Magazine © Copyright 2009 by Creative Education Institute® All Rights Reserved. For further information, call 1.800.234.7319.


Creative education institute w w w.ceilear

SHARE Magazine spring 2009

We are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer “Tomorrow.” His name is “Today.” Gabriela Mistral Chilean Poet, 1889-1957 Su Nombre es Hoy (His Name is Today)


e at CEI pay a great deal of attention to states’ AYP reports each summer. We check to see how schools using our programs fared, and we look for the patterns that indicate ways in which we can help. We celebrate, year after year, that more than 99 percent of the schools using Essential Learning Systems (ELS) and/or Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) earn their AYPs for the populations they serve. One of the patterns that we are seeing, also, year after year is that many districts across the country do fine at the elementary level, but virtually all their middle and high schools miss their AYP in reading and/or mathematics. What is going on, of course, is that those elementary schools feeding the middle schools may have only a few struggling students — too few to be counted at grade level in the AYP calculation. But when three or more elementary schools feed into one middle school, there are then more than enough of these struggling students to be counted, and so the middle school gets caught in the accountability system even though some of the children coming to the school are performing as low as first- or second-graders in reading and/or mathematics. They inherited a major problem that cannot be solved in a short time. Consequently, students who perform significantly behind their peers make their way to high school. And they combine with others like them in the high schools, so high schools cannot earn their AYP either because of their inherited problems.

costly and rarely effective. Translating that model to education means that prevention of failure, if done appropriately, is very cost-effective since it does not require long periods of time and is highly successful. Retention, re-teaching, and typical “remediation” take much more time, cost much more than prevention, and have less success since they do not individualize, nor address the root cause of failure: faulty sensory processing. Intensive intervention, usually in a special education setting, is very expensive in time and money and has much less success — in part because identification comes so late. Researchers make the following arguments for early identification and intervention:  Prevent academic failure at the earliest possible time  Prevent the identification of as many children as possible for special education services (perhaps up to 70% of those currently being identified as learning-disabled)  The brain is most plastic and able to change and learn at early ages  Failure to learn to read results in failure to learn content knowledge  Failure to learn to read results in weak vocabularies since we learn most of our vocabulary from reading

The children cannot wait! Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

by Bonnie A. Lesley, Ed.D CEI president


In fact, to resolve this issue, the intervention needs to occur during the earlier years of school. Likewise, those who would try to solve our nation’s “dropout” problem must understand that to do so requires the earliest possible interventions, not waiting until a child enters grade 9 without the knowledge and skills that he or she would need for academic success even at the upper-elementary level. A low-skilled ninth grader gets stuck forever at that level — or until he or she drops out — unless someone provides the appropriate interventions. Therein lies the problem of American education. Therein is the source of cries and demands to close the achievement gap, to improve graduation rates, for students to score higher on the incessant tests, for schools to be accountable for the resources invested in them. The costs of failing to solve these critical problems are enormous in economic terms and outrageous in a wealthy democracy. These are the costs at the macro level. But the costs may be even more devastating at the micro level — the level of the individual child who waits and waits and waits for the help he or she needs. The research literature is replete with references to what is usually termed as “a sense of urgency for the earliest possible intervention” for any learner who has a learning difficulty or disability. We are reminded of the medical model that shows that prevention of disease is low-cost and highly effective; treatment costs more than prevention and is less effective; and recovery is very

 Failure to learn to read results in damaged concepts of self and one’s ability ever to be successful at school  The longer the school waits to intervene, the longer it takes to accelerate learning sufficiently for the child to catch up with peers  Students who fail to learn actually can “acquire” a learning disability  Failure to learn to read early is a strong predictor that the student will become a dropout  Failure to learn frequently results in behavior problems at home and at school  Failure to learn frequently results in criminal behavior, increasing the societal cost of crime, adjudication, and imprisonment  Failure to learn highly correlates with substance abuse   Prevention efforts decrease the need and cost of later interventions  Failure to learn means that peers get far more practice in reading, making it increasingly difficult ever to narrow the achievement gap


At the individual child level, therefore, the micro level, a child suffers greatly if he or she fails to learn. Every day of school is agony and repeated failure. Every day of not being able to learn means falling further and further behind peers. Every day results also in not learning content knowledge and academic vocabulary since the student cannot read texts. Every day without an appropriate intervention means the high likelihood of repeated in-grade retention; always failing the state assessments; facing the humiliation of being over-age in a grade; feeling the disapproval of family, friends, and educators; and eventually dropping out of school. And every dropout is highly likely to face a future of minimum-wage jobs, poverty, dysfunctional relationships, crime, substance abuse, and the probability of early death. The picture cannot be more grim. The following scenario illustrates the spiral downward for a child who comes to school already behind and then what happens if there is not an immediate intervention that accelerates learning. Scenario: Jasmine Jasmine enters kindergarten at age 5 without pre-school experience. She is identified as an English-language learner, and she has almost no prior experience with books or early literacy acquisition. She can count only to five, she can name only four colors, and she knows nothing about shapes or patterns. Jasmine’s school is one that always makes its AYP in part because it has very low numbers of students from poverty, students with learning disabilities, and students who are English-language learners. The school is respected by most parents because they can be fairly certain that their children will gain at least one year academically for a year of instruction, what we call “expected growth.” The problem, however, is that without appropriate interventions, such as CEI’s ELS and MLS programs, the “typical growth” for struggling students is at best six months for a year of instruction. The table that follows dramatically displays what happens in this school. Jasmine enters kindergarten two years behind her peers. By the end of grade 5 (or her sixth year in school), however, she is five years behind! And the longer she goes without help, the more behind she is. At the beginning of her seventh year in school (or grade 6), her reading and mathematics skills are barely at the first-grade level. Meanwhile, the average or above-average student stays at least on grade-level and is always ready for the challenges of the next grade. While Jasmine has still not yet learned to read fluently in her native language and is even further behind in English reading, her classmates have zoomed ahead, reading hundreds of books, mastering content knowledge, and greatly expanding their vocabularies. Year of School or Grade

Expected Growth

Typical Growth

1 or Kinder


3—3.5 (age)

2 or Grade 1



3 or Grade 2



4 or Grade 3



5 or Grade 4



6 or Grade 5



Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

 Failure to learn is the result not of learning disabilities, but the result of limited early experiences in the home and lack of adequate and appropriate instruction in the early grades

The costs to Jasmine for these six lost years are enormous! This little girl who entered school so excited and eager to learn now knows that she is a total failure at the enterprise called school, and her self-esteem will probably never be what it should be, no matter what happens. She hates school, she has few friends, and she has already resolved to leave at the earliest opportunity. She has failed the state assessments at grades 3, 4, and 5. And she is likely to have been retained at least twice, if not more, during the elementary years. Some psychologists state that retention at grade is so devastating to a child that nothing is more painful except the loss of a parent. Research indicates that a child who is retained even once is about 50 percent likely to drop out, and a child retained twice is almost 100 percent likely to drop out. The tragedy is that none of this had to happen if the school had the resources to do what it needed to do in her kindergarten year to accelerate her learning so that she could perform on par with her peers. Let’s suppose that Jasmine is eventually socially promoted to middle school, although her reading is only at the first-grade level. Her teachers do not know what to do with her since she has not qualified for special education, and she is not yet fluent in English, so they support her the best they can in their large classes, and they ask her parents to help her by reading her texts aloud, but, of course, the parents are not fluent in English either. The school has no available resources for special instruction for students who are not learning disabled since the Response-to-Intervention requirements were not funded, and the school is not a Title I school. The table below illustrates Jasmine’s progress of about six months for each year of instruction throughout middle school. Year of School or Grade

Expected Growth

Typical Growth

7 or Grade 6



8 or Grade 7



6 or Grade 5



Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

Jasmine began middle school performing like a first grader, and by the end of grade 8, she is only mid-year of grade 2 in her reading performance — 6.5 years behind her peers and clearly unable to do acceptable middle school work, much less high school work. For all those who are stunned to know that there are high school students performing at the secondgrade level, Jasmine is an example of how that can happen, and it happens far too frequently in our country. At this point Jasmine has no hope, so she never even enrolls in high school.


Scenario: A Solution for Jasmine All is not lost. There is hope for Jasmine! The remarkable news from the research community is that Jasmine could have been performing at grade-level by the beginning of grade 2 had she had adequate and appropriate instruction to meet her needs. CEI’s 20-plus years of data collection measuring gains from pre- to post-tests in Essential Learning Systems (ELS) labs tells us consistently that even average labs can produce gains of about two years for one year of instruction. Even more dramatic results can be attained if students are assigned to the lab more than one period per day, as the Tier II-Tier III implementation of Response to Intervention requires. The following table reflects what could have been Jasmine’s story if she had been able to participate from the beginning of kindergarten in an ELS lab. Note that the table now includes a column depicting “accelerated growth,” rather than the “typical growth” of a struggling student.

Year of School or Grade

Expected Growth

Accelerated Growth

1 or Kinder


3 (age)—K

2 or Grade 1



The table demonstrates that students entering kindergarten who are two years behind can, with two years of intervention that truly accelerates learning, be on grade-level and can most likely exit the intervention program. Only those who will need intensive special education services will need to continue the intervention past grade 1. Educators may wish to read this important study: “Preventing Early Reading Difficulties through Intervention in Kindergarten and First Grade” by Vellutino, Scanlon, Small, Fanuele, & Sweeney in EvidenceBased Reading Practices for Response to Intervention, edited by Haager, Klingner, and Vaughn, 2007, pp. 185-219. Their findings were as follows: The data also suggest that providing supplemental literacy instruction in kindergarten may be all that is needed to prevent early and long-term reading difficulties in many at-risk children. Results on reading achievement measures administered at the end of first, second, and third grade provide additional support for this suggestion (p. 201). … early and long-term reading difficulties can be prevented in most children found to be at risk for such difficulties if these children are identified at the beginning of kindergarten (if not sooner) and if appropriate intervention to institute foundational literacy skills is provided throughout kindergarten (pp. 202-203). … the majority of children who continue to need remedial assistance at the beginning of first grade, despite having received such assistance in kindergarten, can be brought to at least average levels of literacy achievement by the end of first grade (p. 203). We used letter identification to determine at-risk status in the present study because we and others have found this measure to be the single-best predictor of early and long-term reading achievement …(p. 210). We intuit that the most effective preventive model would incorporate both enhanced classroom instruction and appropriate supplemental instruction for children identified as at risk for early literacy difficulties at the beginning of their school year (i.e., after they are identified as at risk) and would implement both of these strategies simultaneously rather than in tandem as dictated by the three-tier model (p. 211). … reading difficulties in most beginning readers are caused primarily by experiential and instructional inadequacies rather than cognitive impairments of biological origin …. (p. 214). Scenario: What If We Wait Until Grade 3? What would have happened had Jasmine had to wait until her fourth year of school or the beginning of grade 3 before she had access to an appropriate intervention? In the past, most schools did not begin to consider anything beyond Tier I intervention until grade 3 or 4, so this scenario continues to play itself out in many American schools. Year of School or Grade

Expected Growth

Typical Growth

Accelerated Growth

4 or Grade 3


Pre-K .5—K

Pre-K .5—1.5

5 or Grade 4




6 or Grade 5




7 or Grade 6




Under this scenario, Jasmine would have required more than three years of intense accelerated growth in order to be on level with her

There is a strong relationship between reading fluency and practice, so that if students are not able to access print for 3-5 years, it would very difficult to close this gap. Torgesen (2002) estimated that students in the interventions would have to read for 8 hours per day for a year in order to close the gap created by the delay in the students’ access to print. The bad news is that the required intervention time to bring Jasmine to grade-level almost doubled over the time required had intervention begun in kindergarten, rather than grade 3. Monetary costs are much higher than they would have been had intervention occurred at the earliest possible time. The effectiveness of this intervention is lessened because of psychological damage of repeated failure and doubt and the academic losses that occur when one cannot read. Continued interventions in the content areas are likely to be required. And even one grade-level retention makes Jasmine still a possible dropout. The good news is that Jasmine was able to achieve grade-level in reading by the time she completed grade 6, so, if she is sufficiently motivated and continues to receive the support she needs, she can successfully complete middle school, high school, and beyond. Scenario: What If We Wait Until Grade 6? At the beginning of this article, we noted that many struggling students do not become visible to schools until middle school, when there are a sufficient number of them to constitute a subgroup for which the school is accountable for AYP. Consequently, CEI has many, many middle schools using our programs. Some educators ask us if it is too late to make a difference. It is, of course, never too late. One of the hallmarks of American education is that we never close the door. No matter how old someone is, he or she can, if desired, learn how to read or learn mathematics — or anything else. Educators have a moral and professional responsibility to do everything that they can, regardless of a child’s age, to ensure as much success as possible. Suppose Jasmine never got the help she needed in her elementary school, but over time was socially promoted to middle school. Her school has a CEI lab for their Response to Intervention implementation, so she was scheduled into two periods of reading per day, one in the regular classroom and one in the CEI lab. The table below demonstrates her progress. Year of School or Grade

Expected Growth

Typical Growth

Accelerated Growth

7 or Grade 6




8 or Grade 7




9 or Grade 8




10 or Grade 9




11 or Grade 10




If the school waits until grade 6 to address Jasmine’s needs, it will take at least five full years of intense acceleration for her to catch up with her peers in reading or mathematics. Assuming that everything works well and that Jasmine stays motivated, her peers would be ready for grade 11 before she caught up. But, of course, she would have been retained several times along the way most likely, she would have repeatedly failed the state assessments, the psychological damage would accumulate, and Jasmine would very possibly have given up and dropped out of school. The good news is that even though this type of intervention takes five years instead of two and costs a great deal more, it is still possible to save Jasmine. But she will live with the scars of neglect the rest of her life.

We hear people all the time who are in disbelief that a student could get to high school with such low levels of skill and knowledge. High school educators know, however, that many do, and the challenges they face are enormous. Students who are behind even two years when they get to high school (Jasmine was behind almost six years) almost never succeed without extraordinary effort. That is why ninth grade classes are sometimes two or three times as large as senior classes. These students never get out of grade 9, and they are highly likely to drop out sometime during their first year of high school. If Jasmine entered high school reading at the 2.5 level, could she still reach grade level and graduate? If she worked hard and accelerated her learning two years each year, it would take more than the four years allotted to high school for her to catch up. Of course, CEI has seen some students gain much more than two years in one year, especially when the student has more time in the lab. A Fontana High School student gained last year 8.4 years in less than one year by coming to school as early as 5:30 in the morning on many days in order to work extra time in addition to his ELS class during the school day. Conclusions These scenarios make clear why it is so very urgent that schools implement interventions at the earliest possible grade level and that they choose interventions that are truly therapeutic and that truly accelerate learning, such as CEI’s Essential Learning Systems, Mathematical Learning Systems, and the new Science Learning Systems. The children cannot wait! And the costs to our country of our requiring them to do so are unacceptably high. Worse yet, the costs to the individual child are incalculable, far-reaching, and forever. CEI encourages elementary schools with ELS and/or MLS labs to use them to their fullest capacity. The research makes it clear that all at-risk kindergarten students should be placed in the lab, as well as any first-grader who is behind. After grade 1, students who are new to the school, students who are limited-English, and students who have learning disabilities (including dyslexia and/or dyscalculia) are priorities — again catching them as early as possible. We are encouraging all new clients to begin in this way as well. We have worked hard to price our licenses in ways that makes more room licenses and/or more station licenses as affordable as possible since none of us wants to have to be in a position of serving “either/or” students. We need to serve all the ones who need help. At the middle school level, we encourage schools to identify students who are behind two or more years and to place them in the lab at grade 6 and then in subsequent grades as long as it takes for them to catch up. Again, students new to the school or district and who lag, students who are not fluent in English, and students who have learning disabilities must be included. High schools should be serving limited-English, special education, and alternative students who are behind — in addition to those who are not in these categories but who have low levels of knowledge and skills. We know, for example, that we could dramatically increase success in algebra if all ninth graders were (1) fluent in their math facts, (2) understood the concept and algorithm for long division, and (3) had mastered the concepts and operations of fractions. The vast majority of failures are due to these deficits. Big needs in reading include vocabulary growth and fluency development — two of ELS’s major strengths. And teachers tell us that the biggest problem in science is the amount of new vocabulary that students must learn each year. Studies have verified that one year of science has more new words and terms for students to learn than they would encounter in the first year of a foreign language. That is why CEI has developed SLS. CEI’s mission is to partner with our clients so that struggling learners of any age can get the help they need. The purpose of our service/support program is to ensure the most effective intervention possible—so that each student accelerates his or her learning and the school gets the results it needs. We are available every day for free consultation. The children cannot wait!

9 Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

grade-level peers. Given the likelihood that she would have been retained in grade at least once during this time and that she could not begin to read books and absorb content knowledge until grade 4, she is likely still behind academically even though her reading ability has dramatically improved. Fletcher, Lyon, Fuchs, & Barnes (2007) note the following:

2009-2010 Support Agreement Entitles CEI Partners to Remarkable new Features


major focus in current education research is active engagement and time-on-task. According to experts Mercer and Mercer: 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. To foster a positive and productive learning environment, students should spend as much time as possible engaged in meaningful academic tasks.

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

CEI lab facilitators and their administrators have echoed that sentiment by telling us that they want their students to have as much time on the program as possible. Guided by the emphasis on time-on-task and active engagement and knowing how critical they are for students with learning difficulties, CEI has made some changes in testing for both Essential Learning Systems and Mathematical Learning Systems. We have also asked our developers to create one of our most exciting enhancements ever! This year’s Essential Learning Systems update, ELS 8.0, will feature a totally automated, interactive placement test within the software. A step beyond the current Computerized ELS Placement Test, the new version pre-tests each student — on


the computer — over a group of words BEFORE the student completes the lessons over those words. If the student passes the pre-test, he moves to the next group, where he is pre-tested over the new list. Once the student fails to master a pre-test, he completes the full cycle of lessons over those words. Once he completes that cycle, he is pre-tested on the next group of words. This system continues throughout the entire ELS program. The benefits of the new process are twofold. Between the changes in testing and the Integrated ELS Placement Test — or the Auto-Placement for short ­— students can begin working their lessons much sooner. They can even start the program the first day of school! Additionally, students won’t spend as much time reviewing material with which they are already familiar. They will spend more time on task, actively engaged in lessons that present new and relevant information. You're already getting great results with ELS; just think of how much better those results will be with students spending more time learning more information! As far as Mathematical Learning Systems, our MLS facilitators raved about the latest program enhancement, CEI Direct, telling us that having a virtual service visit with the click of a button was very beneficial. Because it allows for immediate responses from the CEI Solutions Analyst, CEI Direct enables facilitators to spend more time working with students and making sure they are actively engaged. Still, we wondered what else we could do to ensure that your students were getting as much time on task as possible. For that reason, we chose to concentrate on placement testing. That way, students spend less time on review and more time on task, actively engaged in lessons that teach new concepts and processes. CEI’s support program includes free annual updates of our learning solutions software when applicable. Each year’s update incorporates the suggestions we receive from facilitators and administrators and combines them with the latest in research and technology to make even greater contributions to your students’ success. Our full support program also gives partners 24/7 access to a certified Solutions Analyst, unlimited use of the Web-based Activity Center, manual updates, professional development, recognition programs, CEI’s SHARE Magazine; and many more valuable benefits. CEI has already mailed copies of the 2009-2010 Support Agreements, so if you haven’t received yours, please contact our Client Support Representatives at 800.234.7319, extension 250. We know how important your students are to you, and we thank you for your commitment to helping them become winners … in school and in life. All you need to do to seal that victory is sign and return your CEI Support Agreement as quickly as possible.


Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

Seal Your Students’ Victory

© Kathy Wynn |

Essential Learning Syste


e at CEI learn in lots of ways, but one of our most valuable sources of information is from the facilitators in our labs and from their principals and other administrators. In just the past few years, we have seen several schools experimenting with adding time in the ELS lab for as many students as possible. We are, of course, very aware of the volumes of research on the importance of time on task (see our research paper), but we just did not know if doubling or tripling the time that a student spends in the lab in one day would incrementally improve their gains. It does! We have learned that from many of our schools! Four examples:

Time Is On Your Side Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

by Bonnie A. Lesley, Ed.D CEI president



An alternative school with middle and high school students, including many in special education, gained, on average, more than two years in reading comprehension in only eight weeks. The school had 90-minute blocks, and the assistant principal in charge of the implementation visited the lab every single day to make sure that the implementation was done with fidelity and that the facilitator and the students saw how important it was to her that they do well.


A child with cerebral palsy who was repeating kindergarten still could not read. A two-hour-per-day ELS assignment during summer school moved her from being unable to identify letters in the alphabet to being a confident reader and earning promotion to the first grade.


A sophomore second-language student, knowing not one word of English progressed 8.4 years in reading comprehension in less than one school year. He came in as early as 5:30 a.m. to put in extra time in the lab, beyond the period he was assigned each day.


A middle school identified every potential failure in grade 8 and assigned each of those students to the lab at least one period per day, and then as much more time as possible every time there was an opportunity. Every child except one with disabilities and new to the school passed the state assessment that spring and earned promotion to high school.

We want to make sure that everyone sees that what we are learning about increased engaged time, how our ELS sequences are designed, and the increasing intensity from Tier I to Tier II to Tier III of RTI implementation are all about the same thing! Students who struggle need more time AND appropriate interventions if they are to accelerate their learning. The standard 45 minutes per day that we recommend may be enough for some students, but it may not be enough for many, especially if they are learning-disabled and/or if they are multiple years behind. Second-language learners need far more than 45 minutes per day to learn English fluently, so ELS is a perfect supplement for them. CEI strongly recommends that elementary schools use ELS for all kindergarten students in Tier I. The Letter Recognition module can be used both to screen for students who need more intense intervention, as well as for Tier I supplemental instruction. ELS lessons can be the word study component of a balanced literacy program since they include phonemic awareness, phonics/ spelling, vocabulary development, and fluency in decoding. This strategy, using continuous progress monitoring and the school’s other assessment data from such tests as TPRI and DIBELS, will provide the school with the information they need to decide who needs Tier II and/or Tier III interventions even at this level. Since ELS is totally individualized, the Tier II intervention can continue to be ELS, but with the additional 30 or 45 minutes of time required under RTI. The additional time is important, not only to develop the necessary skills and knowledge and move them into long-term memory, but also to HOURGLASS Š Satyas |


A sophomore second-language student, knowing not one word of English progressed 8.4 years in reading comprehension in less than one school year. He came in as early as 5:30 a.m. to put in extra time in the lab, beyond the period he was assigned each day. accelerate learning so that the student can return to Tier I as quickly as possible. Again, for Tier III, ELS can continue to be the intervention because it is therapeutic, because it is individualized, and because students will benefit from yet another 30-45 minutes of time each day on the program. Using ELS for all three tiers will save the school thousands and thousands of dollars and hundred of hours of time since teachers will need to learn only one program and how to interpret the reports from that one program. Consistency is also of great importance for struggling learners. A frequent shift from one program to another from the Tier I classroom program to a series of other interventions is confusing, wastes student time, and may slow down, if not prevent, learning. A shift would be unnecessary as long as the student is responding positively. The additional time would simply accelerate learning and provide adequate practice and repetition so that true mastery occurs. The ELS sequences are invaluable to an RTI team because student strengths and weaknesses have to be assessed in order for the lab facilitator to know which of the sequences is appropriate for each individual child. The instruction has to be challenging enough to move the student forward and keep him or her interested, but not so challenging that the child is frustrated and becomes de-motivated. When the sequences were developed many years ago, they were designed according to feedback from our lab teachers and from the observations of CEI’s teacher staff. They saw that some students could complete lessons in just one 45-minute session (see Gold A, B, and D sequences). These are the so-called average lab students, and those sequences would likely be the ones most appropriate for most of the students in classes above the kindergarten level.

Students who are learning disabled may require 100 or more repetitions to learn the same word. Other sequences were developed for students who would be overwhelmed by the pace of the Gold sequences. For example, it takes two to three 45-minute sessions for students in Red. If a student requires a Red sequence, then that is an indicator that he or she is probably in need of a Tier II intervention. Through RTI, the student has about 90 minutes a day for ELS instead of 45 minutes, so he or she can learn the same material that the Gold sequence children are learning — just in a longer period of time. Some students need even more time. The Gray and White sequences were designed for those students, and those lessons require as many as six to nine 45-minute sessions. Students needing these sequences should be in Tier III since they need the extra time of another 45 minutes or so to do the work that the Gold students cover in one session and the Red students cover in 2-3 sessions. Why would these students require so much more time? The

research says that the average person can learn a new vocabulary word in 8-15 repetitions. Students who are learning disabled may require 100 or more repetitions to learn the same word. This example is just one of many that could be given to explain why some of the ELS sequences have so much more practice time in them than others. The consequence of not adding additional time for the morechallenged students is similar to waiting until later grades to start an intervention. The material that is taught at each level of ELS is the same for all students, regardless of sequence. Level I is Level I. But if some students can do a lesson in one day’s session, and another student needs more, then the achievement gap will grow over time, not narrow. The only way to narrow the gap is to add the necessary time for the slower student to stay on course. RTI requires the school to evaluate whether a student is learning at the same level and same pace as peers in deciding when he or she should exit an intervention. A child who truly struggles to learn can stay on pace IF he or she is given the extra time needed each day to master the material and to move it into long-term memory for fast and accurate recall.

The average annual cost to educate a public school student in 2006 was $9,963. CEI encourages each of our schools and all potential schools to examine their practice in light of these research findings and in examination of the spirit of the RTI law — to intervene as early as possible so that children get what they need at the earliest possible moment. Virtually every school needs to serve many more students than the ones they currently serve if they are to avoid the disaster of waiting too long to address the problem. And even the children in the current labs may require more than one session per day to catch up. CEI is working on yet another ELS enhancement to make our daily and periodic progress reports more compliant with RTI requirements. Sometime next year lab facilitators will be able to print and share with teacher teams and administrators new reports that feature more specific progress data. We continue to improve our service/support program since its major reason for existing is to provide schools with the help they need to implement our programs for the best possible results. That is what “implementation with fidelity” means. (See article in Winter 2007-08 SHARE, “Blueprint for Achievement: Implementation Integrity’s Role in Intervention Success.”) Because we care deeply about every child’s success and because we recognize that schools never have the money they need to do what they recognize needs to be done, CEI created the subscription pricing option to make new labs and stations more affordable. We also discount the cost of additional rooms and stations to existing clients. According to Education Week ("Quality Counts," 2009), the average annual cost to educate a public school student in 2006 was $9,963. Therefore, the cost of an additional lab is offset by preventing just one grade-level retention. Preventing several retentions will pay the other costs of running your lab and for additional stations and labs. Call your Solutions Analyst for pricing, or call us at 800.234.7319, ext. 131, and we will immediately fax to you a price proposal. We are also available for consultation to help you think through your RTI implementation.

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

ystems (ELS) in an RTI Implementation

in the


Name: Maria Luisa Guerra Title: Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Support Services , Edinburg ( T X ) Consolidated Independent School District Place of Birth: San Juan, Texas CURRENT HOMETOWN: Edinburg, Texas Family: Spouse: district attorney Rene Children: Daughter Erin, a civil engineer in Austin, and son Luis, a University of Texas -Pan American senior majoring in public relations Education: Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School Bachelor'S degree: University of TexasPan American Master of education: University of texas What is your favorite food? Mexican Stuffed peppers and American grilled fish What is your favorite TYPE OF SONG? E lv is P resley, als o M ariachi m u sic What is your favorite MOVIE? Go n e W i t h t he W i n d What do you like to do for fun? Since my parents are both still alive, i treasure each and every moment i have with them. i do not let a week go by without seeing them and spending quality time together. Both parents are in their 80s, and this month, they celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary. How did you become involved in the field of education as a profession? The biggest influence in my life was that of my parents. They encouraged me to get a good education, stressing that education would be my greatest asset in life. TELL US SOMETHING people might be surprised to learn about you. Shortly after high school graduation, a group of friends and I left for Houston, texas, in search of a summer job to earn money for college. while working as a cashier in a restaurant hotel , I met Muhammad Ali.



dinburg Consolidated Independent School District — located in Edinburg, Texas — has been a dedicated partner of CEI’s for the past 15 years. All of the district’s 35 campuses operate ELS labs, and together they serve over a thousand students each year. In the past several years, those students have experienced remarkable success. Last year’s results showed an average reading comprehension growth of 1.9 years. Such progress would not be possible without the caring, determination, and support of the district’s administrators, and it would be difficult to find a more dedicated educator than Maria Luisa Guerra. Mrs. Guerra has served as a school administrator for the past 25 years, spending eight years as a middle school principal in McAllen (TX) ISD, seven years as an elementary school principal in Edinburg, and 10 years as a high school principal in Edinburg, In January 2008, she was promoted to her current position as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Support Services for Edinburg CISD. She is the current Vice Chair of the State ACT council. In her current position, Mrs. Guerra is responsible for overseeing the curriculum and instruction for the district’s current campuses, and for the four new elementary campuses and two new middle school campuses that are scheduled to open during the 2009-2010 school year. Many administrators might find managing that many campuses too much of a challenge, but she simply relies on a playbook based on three key concepts — collaboration, ownership, and continuing education. Experience has shown Mrs. Guerra that a championship team depends first on the collaboration of many individuals. When she was a principal at Edinburg High School, her school achieved several local, state, and national awards and recognition: The AVID Demonstration School with Distinction Award in 2007-2008, the College Board Inspiration Award in 2008, and the College Readiness Award, also in 2008. She believes that those awards resulted from to the collective efforts of many individuals: teachers, parents, students, and the administrative team. The success of the district's ELS labs starts with that same collaboration. Quoting Hillary Clinton’s motto, “It takes a village to raise a child,” Mrs. Guerra strongly feels that all parties involved must have a clear vision of what needs to be accomplished in the lab. In other words, many people — the administrator at the district level, each building principal, the instructor, and the CEI Solutions Analyst — must be committed to the implementation of the ELS program. The second concept is that everyone involved takes ownership. One of Mrs. Guerra's core beliefs is that student success is non-negotiable! Every member of the school community must do his or her part to assure that each child succeeds and to implement the program with fidelity. Recently,

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

Revealing Her Game Plan: Edinburg CISD’s Maria Luisa Guerra

Dr. Bonnie Lesley, president of CEI, visited Edinburg CISD and discussed the importance of early intervention at a staff development presentation. Dr. Lesley’s main point, which has stayed with Mrs. Guerra since then, is that children cannot wait; we must find solid ways to help them succeed, and we cannot procrastinate until the achievement gap is too large to overcome. Maria Luisa Guerra sees that the ELS programs are assisting in bridging that gap. Mrs. Guerra asserts that the third concept that contributes to ELS’ success in the district is actually a combination of two things: proper training and staff development. There needs to be ongoing training, not only for proper implementation, but also for teaching instructors the theory of learning. The district’s administrators and CEI instructors meet on a regular basis to go over the proper implementation of the ELS program and to receive training over the newest theories on learning. Mrs. Guerra attests that when these three concepts come together, the group of players evolves into a force to be reckoned with. “I have witnessed this program meet the needs of students with deficiencies. Struggling learners … those with dyslexia … those with special needs are all benefiting from this program.” As the head of Edinburg’s instructional team, Mrs. Guerra is quick to credit all of the players. “I am very appreciative of the attention and support the campus leaders have given to the CEI program. The instructors of all the campuses are genuinely committed to serving students," she states. "This school year's motto — 'Going the Extra Degree: It Begins With Me.' — has raised the level of expectation for everyone," she continues. "Presently, more than three-quarters of the CEI labs [in the district] are eligible for the Exemplary Lab award CEI gives each year. Our goal was to double our number of schools having labs recognized as Exemplary. We are on track for 20 Exemplary plaques coming our way at the end of this school year. I am looking forward to recognizing the campuses and the CEI lab successes at a school board meeting and with our community." Mrs. Guerra also pays tribute to the CEI Solutions Analyst who has assisted in coaching that team toward success. “Bonnie Blake has been a tremendous asset to our district and a major contributor to the successes of our schools," says Mrs. Guerra. Her partnership and support have made a difference in the reading grade level gains of our students. We would not be at the Exemplary level of success without her expert guidance. The action plan Mrs. Blake and I developed after analyzing last year's student performance has been successfully at almost every one of our 35 campuses.” Mrs. Guerra, all of us at CEI would like to thank you and the administrators and educators in Edinburg CISD. Your hard work and strategy are consistently ensuring that the students of Edinburg emerge victorious. Well played!

e t i r W THE



pring is a very exciting time of year at CEI, and one big reason is that we get to read all of the entries from the Creative Writing Contest. To participate in the contest, students submit stories using words from any of their lessons. Parents and teachers may help students with spelling and grammar, but students must come up with the ideas and complete the work themselves. For several months, CEI Solutions Analysts have been encouraging lab students from kindergarten though twelfth grade to send in their entries. We even asked facilitators to set a good example by submitting their own stories. All of us were so excited when we began receiving the hundreds of entries. We were even more impressed that the students in our Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) labs raised the bar they set last year by submitting even more story problems and puzzlers than ever before! Once we received all of the entries, CEI staff read and reviewed each story. Each story then received a score based on the author’s originality, creativity and use of lesson words. We couldn’t help but be amazed by how imaginative the students were and how well they knew the material they were learning! Their hard work has made us very proud ‌ so proud, in fact, that we are giving out almost 100 awards and certificates of recognition:


2008-2009 CREATIVE WRITING CONTEST WINNERS second ANNUAL JUDGE’S CHOICE AWARD WINNER: Michelle Duarte BANDERA MIDDLE SCHOOL BANDERA ISD KINDERGARTEN First Place Jesus Ramirez Bryson Elementary School First Place Darius Ambaree Elisabet Ney Elementary Second Place Taylor Bartoo Bryson Elementary School Third Place Brianna Leatherwood Bryson Elementary School Honorable Mention Kacely Goforth Bryson Elementary School

Bryson ISD Brazosport ISD Bryson ISD Bryson ISD Bryson ISD

FIRST GRADE First Place Ashley Fox Bivins Elementary School Amarillo ISD Second Place Isaiah Conway Bivins Elementary School Bryson ISD Third Place Weldon Bartoo Bryson Elementary School Amarillo ISD Honorable Mention Said Rivas Bivins Elementary School Amarillo ISD SECOND GRADE First Place Cynthia Garcia Griffith Elementary School Brazosport ISD First Place Nicole Weidner Bivins Elementary School Amarillo ISD First Place Jarron Johnson Bivins Elementary School Amarillo ISD Second Place Second Place

Marco Ramirez Gino Garcia

Montgomery Elementary School Bivins Elementary

Montgomery ISD Amarillo ISD

Third Place Third Place

Daniel Sustaita Deavyn Ra'per

Griffith Elementary School Montgomery Elementary School

Brazosport ISD Montgomery ISD

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention

Erica Pineda Rolando Carrillo

Annie Purl Elementary School Griffith Elementary School

Georgetown ISD Brazosport ISD

THIRD GRADE First Place Emanuel Garcia Mitchell Elementary School Georgetown ISD First Place Daniel Flores Bivins Elementary School Amarillo ISD First Place Gabriella Gonzalez Griffith Elementary School Brazosport ISD Second Place Second Place

Jennifer Herrera McKayla Marshall

Mitchell Elementary School Colmesneil Elementary School

Georgetown ISD Colmesneil ISD

Third Place Third Place

Johathan Cardona Darrin DuBose

Mitchell Elementary School Colmesneil Elementary School

Georgetown ISD Colmesneil ISD

Honorable Mention Guillermo Carrillo Honorable Mention Nature Jackson

Mitchell Elementary School Colmesneil Elementary School

Georgetown ISD Colmesneil ISD

2 0 0 8 - 2 0 0 9 CREATIVE WRI FOURTH GRADE First Place First Place First Place

Henry Juarez Round Top Elem. School Tana Brooks Round Top Elem. School Arynn Jarvis-Hendon Hanna Springs Intermediate

Second Place Second Place Second Place

Alan Velazquez Le’Roydric Mathis Jacie Lewis

Third Place Carla Solis Third Place Noah Henry Honorable Mention Alex Flores Honorable Mention Tobey Tobias

Round Top Carmine ISD Round Top Carmine ISD Lampasas ISD

Mitchell Elementary School Georgetown ISD Round Top Elem. School Round Top Carmine ISD Bryson Elementary School Bryson ISD Mitchell Elementary School Mitchell Elementary School Mitchell Elementary School Round Top Elem. School

FIFTH GRADE First Place Javier Carrillo Raye McCoy Elementary First Place Mitch Roach Visitation School First Place Nadalee Ivy Hanna Springs Intermediate Second Place Erica Dominguez Raye McCoy Elementary Second Place Nicole Blanck Visitation School Second Place Lukas Roush Bivins Elementary

Georgetown ISD Georgetown ISD Georgetown ISD Round Top Carmine ISD

Georgetown ISD Kansas City, MO Lampasas ISD Georgetown ISD Amarillo ISD

Third Place Abraham Ramirez Third Place Nicholas Wallace Third Place Andrew Beisel

Raye McCoy Elementary Georgetown ISD Mitchell Elementary School Georgetown ISD Hanna Springs Intermediate Lampasas ISD

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention

Lorenzo Garcia Amber Meeks

Raye McCoy Elementary Hanna Springs Intermediate

SIXTH GRADE First Place First Place First Place First Place

Guadalupe Lopez Hanna Springs Intermediate Samantha D'Spain Bandera Middle School Cheyenne Smith Bandera Middle School Mackenzie Roach Visitation School

Lampasas ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Second Place Eveanna Ramirez Hanna Springs Intermediate Second Place Brandon Greeninger Hanna Springs Intermediate Second Place Nathan Stapinski Visitation School

Lampasas ISD Lampasas ISD

Third Place Third Place Third Place

Lorena Gonzalez Dakota Collins Samantha D'Spain

Bandera Middle School Hanna Springs Intermediate Bandera Middle School

Bandera ISD Lampasas ISD Bandera ISD

Honorable Mention

Derrick Eicher

Hanna Springs Intermediate

Lampasas ISD

SEVENTH GRADE First Place First Place First Place First Place

Rafael Salinas Amber Delgado Abigail Jones D'Ann Arnet

Lampasas Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School

Lampasas ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Second Place Second Place Second Place Second Place

Adrian Lopez Janessa Meurer Jonathan Eckstein Dustin Rumple

Lampasas Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School Lampasas Middle School

Lampasas ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Lampasas ISD

Georgetown ISD Lampasas ISD


ITING CONTEST WINNERS SEVENTH GRADE. continued Third Place Maria Salinas Third Place Sheila Dickey Third Place Janessa Meurer Third Place Johnathon Matteson

Lampasas Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School Lampasas Middle School

Lampasas ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Lampasas ISD

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Honorable Mention

Amber Delgado Bandera Middle School Shea Callahan Visitation School Heather Elliott Bandera Middle School

Bandera ISD

EIGHTH GRADE First Place First Place First Place First Place

Ivy Ramirez Ace Elkins Miranda Dwiggins Christian Flores

Lampasas Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School

Lampasas ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Second Place Second Place Second Place Second Place (tie) Second Place (tie)

Alejandro Cadengo Renita Moore Christian Eckstein Tori Hickman Kim Dickey

Lampasas Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School

Lampasas ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Third Place Third Place Third Place

Yackeline Sixtos Shane Montooth Matthew Rogers

Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School

Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Honorable Mention

Tori Hickman Samantha Crandall Travis Rude

Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School Lampasas Middle School

Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Lampasas ISD

tenth GRADE First Place Shandrika Patterson First Place Victoria Ricklefs

Tascosa High School Tascosa High School

Amarillo ISD Amarillo ISD

eleventh GRADE First Place Second Place Third Place Honorable Mention

Ashley Fisher Juleus Mitchell Celestina Telles Jody Geopfert

Tascosa High School Tascosa High School Tascosa High School Tascosa High School

Amarillo ISD Amarillo ISD Amarillo ISD Amarillo ISD

FACILITATOR First Place Second Place

Julie Lockhart Terry Brown

Bryson Elementary School Bivins Elementary School

Bryson ISD Amarillo ISD

Bandera ISD

CEI congratulates all of the students and facilitators who entered the contest. We appreciate all of your hard work, and we thoroughly enjoy seeing the results of it.

CEI Releases New Science Vocabulary Program


reative Education Institute (CEI) is delighted to announce the release during summer 2009 of its new Science Learning Systems (SLS), a standards-based vocabulary development program for grades 3-5. Just as we did in the development of Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS), we listened to our clients’ suggestions that schools badly need the kind of science intervention that CEI has become famous for. So, we used the powerful learning engine that is responsible for the success of Essential Learning Systems (ELS), our flagship program that has been teaching children and adults to read and learn for more than 20 years. SLS Benefits Administrators and teachers are very excited to learn about SLS, especially since there is nothing like it on the market. They see the benefits of a program that … accelerates the learning of science vocabulary for all students, including English language learners (ELLs) and students with disabilities improves students’ science grades prepares students well for the state assessments helps narrow the achievement gaps improves accreditation ratings

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

saves teachers time


Classroom Applications SLS, because it is standards-based and appropriate for Tier I and as intervention for those who struggle, has multiple possible uses in a science classroom: Teachers can use SLS lessons to pre-teach vocabulary before teaching a science unit. This strategy might be especially important for ELL students and others with weak vocabulary backgrounds. SLS lessons can be used to reinforce the classroom instruction and to provide adequate and varied practice with the science words and terms so that they are truly mastered.

is affordable and cost-effective, and

SLS lessons can be used for students to review prior learning before teacher assessments.

is solidly grounded in scientific research on how students are motivated to learn and how students learn.

SLS lessons can be used for review before state science assessments.

Call Now for Discount Pricing! For more inform ation and at pricing, please contact CEI by or 131, . ext (800) 234-7319, m. e-m ail at t tha so We are pre-selling now SLS ir the e eiv rec schools can 2009 software in tim e for fall t tha s ool Sch implem entation. , 2009 30, e Jun ore bef purchase will realize huge savings!

m Watch our website at ion. mat infor r othe for announcements and

SLS lessons, which cover content in grades 3-5, can be used as enrichment for advanced or gifted/talented students who are ready to move ahead. Supporting Documents You'll find a complete comparison SLS to ELS o ­ n the following page. Soon, we will post on our website a copy of our research report: Why SLS Works: Its Scientific Research Base. We can also provide, upon request, correlations to state elementary science standards, assessment objectives, and/or textbook correlations.


Six levels of sound patterns

Seven levels of scientific themes: ✓✓ How We Learn, an orientation for students to the program ✓✓ Earth Science ✓✓ Life Science ✓✓ Science Processes ✓✓ Physical Science ✓✓ Morphology ✓✓ Technology

Lesson words are selected for their sound patterns.

Lesson words and terms are selected by meaning or theme, similar to the way they would be introduced in a textbook chapter.

ELS incorporates more than 25 different sequences enable facilitators to fine-tune lessons to address a variety of learning needs

SLS includes two major sequences, one for grade-level and above students and another for those who struggle.

ELS lessons teach students how to pronounce, decode, spell, define, and use a word or term in a sentence.

SLS lessons teach students how to pronounce, decode, spell, define, and use a word or term in a sentence.

ELS includes approximately 2,000 vocabulary words and terms in almost 250 lessons.

SLS includes approximately 2,000 vocabulary words and terms in almost 250 lessons.

Teachers are able to track the lessons that each student completes and his or her level of mastery.

Teachers will be able to track the lessons that each student completes and his or her level of mastery.

ELS is skills-based and is appropriate for those who are behind, regardless of grade level since they teach foundational knowledge and skills.

SLS is CEI’s first program developed to align with grade-level standards.

ELS was developed to operate with a trained facilitator in a lab setting.

SLS is designed to operate in a lab setting, or at individual computers in the back of the classroom or in other learning centers.

CEI licenses ELS by room and stations since they are lab products.

SLS has a site license. The school can load it on any computer in the school without restrictions to any certain room.

ELS requires three days of training and ongoing consultation with the lab facilitator,

SLS’ design will require no formal training; teachers need only to study the manual and electronic guidelines that come with the purchase. Free technical support is provided during the first year of implementation.

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

ELS and SLS Comparisons and Contrasts

FORTRESS YOUTH DEVELOPMENT CENTER Igniting Powerful Changes in the Lives of Urban Youth by Kathryn m manis, solutions analyst c

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009



ortress Youth Development Center is a brightly shining beacon of hope in southeast Fort Worth, Texas. The Center exists today because of an aching need within the community and a God-inspired passion to meet that need. Fortress YDC aims to provide a holistic approach to the well-being and growth of youth by providing an opportunity for the students to improve their literacy, get homework assistance, and participate in spiritual growth and development during after-school hours. The goals of FYDC are to emphasize the importance of literacy, to teach social skills, to expose the children to life possibilities outside their neighborhood, and to model the love and salvation of Jesus Christ. Michael Thames, Fortress Executive Director, has worked with inner-city youth for over 10 years. His first experience came at a summer camp, where he became aware of the daily struggles faced by children and young people who grow up in the urban, low-income communities of America. In his two summers working at the camp, Michael developed a passion for engaging in the lives of these young people and realized Executive director Michael Thames his calling to work full-time with children like them. In 1999, he started at Fortress Church, where he focused on the spiritual development of at-risk, inner-city youth. He made great strides in contributing to their spiritual formation; however, he noticed that when the time came for them to function in society as adults, many were not equipped with the tools they needed to overcome their circumstances. Dr. Kristen Guillory serves as the Director of Programs at Fortress. In addition to having a PhD in Social Work, Kristen is a researcher, an adjunct professor, and a public/motivational speaker. Her most popular trainings are “Drop It Like It’s Hot” ­— an overview of current Hip Hop; “BTW, OMG, LOL — Can You Understand Youth?”; and ”Houston, We Have a Problem.” Kristen Dr. Kristen Guillory, Director of Programs has always had a passion for working with and empowering others. She created a 26-week program called “Rites of Passage,” which focuses on teaching urban youth important life skills. In addition, one of her interests is stepping, and she has founded four Christian stepping teams. After presenting a stepping workshop for

the students at Fortress, Kristen realized that she and the church shared the same goal: “to provide opportunities for inner-city children and youth to experience powerful life changes in order to become productive Christian adults.” As a result, she has continued her ministry there since. In 2003, steps were taken to create a non-profit center that would focus on equipping inner-city youth with the tools they were lacking in all areas of life. After much prayer and hard work, Fortress Youth Development Center, Inc., began operation in January 2005. The same year, thanks to the generous support of individuals and a grant from a local foundation, Fortress was able to acquire 12 new computers and purchase the Essential Learning Systems (ELS) program. Students use ELS in the Literacy Lab as part of a daily after-school program geared toward helping children achieve their full academic potential. Michael reports that the program has greatly contributed to students’ being able to do that. “The ELS program has been a powerful and effective tool for all of our students who fell behind or struggle in reading," he says. "We have seen how improving literacy skills has positively impacted their overall performance in school and their attitudes toward learning and life.” During the 2006-2007 school year, students gained an average of 1.4 years in Instructional Reading and 2.5 years in Comprehension! Like Michael, Kristen is very impressed with the progress the students are making on ELS. “We are very fortunate and grateful to have implemented ELS into our programs," Kristen attests. "Literacy and reading comprehension are essential in order to become a productive adult. ELS is a fantastic protective factor against incarceration and school dropout, as 60-70% of those incarcerated are illiterate, and over 50% of those who drop out of school are illiterate. ELS is a great resource and tool!” Kristen commented that students have made such remarkable progress on ELS that FYDC has chosen to purchase Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) as well. They will implement the program in fall 2009, and says Kristen, “We are excited!“


Helen Helen Helen, a second grader at Fort Worth ISD’s A.M. Pate Elementary, was recently featured in the spring issue of the Fortress Quarterly as a result of the progress she has made on ELS. After struggling in Reading and English at the beginning of last year, Helen’s mother enrolled her in FYDC’s after-school program. After only a few months using ELS, Helen made a complete turnaround. She was very proud of the As she made on her literature assignments, and she was recognized as “Most Improved in Reading” last year at her school. Helen’s mother attributed a significant portion of her improvement in school to the tutoring she received at Fortress. Destiny and James Now juniors in high school, twins Destiny and James have been involved with Fortress YDC for three years. Both started at the Center reading below level, but by the end of their sophomore year, their grades

Destiny and James

had steadily improved, and they were reading at and above grade level. The twins’ mother has stated many times that she is very happy that her children are involved with Fortress YDC. She has seen positive changes in both Destiny and James over the past eight months. One component of the Center’s high school after-school program is college preparation. A year ago, James was not excited about the idea of college and was not really interested in going. Recently, James approached one of the Fortress staff to request help working on college applications. Destiny plans to attend college, also, and she is interested in modeling. Both are now very excited about the possibility of attending a top Texas university. The twins’ possibilities are endless, due in part to their attending Fortress. In fact, almost all of the FYDC staff encourages Destiny and James to be future leaders. Both are taking the first step by participating in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). They have not only demonstrated

Britney extraordinary leadership skills, but also become role models for their fellow Fortress students. britney Britney has been attending Fortress YDC for over two years. She began the program after experiencing some difficulty with her reading and comprehension. After consistently using the CEI software and being involved with Fortress YDC, she is now reading at grade level, and her grades have improved. Britney said, “In ELS, my favorite activities were See, Hear and Spell and Echo because I learned a lot of new words. I really liked to do the Word Searches on the computer in the [Webbased] Activity Center.” Britney lives with her grandparents, and her grandfather recently stated that he was so happy about the improvement in her grades. She has a very bright future ahead of her.

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The dedicated staff at FYDC serves as a “mighty fortress” to protect and transform the lives of at-risk youth. While that fortress is fully capable of safeguarding the students, the staff also understands that the best defense is sometimes a good offense. CEI is proud that Fortress YDC has chosen ELS as part of that offense. We are happy to join forces with FYDC in helping students increase reading scores and in equipping students to reach their full academic potential.

Dog Days in the CEI Lab

Contributing writer: June Ince, CEI Reading and Math Facilitator, Tascosa High School

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

In 1969, child psychologist Boris Levinson published a paper titled “The dog as a co-therapist.” The paper detailed research that Levinson had done by allowing his own dog, Jingles, to attend the therapy sessions of his young patients. The psychologist found that when the children interacted with the dog, they became less withdrawn and started to communicate more. Now, 40 years later, using therapy dogs like Jingles is becoming more and more popular, especially in the school setting. The dogs not only provide affection and comfort to students with reading difficulties, but also allow students who might be self-conscious due to prior criticism a relaxed atmosphere in which they can read aloud without feeling judged. Because children begin to associate reading with something pleasant, the therapy dog program in the classroom has proven to be successful in improving children’s reading skills, communication skills and self-esteem. Such has been the case at Tascosa High School in Amarillo, Texas. Tascosa began using the dog therapy program in September 2006. Two dogs visit the CEI lab there once every six weeks; accompanied by their owner/handler, Baby, a terrier, visits the morning classes, and Rowdy, a schnauzer, visits in the afternoon. The mood in the classroom is always happy and relaxed during


tory. og in the s d a t ou s t Baby poin

Rowdy reads with a lab stu dent.

the visits. More importantly, facilitators June Ince and Carolyn Immel are seeing wonderful results as the dogs interact with the students by listening to them read and allowing the students to pet and talk to them. The dog therapy program has even been featured in Tascosa’s school newspaper, Tascosa Talk. Because everyone looks forward to Dog Day, June and Carolyn have planned some special events to make it even more remarkable. In February 2008, students shared Dog Day with another special group of people when they visited a veterans’ nursing home in Amarillo. Baby and Rowdy accompanied the facilitators and students, who watched as the two dogs interacted with the veterans. Another activity everyone enjoyed was a fun learning experience called Dog Poetry, for which students each wrote a poem from their own dog’s point of view. June and Carolyn proudly displayed all of them poems and pictures in an album so that everyone who visits the lab can see and enjoy them. Both June and Carolyn believe dog therapy has been wonderful for the students in their CEI lab. June, who facilitates both the Essential Learning Systems and Mathematical Learning Systems labs at Tascosa, explains, “We have received many positive comments from students, parents and teachers. This program is very beneficial; we highly recommend it to other CEI Labs.


School Daze

My family calls me Baby ... I don’t have a pedigree. But not many dogs go to school, On this we can all agree. For Mary’s lamb to go to school, It was against the rules. But our teachers and students All think it’s really cool. Rowdy the Rebel and I Have special jobs, you see ... We get to listen to our friends As their favorite books they read. The pay is always great, With a scratch on the tummy. And we can’t forget the bonus ... The snacks are really yummy! I have made some special friends And I really love this “job.” But to our friends at school, We’re more than just a dog.

I’m Rowdy the Rebel And I go to school The kids in the Lab All think I’m cool. I’ll listen to you read But what I like most Is turning the page With my little black nose. I’ll give you a high five For a good treat, And I think that is really neat. I love my master. She’s OK, She takes me to school And allows me to play. Be nice to me and I’ll be your friend. I might even give you a hug Now and then. A Schnauzer at school Is a rare event. But to the office I’ve never been sent.


BY Robyn Irving Solutions Analyst

Apparently, an All-Star line-up is going strong in DeWitt, Arkansas, this year. “I have such good classes this year, it’s really hard to choose just one student to brag on,” said Debbie English, facilitator for DeWitt Middle School’s Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) lab. “Can I give you more than one?” That was the dilemma Ms. English faced when asked if she had a student she would like to have featured in SHARE this time around. How about giving us three then, Ms. English? Greg Robinson is a sixth grader who enjoys hunting and fishing when he is not at school. However, he did not enjoy math at all. “I hated it,” Greg said frankly. “I always thought of math as confusing.” Thankfully, he has begun to have a change of heart, now that he has been working in Ms. English’s MLS lab. “This is my first year in the lab,” Greg said. “Math is still kind of hard, but I understand it a lot more now, and my regular math class grades are better. “I really love Digit’s Widgets,” he added. “It is fun to beat other people’s scores. I can do the problems a lot faster now than I used to.” “Greg’s math skills have gotten so much stronger since he started attending the lab,” agreed Ms. English. “He was unsure about certain things at first, but the way MLS has the students work the problems on the computers has helped him tremendously. Working with the blocks [manipulatives] will let a child see how math problems really work. The math lab has made a definite improvement for Greg,” she said. Another sixth grader, Wyatt Richter, was not really been “into” math at all until this year. “English is my favorite subject at school, and I like to play video games when I’m not at school,” he said. However, about math he said, “I didn’t really like it much before I started in the MLS lab this year. I always thought it was boring and pretty hard.” To be clear, Wyatt says math is still a challenge, but it is much more manageable for him now. “My regular math class is still kind of hard, but my grades are better than they used to be,” he explained. And, like Greg, Wyatt gives some of the credit to Digit’s Widgets. “Digit’s Widgets helped me with my subtraction,” he said. “I can do it much faster now.” “Wyatt has grown in confidence so much since he started my MLS lab,” Ms. English said. “At the first of the year, he was very shy about the work he did. He would sit quietly and would never ask for help. Now, after working with Wyatt in the lab, he has become very excited about coming to the lab and is eager to try his best while working on the computers. He now realizes that when he does not understand something, it is okay to ask for help. His math skills have really been strengthened.” Henry Stephens has a little more experience with MLS, since this is his second year in Ms. English’s lab. “I used to think that the math lab was pretty hard, but now it’s one of my two favorite subjects,” Henry attested. “I like math lab and Health the best,” he said. “My regular math class is still not easy, but I do make better grades than I used to,” he added. “Before starting in MLS, I felt like math was too hard for me. But I don’t think of math as all that hard now. I know I can do it if I really try.” Like Wyatt, Henry enjoys playing video games, and that may be why Digit’s Widgets has been especially helpful for him. “It’s fun and I’ve learned a lot from it,” Henry said. “Digit’s Widgets helped me with learning my times tables. I can remember them a lot faster now!” “This is Henry’s second year to come to my math lab, and his confidence in math is so much greater than when he first started,” Ms. English said. “Instead of coming to my class not really wanting to work, he comes in and is one of the first ones to get started.”

Ms. English adds, “Specifically, Henry’s skills in multiplication have come such a long way and I give so much credit to Digit’s Widgets for this. We have a contest to see who can get the highest score every nine weeks. The students all find it fun to see who can be the top players. Henry really loves it when I play along with him.” With Ms. English as their math coach, Greg, Wyatt, and Henry are part of what is sure to be a winning team at DeWitt Middle School!

henry stephens

Greg Robinson

Wyatt richter

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All-star lineup in Arkansas

Rookie Facilitator closes out First Championship Season With the education laws changing, 504 Coordinator Suzanne Krause knew she needed a program that would apply to students from several special classifications — Section 504, English as a Second Language, and others. She researched many programs before finding that Creative Education Institute’s Essential Learning Systems (ELS) would be the best fit for her students at Round Top-Carmine Elementary School. In the rolling hills of bluebonnet country, RT-C Elementary is part of a small 1A school district that sits off of Texas Highway 290 West between Brenham and Giddings. The RT-C Elementary lab got up and running in October 2007, serving kindergarten through sixth grade students who needed a little extra help with reading, or who fell into one of the special classifications. For the entire 2007-08 school year, facilitators pulled children from their regular classes and placed them in the lab three to four times a week for 30-minute periods. Both teachers and facilitators noticed a difference right away. Some students who started the year in the CEI lab were even able to exit because of the improvements they had shown in their reading. After seeing the spectacular gains students had made by the end of the school year, Round Top-Carmine ISD administrators decided to give the CEI lab its own block in the 2008-09 schedule. Each grade level has its designated lab time, and the CEI students attend while their classmates Drop Everything and Read (DEAR). This year, however, students attend the lab for 30- to 45-minute periods all five days of the week. Ms. McCain says her students’ favorite part of the program, “hands down,” is Quick Pick. Quick Pick is a fun exercise that builds listening skills, specifically discrimination and processing speed. During the activity, students hear a word and then select that word from three choices. The program times the activity and students try to beat their best time. The quick pace involved in selecting the words enhances the student’s hand-eye coordination. That coordination represents just the tip of the iceberg in terms of student improvement. According to lab facilitator Jen McCain, parents and teachers alike have told her about the changes they are seeing. “This is my first year at RT-C Elementary," says Ms. McCain. "I have had multiple parents come to me and tell me how much of a difference they see in their child, especially when it comes time for homework. Also, all of the teachers have commented on how well they see a difference in the student’s school work.” Ms. McCain has noticed these improvements first-hand. “Over this past semester, I have been able to see the students’ progress improve. For any school, large or small, this program can help your students succeed in their reading and possibly in their writing. The CEI lab has been and is still working for us here at RT-C Elementary School.” CEI would like to congratulate Ms. McCain on her successful first year as a CEI lab facilitator. We also want to recognize Ms. Krause, the RT-C administrators, and the elementary students for the team effort they have put into ensuring their CEI lab is a success. Thank you all for bringing your A-game. We’re sure that your hard work will result in even more As in the future!

BETTs ELS Lab covers all the bases BY bonnie Blake, Solutions Analyst


ome truly remarkable success stories are coming out of a school in South Texas. Although this article features only two of those stories, there are many more to brag about, and they all come from Betts Elementary in Edinburg (TX) CISD. Eisen Uresti, a first grade Limited English Proficient (LEP) student at Betts Elementary, started in the lab as a kindergarten student. Being an August baby, he was much younger than most of his peers. When he first came to CEI, Eisen struggled with basic phonemic sounds. He could not identify the English alphabet, nor did he know any of the phonemes. Being a josie tanamachi (L) and Eisen Uresti LEP student brings its own amount of difficulty, but when a student starts school without even knowing a single letter, he has a much more difficult hill to climb. Remarkably, by the end of kindergarten, Eisen had not only mastered his letter names and sounds; his classroom teachers also said he actually knew more in English than in Spanish. At the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, Eisen continued working in the CEI lab. After the first six weeks, he took the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) and was so advanced that he no longer qualified for intervention. CEI Solutions Analyst Bonnie Blake visited Betts Elementary in December. While she was in the lab, Eisen excitedly grabbed the Fluency Passages from his lesson and read every sentence. He was very proud of his accomplishment, as was Ms. Josie Tanamachi, CEI instructor. Josie’s lab is filled with children every minute of the day. The majority of her students come from either kindergarten or first grade; the classroom teachers send those students who need to catch up to their Ms. tanamachi (L) and Jasmine Rodriguez

peers in a hurry. Every year, these very young students make amazing strides. Another case of remarkable success is that of Jasmine Rodriguez. Jasmine started attending the CEI lab as a first grader because she was struggling with all aspects of reading and comprehension. At the end of second grade, Jasmine was reading at a GE of 3.5! This year, she entered University Interscholastic League (UIL) in the storytelling division and took first place at her first contest. ELS has made her a vibrant, self-confident young girl. Much of the success coming from this lab is due to the encouragement and nurturing that Ms. Tanamachi gives to each of her students. She exhibits incredible love and concern for each and every child. Josie jokes that there is only one downside to the success of her CEI lab: “If so many students keep improving, I’ll work myself out of a job.” All of us at CEI feel certain that Josie will continue to have a place in the CEI lab. The parents of the Betts Elementary students seem to agree, as

evidenced by the recognition they give to the lab. One child’s family moved out of the area, but the parents are driving the student back and forth to school so that he can continue to participate in the Betts lab. Several other parents have shown up at school remarking on the incredible improvements their children have made since starting on ELS. CEI commends Josie, her students, and the supportive administrators at Betts Elementary for all they are doing in the lab. We are so proud of your accomplishments, and we are sure that there are many more successes and victories to come!

Knockin' 'em out of the park

sean clark

Bandera Middle School

Bandera Middle School

Taylor Clark — Taylor is an eighth-grader who has blossomed this year in reading and math! She regularly attended CEI as she has for the last two years. This year she participates in both ELS and MLS. Last year she was unsuccessful at passing the TAKS [Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills], but reaping the benefits of the lab, she passed this year's Reading TAKS with flying colors. She is displaying her newfound confidence in many ways, but she is still very anxious to see how she does on her Math TAKS. Na’miah Davis — Na’miah, an eighth-grader, has attended the CEI lab regularly for the last two years, participating in the ELS program. We have watched his self-esteem and confidence improve daily. He took his time on his Reading TAKS, being the last one to complete it, but he passed it for the first time!

Bandera Middle School

Remi DeLeon — Remi is a seventh grade student who participates in the MLS portion of the CEI Lab. His math teacher says, “He has come so far this year!!” His confidence in his ability to be successful in math has blossomed. He is always eager to learn, completes his work in a timely manner, and strives to make the best grade he can. He asks questions when he doesn’t understand and has taken responsibility for his own learning. ACE Elkins — Ace has worked very hard this year and attends the ELS program in the lab, giving a 100% on everything. His reading teacher recently received an e-mail from his mother. She was so proud of the fact that Ace passed his Reading TAKS for the first time! His hard work in the CEI lab and during his reading class has proved his hard earned success story! adrielle manning

Bandera Middle School anna sanchez

Ryan Garza — Ryan, an eighth-grader, participates in the eighth grade TAKS advisory. He also attends both the ELS and MLS portions of the CEI lab, rarely missing a day. Ryan has made much progress over the year, and we have been able to sit back and watch him grow. Most days he is a ray of light as he enters the room, a big change in comparison to the quiet student who sneaked in and out in the beginning of the year. CEI has helped to improve Ryan’s self-confidence and has given him a much more positive outlook on his abilities. Tori Hickman — Tori is an eighth grade student who participates in both the ELS and MLS portions of the CEI lab. Tori was very shy and reserved at the beginning of the year. She really struggled with her reading comprehension prior to participating in the lab. This year Tori displays a very positive attitude and is willing to do whatever she needs to do to be successful. She surprised herself this year by scoring Commended on her Reading TAKS, and she is positive she will do well on her Math TAKS, too.

brenda serr ano

Adrielle Manning — Adrielle is an eighth grade student who lacked the selfconfidence she needed to pass the Reading TAKS. With hard work — including attending the ELS lab — and her improved self-confidence, she was able to pass her TAKS on the first attempt. She has really blossomed this year and has become much more outgoing.

Theona Palmer — Theona is a seventh grade student who participates in both the ELS and MLS portions of the CEI Lab. At the beginning of the year, Theona was very quiet and withdrawn, As the year progressed, she has gained not only new skills, but also self-confidence. Her self-esteem has begun to blossom so much that she is now willing and ready to jump into something new. She also says that she feels much better about her abilities, especially in math.

Bandera Middle School

Bandera Middle School

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

theona palmer

Pahola Aguilar — “To be honest, Pahola has always been a bright and creative child,” says facilitator Monica Wilson, “but as I have watched her progress through the CEI program, she is finally reaching out and snatching up her gifts. Where before she would hesitate or even give up when confronted with difficult vocabulary, now she rises to any challenge. As Pahola’s ability to unravel language has blossomed, so too has her interest in reading.” Sean Clark — Sean is a sixth grade student who participates in the MLS portion of the CEI Lab. Sean is an eager beaver! He is always ready to go to CEI; in fact, he is the student who is constantly reminding the teacher about going. His confidence in math has improved significantly. He always strives to do his best and is always willing to help others out. He very much wants to be successful and please.

ace elkins

tori hickman

Bandera Middle School

Bandera Middle School

ryan gar za

cheyenne smith

taylor clark

remi dEleon

Bandera Middle School

Bandera Middle School

na'miah davis


Bandera Middle School

Bandera Middle School

Bandera Middle School Bandera Middle School

Pahola Aguilar


Anna Sanchez — Anna is a sixth grade student who participates in the MLS portion of the CEI Lab. Her confidence in her ability to do math has improved greatly. She is always eager to answer questions in class, and rarely uses a calculator to do computation. She has become a real leader, and she loves to help out other classmates!

maggie zamor a

Brenda Serrano — Brenda is an eighth grade English as a Second Language (ESL) student who is new to Bandera ISD this year. She really struggled with mastery of the language at the beginning of the year, but by attending CEI regularly and demonstrating incredible perseverance, she proved she could conquer the Reading TAKS. Since she is also active in the MLS portion of CEI, she is very excited to see how she does on her Math TAKS as well.

Cheyenne Smith — Cheyenne is a sixth grade student who really struggled last year with the TAKS test. Although she hasn’t taken the test this year, she attends CEI on a regular basis and has shown dramatic improvement in her benchmark scores. "We are very optimistic that she will pass her TAKS for the first time this year," says Monica Wilson. Monica also notes that Cheyenne is beginning to come out of her shell and shows much more self-confidence and much-improved self-esteem. Maggie Zamorra — Maggie is an eighth grade ESL student who participates in the ELS portion of the CEI lab. Maggie has been in CEI since sixth grade, and in that time, she has really begun to shine. She now has a much better understanding of the language, and she displays that understanding in her everyday interactions. She no longer stands off by herself and always has a smile. Her newfound self-confidence is evidenced by her interaction in class as well. Maggie passed her Reading TAKS this year with Commended performance.

2008-2009 Who's Who Among CEI students




T.W. OGG ELEMENTARY Samantha Garcia

Jonathan Guentzel

araseli acosta

sebastian daoust

jadon lemons

brock (TX) ISD

bushland (TX) ISD

Jonathan Guentzel is a first-grader at Bess Brannen Elementary in Brazosport ISD. He began the year in the Sponge Bob-themed ELS lab on Level 1, Lesson 1 and is currently on Level II, Lesson 6! His fluency rate at the beginning of the year was 17 words with eight errors in one minute. He is currently reading 43 words with only three errors in a minute! Way to go Jonathan! As Sponge Bob says, "Bring it around town!"

Araseli Acosta and Sebastian Daoust, kindergarten students at Brock Elementary, started in the lab in October. Both started in Letter Recognition (LR), working in LR for about six weeks and then moving on to ELS. Sebastian and Araseli have continued to work through the ELS lessons and are make outstanding progress. Lab facilitator Jane King and their teacher, Mrs. Diane Bradshaw, are extremely proud of these students and the advancements they have made.

Ten year-old Jadon lemons started working in Bushland Elementary's ELS lab last year. Teacher/Facilitator Linda Wesson and Facilitator Jan Bradley both feel he is the lab's most improved student. In fact, Linda said that he has made such an improvement in his reading ability that she can't wait to administer the Diagnostic Screening Test: Reading (DST:R) to him. Jadon's classroom teacher has noticed the changes as well, commenting that he is doing better in both spelling and math.



Samantha Garcia came to CEI with the energy to excel and be a leader. She works diligently to complete all tasks assigned to her. Her progress in class, as well as in the CEI lab, have shown her to be at a second grade level. Samantha is very capable in two languages, English and Spanish. She is always willing to help her classmates who are struggling with their language. Being creative and curious, Samantha is always ready to learn something new. Her favorite subjects are Reading and Science. She attends the after-school BEST Club and is a positive leader, showing others how to make positive choices. It has been a pleasure working with such an enthusiastic learner.

gabby buch


Brazosport (TX) ISD

desmond dye

edgewood (TX) ISD Gabby Buch, a second-grader at Edgewood Elementary, has made a lot of improvement this year. She never misses any words, reads fluently, and never recycles. Her teachers are very proud of her progress. Gabby says, “Before I came to the lab, I would usually just make up silly words when I was reading, but now I know the words!� Desmond Dye, a first grader at Edgewood Elementary, started the year as a non-reader. He is now able to read; he even completes his lessons quickly and accurately. Beverly Chadwick, lab facilitator, really loves having Desmond in the lab because of his eager, enthusiastic attitude and his willingness to work hard on every ELS lesson.

Paul Belton Early Childhood Center ELS

BORGER (TExas) ISD Paul Belton Early Childhood Center ELS Paul Belton Early Childhood Center teacher Ada Mastroberti reported that one of her Kindergartners who was struggling and did not seem to be making good progress went to the Lesson Manual, read the lesson words for See Say, and said, "Those words rhyme!" The teacher was so excited because recognizing rhyming words is one of the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) criteria and such an important indicator of phonemic awareness. Facilitators Amy Hall and Debra Zanardi work with students in this very busy kindergarten lab.

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Dewitt (arkansas) Public schools

zack cook — Zack, a fourth-grader at DeWitt Elementary, attends the MLS lab, where he is doing really well on Double-Digit Subtraction. Zack says, “Subtraction is fun. I like coming to the lab. Computer lab rules!” Stoney gresham — DeWitt Elementary fourthgrader Stoney says, “Math is fun. I love doing multiplication, and I like word problems. Computers are cool!”

dewitt elementary

Clayton adams — Clayton is a fourth-grader at DeWitt Elementary in Arkansas. He says, “I like computer lab. I like to multiply because it’s easy for me now.”

dewitt elementary

Dewitt elementary school

clayton adams

zack cook

Austin ireland — Austin, a fifth -rader in the DeWitt Elementary MLS lab, says, “I like the game at the end of the lesson.”

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Tyler (not pictured), who works on both ELS and MLS, is in his second year in the DeWitt Elementary CEI lab. When he started, he was very shy and lacked the confidence he needed to do the work. Since he started working on ELS, his skills have skyrocketed; he now reads and writes his words with ease and confidence. He also loves building the MLS problems out on the working mats.

dewitt elementary

JD (not pictured), is another fifth-grader who likes the game at the end of an MLS lesson. JD says, “Computer lab rules!”

stoney gresham

Facilitator Susan Fisher comments, "Tyler has become really confident at doing his lessons, and his face lights up when he walks into the room. He even skips his games at the end of some of his math lessons so he can start a new lesson. I am so proud of him and the progress he has made." Susan credits much of her students' success to her CEI Solutions Analyst Robyn Irving. "I wanted to let CEI know how much Robyn Irving has done for me in the last four years. She has been wonderful!!!!!! If I have a question I just e-mail her. She will help me solve any problem, no matter how small. I would not be able to do the job I do if it were not for her." Susan praised CEI's Support Services team, too. "Any time I have called CEI or e-mailed anyone at your company I have always been treated so kindly," she said. "Everyone is so positive and ready to help. You are all wonderful!!!!"

austin ireland

Austin elementary

Fourth-grader grant (not pictured) says, “Subtraction is fun now because I know how to do it.” Grant is doing Triple-Digit Subtraction.

dewitt elementary

nicky jones — Fifth-grader Nicky says simply, “Computer lab rocks!”

nicky jones

2008-2009 Who's Who Among CEI students


dewitt middle school

dewitt middle school bryce applegate

Bryce applegate — Bryce Applegate, a sixthgrader at DeWitt Middle School, is getting ready to finish his first year in the CEI Literacy Lab. He has completed Level 1 and continues to work hard each day.

blake ellenburg

"My favorite part of the lesson is Copy-Write," Bryce said. Bryce's facilitator, Susan Fisher, has a system in which the students draw from a box to see if they will write words, phrases, or sentences. "This has become a class favorite with most of my students," explains Mrs. Fisher.

dewitt middle school

dewitt middle school

blake ellenburg — This is the first year for seventh-grader Blake Ellenburg to attend the CEI Literacy Lab at DeWitt Middle School. Facilitator Susan Fisher recognizes Blake as a very hard working student who is extremely interested in learning. "I really like being able to see my good scores at the end of each lesson," said Blake.

samantha keaton

deven london

Samantha keaton — Samantha Keaton, an eighth-grader at DeWitt Middle School, attends the ELS lab every day and works very hard. Samantha has already completed Level 1 and is currently working on Level II, Lesson 11. "I enjoy learning new words and reviewing words that I have already learned," said Samantha. deven london — This is his first year in the lab for Deven, a fourth-grader. Deven loves doing math on the computer. He recently started division and he’s making great scores on his lessons. He is always excited about coming to the lab and is usually the first one through the door when his group comes. He is another student that skips his games at the end of a lesson because he is anxious to start the next lesson. Of the lab, Deven says, “I like multiplication, its fun and easy.”

dewitt middle school

dewitt middle school

william godfrey

William godfrey — An eighth-grader at DeWitt Middle School, William Godfrey has worked extremely hard this year in the lab. "I was glad when Mrs. Fisher changed my sequence so I could work faster," said William. William's efforts, along with those of his classmates, paid off in a popcorn party.

haley strain

haley strain — Haley Strain, a sixth-grader at DeWitt Middle School attends the ELS lab every day and has already completed Level 1. Each nine weeks, facilitator Susan Fisher awards two $5 Sonic Drive-in cards to six different students. Haley was one of the students to receive this special award. "I really like going to the CEI Literacy Lab," commented Haley.

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Dewitt middle school

edinburg (TExas) Consolidated ISD

Cano-Gonzalez Elementary

Austin elementary

adriana gomez

edinburg high School

San Carlos elementary

luis juarez

Giovanni Luna — Tenth-grader Giovanni Luna, who spent time in the Edinburg's Harwell Middle School CEI lab, saw his biggest improvements in his self-confidence and creativity. When he entered the CEI lab, he had difficulty structuring sentences and even carrying on a conversation. Now he talks all the time and enjoys reading library books. Ashley Martinez — Ashley Martinez, a freshman at Edinburg High School, has already reached Level IV of the ELS program. Throughout her time in the lab, teachers have seen great improvements in her vocabulary, spelling, and sentence structuring. Ashley credits much of her success to the help she received from Frances Whitworth, facilitator in the Harwell Middle School CEI lab.

edinburg high School

edinburg high School

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ashley martinez

adriana gomez — There are many positives for fourth grader Adriana Gomez, a student at Cano-Gonzalez Elementary in Edinburg. Having worked her way to Level 2, lesson 9, she acknowledges, “Being in CEI has helped me to concentrate, stay focused. It has helped me to be an excellent communicator, and I am doing very well on the TAKS test.” Adriana speaks with the maturity of a high school student, proof that her vocabulary has definitely grown this year. Stephanie Rodriguez — Stephanie, a third grade student at San Carlos Elementary, was able to exit the CEI program after scoring a 92% on the TAKS Reading. That's a major accomplishment since she just started attending the CEI lab at the beginning of the school year. Her classroom teacher has noticed a huge difference in her overall performance.

giovanni luna

stephanie rodriguez


luis juarez — Fifth-grader Luis Juarez just finished his first year in Austin Elementary's CEI lab. After his time in the lab, he not only passed his Reading TAKS, but was also Commended for his performance. His instructor, Susan Zuniga, says, “Luis is a hard worker and has had to overcome a tremendous language barrier. I have seen a huge growth in one year in comprehension, reading ability and his selfesteem." To quote the lab's theme for this year, he is ‘Shining like a Star.’

Victor Reyna — Victor Reyna is a senior at Edinburg High School. Thanks to his success in the CEI lab, he has been accepted at Texas State Technical College (TSTC), where he will be studying auto mechanics this fall. Victor already has several job opportunities lined up in his future. victor reyna

2008-2009 Who's Who Among CEI students


"During the school year we read two novels, Because of Winn Dixie and Charlotte’s Web. This year, we decided to look for CEI words in every chapter. It was wonderful to see how every time the students read a word, they immediately recognized it was a CEI word. They knew the meaning, and comprehension was 100% accurate every time.

Georgetown isd

Leslie Vazquez, facilitator of the Dell Pickett Elementary lab in Georgetown ISD, explains, "It’s hard to choose one successful story, when I can see how my whole class has grown and changed through the CEI program.

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georgetown (TExas) ISD dell pickett elementary school

pickett elementary school ELS Students

masson gardner

emily hays

grand saline intermediate school

grand saline intermediate school

grand saline intermediate school

grand saline intermediate school

"They understood that CEI was really more than a computer program," Leslie says. "CEI was teaching them the necessary vocabulary important for reading and comprehending in English. The Auditory Feedback helped them pronounce words accurately and gain more confidence. The editing and spelling components of the program helped them improve their writing skills 100%. They love CEI! And I do, too."

lillie pryor

gamaliel jacobo

grand saline (TExas) ISD, grand saline intermediate school masson gardner — Masson is a fifth-grader at Grand Saline Intermediate School. He has worked in the ELS lab for three years, and during this time, he has developed a true love for reading. Mrs. Joyce Hollenshead, lab facilitator, notes that ELS has helped Masson excel in Accelerated Reader (AR), and he has continually surpassed his six-week AR goals. Masson says, “CEI helps me with reading and spelling. I like Quick Pick, and I always try to beat my score.”

emily hays — Emily, a fifth-grader at Grand Saline Intermediate School, has been in the CEI lab for three years. Mrs. Loretta Wheeler, lab facilitator, describes her as a very hard-working student who always goes the extra mile to help others with their lessons. Emily says, “I like to learn more words in ELS. I never get bored with it. I like CopyWrite the best!”

gamaliel jacobo — Fifth-grader Gamaliel Jacobo arrived at Grand Saline Intermediate School three years ago from Guatemala and could not speak any English. Mrs. Joyce Hollenshead, lab facilitator, says that Gamaliel has worked hard in ELS, often studying the lesson words outside of class. Gamaliel says, “I’ve learned how to read better, and I know what the English words mean.” His good work has earned him many trips to the lab's Treasure Chest, where he often picks out items to give to other family members.

lillie pryor — Grand Saline Intermediate School facilitator Loretta Wheeler says that fifth-grader Lillie Pryor never gets discouraged when working in the program. If Lillie has a difficult lesson or makes mistakes, she tries even harder in the next class. Lillie says, “I like to choose my own background. I really like the Space background. I think I’m pretty good at Copy-Write, and I’m fast in Quick Pick.”

lafayette Christian school

lafayette Christian school

lafayette Christian school lexie dehaven

jacob maule

jacob sanson

lafayette (indiana) Christian school Lexie Dehaven is a darling girl who got right down to business the minute she entered the ELS lab at Lafayette Christian School. All the other students in Lexie's lab period liked to try to keep up with Lexie's quick and accurate work, and Lexie was always very generous, encouraging and kind to the other students. When she entered the lab halfway through her first grade year, Lexie took the Diagnostic Screening Test: Reading (DST:R) and scored Below Level on Reading Comprehension. By the time she was halfway through her second grade year, she had improved to a 3.1. Before Lexie started attending the ELS lab, her mom could not get her to read; now Lexie loves to read, especially to her baby brother. Facilitator Julie Williams, says, "We're sure going to miss Lexie's good example and sweet smile in lab. Good job, Lexie!" Jacob Maule entered Lafayette Christian School's ELS program as a fourth grade student. Even though his DST:R showed his Instructional Reading was 4.1, his Reading Comprehension tested at 1.6 and his Listening Comprehension at 4.5. He was struggling to keep up in class, and he and his parents were always discouraged at home with the long time it took to complete his homework. Jacob worked hard at ELS for 12 months and had some incredible results. His mother says he now likes to read and reads for fun; he even he gets his homework done much more quickly. Better yet, he is keeping up with his class, and he has a newfound confidence in his academic ability. Best of all, his Instructional Reading level is now an incredible 6.7, his Reading Comprehension 5.5, and his Listening Comprehension 6.8! Way to go Jacob!


lafayette Christian school

The Lafayette Christian School lab won our recent drawing for promotional supplies. In the photos below, several of the lab's students happily display their winnings.

lafayette Christian school

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

When Jacob Sanson entered the ELS program, it took a little convincing to get him to give it his all. In short order, he was working hard every day, and his scores were excellent. Jacob started ELS halfway through his first grade year and finished halfway through second grade; in that time, he had improved his reading level from 0 to 3.1. Jacob's parents were thrilled with the progress they saw in his reading and attention span. He felt great about his accomplishments in ELS and really enjoyed the incentive programs and saving up for prizes. Congratulations to you, Jacob!

the lafayette Christian school els lab was a recent winner of a CEI dr awing for promotional gifts.

lafayette students show off their recent winnings.

2008-2009 Who's Who Among CEI students

efrain moreno

efrain moreno — Francis Bacon once said: “Knowledge is power,” and this is certainly true in the case of Efrain Moreno, a third grade student at Katherine Tarver Elementary School. With the help of the ELS program and its daily activities in the CEI lab, Efrain has been able to acquire the knowledge needed to improve his reading comprehension skills. He began the school year speaking and writing solely in Spanish and seemed to be intimidated by the English language. In the past few months, Efrain has made great strides. He is always excited about the daily lessons and always seems to be the first one to log in and the last one to log out.

leakey elementary

Currently, there are over 40 students enrolled in the ELS program at Tarver, but Efrain definitely stands out among the rest. He is a model student who has greatly improved in phonemic awareness, fluency, and vocabulary skills. In fact, he was Commended on the Reading TAKS test given in March. The academic success that he has achieved with the help of the ELS program has given him the confidence to accomplish things that only a few months ago seemed impossible.

leakey elementary

juan maldonado

carlos saravia

Duncan elementary

tarver elementary tarver elementary

mayela gonzales

mayela gonzales — The ELS facilitators from Laredo ISD's Katherine Tarver Elementary are proud to recognize the success story of Mayela Gonzalez. Mayela was a timid first-grader who started the program to build her reading and phonics skills. Her first grade teachers believed that participating in the lab would help increase her vocabulary and phonemic awareness. Through the frequent use of the program, noticeable improvement has been seen. Mayela not only began to recognize phonics, but also to increase fluency and various other skills. Her experience with ELS has also caused her self-confidence to bloom.


Daquan cox

killeen (TExas) ISD Duncan elementary When Daquan entered the CEI lab at Killeen ISD's Duncan Elementary, his demeanor was calm and reserved. He was lacking in confidence and motivation. Daquan, a quiet but conscientious worker, has since celebrated the many “small steps” that have advanced him towards becoming a confident student. The success he has experienced in the lab has greatly improved his level of confidence, as well as his overall learning success in school. The teachers who work with him have also noticed the “new and improved” Daquan. The once shy and struggling student has grown into a proud, maturing, motivated learner. Everyone is so pleased with Daquan's progress.

leakey (TExas) ISD leakey elementary school Facilitator Stephanie DeLeon is looking for good things to come as two of her ESL students, juan maldonado and Carlos saravia, continue to progress and learn in the CEI labs at Leakey Elementary. Juan, now in his second year in the lab, could speak some English but is definitely learning as he progresses through his lessons; Carlos, on the other hand, entered the lab as a non-English speaker. The two boys are both using ELS and MLS with much success. The ELS program has broadened their English vocabulary, and that newfound knowledge is evident as they complete Word Meaning Review. Their experiences with MLS have greatly improved their English as well. The Tactile and Illustrative portions have been particularly helpful, especially for Carlos, who has had to work on overcoming his language barrier. Both boys have made great strides in their math skills. Carlos is now working in DoubleDigit Multiplication and is able to read math problems and get correct answers with little assistance. Juan is working in Subtraction and finding lots of success as he learns regrouping. CEI lab. When he entered the CEI lab, he had difficulty structuring sentences, and even carrying a conversation. Now, he talks all the time, and enjoys reading library books.

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laredo (TExas) ISD tarver elementary school

llano elementary

llano elementary

llano (TExas) ISD llano elementary

In facilitator Gwen Feaster's eyes, Tanner Inge has made a special achievement: He is the hardest worker in the first grade CEI classes at Llano Elementary. Tanner, who started attending the lab September 4, 2008, has completed more lessons than any of the other students in his grade. That is a great accomplishment for anyone but even more for Tanner, who suffers from a handicap that boasts fatigue as its worst side effect. Regardless of how he feels, Tanner consistently strives to succeed. His competitive nature, combined with the encouragement tanner inge eric wagner and support of his teacher, Mrs. Baker, motivates him to get his work finished and stay ahead of the other students in the class. He explains, "I like reading. I like working on the computer and doing lessons, so I will get to the higher lessons." Already on Level 1, Lesson 40, Tanner — who is also a talented artist — has shown lots of growth in reading, spelling and computer skills. Eric Wagner, a third-grader at Llano Elementary, began working in the CEI lab in February 2007. Eric is making great progress as a result of his work in the lab; in fact he was recently Commended for his performance on the Reading TAKS. That is just the first of many accomplishments. Facilitator Gwen Feaster explains, "He consistently works hard, and I notice his self-esteem increases as his reading improves. He also helps new students adjust and learn the program." Gwen is also quick to credit Eric's third grade teacher as being a big reason he has been so successful on the program. Another of Eric's supporters, his art teacher Mrs. Myrick, adds, "He is an excellent artist, and he is very respectful of all teachers and fellow students. He mentions that seeing the results of his success makes him want to work harder."

cathey middle school

mcallen (TExas) ISD cathey middle school


cathey middle school

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

ruben garcia

Viola Champion (front right, in Cathey t-shirt) with els students

In the CEI lab at McAllen ISD's Cathey Middle School, one can find a very intuitive student. Sixth-grader Ruben Garcia recently asked several questions about the ELS program that were somewhat troubling him. His first wanted to know about the possibility of making the illustrations more animated. His CEI Solutions Analyst Bonnie Blake explained that when we are processing information and training the brain to strengthen the links between the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic, we don’t want to interfere with the learning process by adding distractions. His response, “That makes absolute sense!” He then went on to tell the following story. “I have just finished several lessons in Level II. I decided to use some of those words in everyday conversation at home. When my mother told me to take out the trash, I responded with ‘I will haul the garbage to the dumpster.’ My mother was shocked and explained, ‘What does haul mean? I never heard that word before.’" Ruben was beginning to question if we were using “real” words in this program, since so many adults in his life never heard of some of them. Our hats are off to Ruben for being so intuitive! Keep up the good work, and keep using those new vocabulary words! Viola Champion, dyslexia instructor at Cathey Middle School has a creative group of students. This year, as a class project, the students wrote letters to several celebrities who are also dyslexic. They sent letters to Tom Cruise, Bruce Jenner, Usher, Will Smith, Britney Spears, Joe Montana, and Robin Williams, to name a few. In their letters, they expressed their opinions on being dyslexic and asked the celebrities how they overcame their reading difficulties. So far, they have received a response back from Tom Cruise, along with an autographed picture. Each day, the students look forward to seeing who has received letters from their celebrities. Ms. Champion is indeed a “champion” for students at her campus!

2008-2009 Who's Who Among CEI students

37 seguin elementary

Jessica Ortiz, dyslexia instructor at two of McAllen ISD’s campuses — Garza Elementary and Sequin Elementary — has exciting news to share. Of the 18 CEI students from the two campuses, 16 have taken their TAKS Reading assessment, and 14 of those students passed! One student at Garza Elementary was even Commended! Pictured with Ms. Ortiz, two of the Sequin students who passed their TAKS were third graders Joshua Mendez and Elijah Renterina, both of whom are in their their first year of CEI. Congratulations to Joshua and Elijah and to the rest of the students at Sequin and Garza for passing the TAKS!

Jessica ortiz (center) with seguin elementary students Joshua Mendez and Elijah Renterina

Michael Hendricks is a second-grader in the Rains Elementary MLS lab. Facilitator Charlotte Beavers commented on the improvements he has made this year, "Michael works really hard in the lab and has become more focused and conscientious about his work. He always uses the manipulatives in Lessons 1, 2, and 3. MLS has helped him to make better grades!"

rains elementary

Abby Gonzales is a third-grader at Rains Elementary School. Charlotte Beavers, MLS facilitator, says, "Abby is a great student with a wonderful attitude. She always comes into the lab ready to work and motivated to do her best." Abby has made a lot of progress this year, starting in Unit 1 and working her way up to Unit 4!

rains elementary

rains (TExas) ISD rains elementary school

abby gonzales

Dulce Zarco, a fourth-grade all-star ELS student from St. Agnes of Bohemia, has been enrolled in the program for the past two academic years. Dulce came to the lab reading below the third-grade level. She struggled with spelling, reading, and comprehension, but Dulce has always had an intrinsic motivation to learn. She strives to be the best, and she excels in the ELS lab and in the classroom. As a result of her hard work, Dulce has been on honor roll and received As and Bs! Dulce's very proud mother tells facilitator Kara Rothermel, “I'm so proud of her. Last night, she read two chapters from a book to me.” Dulce says, “I've learned a lot, and it is very fun in ELS.” Way to go, Dulce!

St. Agnes of bohemia

St. Agnes of Bohemia school Chicago, Illinois

dulce zarco

michael hendricks

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Mcallen (TExas) ISD seguin elementary school

shary elementary

michael alfaro

Michael alfaro — Michael is a first grade student at John H. Shary Elementary. Michael comes to CEI every morning with a smile; when he is done, he goes to PE, where he enjoys rock climbing on the gym's wall. Much like he does on the rock wall, Michael achieves success in the lab one step ­— or in this case, one lesson — ­ at a time.

Karen cisneros — Karen Cisneros is a fifth grade student at John H. Shary Elementary. Earlier this year, Karen set an Accelerated Reader (AR) goal of 100 points; she is very close to succeeding and has already earned 75 points. Karen loves to share stories with her little brother Brandon, who is in second grade.


abbie respondek — Abbie, a sixth-grader, moved to John H. Shary Elementary from Louisiana earlier this year. She quickly made new friends and is always willing to help others. She is also close to reaching her AR goal of 100 points.

abbie respondek

shary elementary

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

shary elementary

karen cisneros

alberto sepulveda — Alberto is a second grade student at John H. Shary Elementary. A second-year lab student, Alberto has shown tremendous improvement in reading this school year. In his spare time, he enjoys reading about the Berenstain Bears, and he participates in University Interscholastic League (UIL) Spanish Poetry. alberto sepulveda

Walnut ridge baptist academy

shary elementary

sharyland (TExas) ISD John h. shary elementary school

Johnathon Karns

Walnut Ridge Baptist Academy — Learning Efficiency Program waterloo, Iowa Johnathon Karns' mother wrote, “We adopted Yorgi (Johnathon) from an orphanage in Piatagorsk, Russia, when he was three-and-ahalf years old. He received speech services beginning at age four from our local area education agency. He repeated kindergarten and attended summer school each summer, but still struggled greatly in school and fell further behind each year. "When he started [using Essential Learning Systems] at the Learning Efficiency Program center midway through third grade, he had given up and was easily frustrated and very hard to work with. In the time he has been working with LEP, he has become a different child. He has much more confidence and always gives one hundred percent. This has greatly improved his performance in school work and his behavior. He scores one hundred percent on his spelling tests. We couldn’t be more pleased with Yorgi or with the Learning Efficiency Program; it has been a lifesaver for our family.” LEP Director Marlene Krueger adds, “Johnathon’s demeanor has changed so much. He used to hide under his bangs and was not trying. His handwriting was awful, and he could not read. Now he is everything this program represents.”

2008-2009 Who's Who Among CEI students

whitney (texas) isd whitney elementary

emily smith

whitney elementary

In January 2008, Emily Smith was a third-grader at Calvary Christian School in Meridian, Mississippi, when she enrolled in the ELS program at Trinity Dyslexia Education Center. At that time, her Instructional Reading level was 1.7, and her Reading Comprehension level was 2.4. She had poor grades and was very discouraged about school. She lacked self-confidence, and on top of that, she'd been diagnosed with dyslexia. Since that time, she has attended Trinity three days a week during the school year, working in the ELS lab most of that time. The students at the center all have 30 minutes a week with their comprehension tutor. Emily often arrived early and waited until her tutor, Mrs. Gartrell, arrived so that they could spend a few minutes working on her weekly spelling plan or other homework she was having trouble with. Emily has been very faithful in attending and always put forth her best effort. Fast forward to March 2009. Emily is now in fourth grade. The last time she finished a level and took a Placement test, she tested out of the program ... much to her amazement. When she was given the Diagnostic Screening Test: Reading, her Instructional Reading level was 6.6, and her Reading Comprehension level was 7.9. Needless to say, Emily, her family, and the entire staff at Trinity Dyslexia Education Center are just thrilled over the progress she has made in a year and two months. They just know this pretty blue-eyed girl is going to do great in school.

back (L-R): Ethan Jones, Ms. Kelsey Shaw, and Cesar Hernandez front (L-R): Courtney Jones and Elias Cummings)

Whitney Elementary just installed the MLS program a few months ago, but it has already helped advance numerous students in math. Facilitator Kelsey Shaw is more than happy to discuss the progress that her students have made. First graders Courtney Jones, Elias Cummings, and Cesar Hernandez and second grader Ethan Jones were all placed in her class and on the MLS program this January. "Most of them began the program in Unit 1 on either Number Recognition or Patterns and Counting and all have progressed significantly to Unit 2: Number Operations in just three-and-a-half months." Courtney really enjoys the program, citing several of her favorite aspects. “I like Quick Answer in Fluency and using the mouse to solve problems during the lesson." Ms. Shaw clarifies that Courtney favors the Illustrative lessons because she gets to use the mouse to move manipulatives. Ethan’s classroom teacher, Sharon Ward, said he enjoys the program as well, and he is always motivated to go to the math lab every day. Ms. Shaw explains, "The program has helped to motivate students who are usually frustrated by math to want to learn it. As I said before they have gone from not being able to recognize numbers put in front of them or not knowing how to count, to doing addition problems!" Youth development center Houston, texas Kennetha Henderson (not pictured) has been an ever increasing, tenacious, and polite young lady that models all of Houston's Youth Development Center's attributes: Inspire, Equip and Guide. After being retained, she started attending YDC's ELS program in the second grade. She had a combined Instructional Reading and Reading Comprehension score of 0.3. She was in special education after being diagnosed with learning disabilities and a speech impediment. Being self-conscious of her disabilities, Kennetha didn’t talk much and kept a very low profile. When YDC's facilitators introduced CEI and the individualized, self-paced process she made great gains! In her first year (2006-2007), she managed to go from basic “ABC’s” to seeing and sounding out word sounds. Last year, she was taken out of speech therapy. After making a year's jump, Kennetha is now in the fifth grade and reads very close to grade level.“ Her mother, Mary King, has noticed the changes. "She’s a hard worker and now she’s a lot more confident."

Youth Development Center's Dante Sherman (not pictured) is a miracle story still in the making. After overcoming a horrendous experience at an early age of five years old; Dante entered the school system with huge psychological/emotional barriers. Although he had no obvious learning disability, he continued to wane in literary and academic skills. His inability to stay focused enough to complete a task had him in jeopardy of being retained and possibly classified as special needs or even worse...delinquent. CEI’s self-paced, low pressure, rewardsbased program stimulated his desire to complete lessons. He quickly became competitive, each day trying to top not only his performance, but also that of other students at the center. When he began the ELS program in the 2007-08 school year, Dante was placed in Level I; he is now nearing Level V! Although there are many academic challenges that he’s still overcoming daily, he continues to amaze the YDC staff with his speed and accuracy.

Creative education institute SHARE Magazine w w w.ceilear spring/summer 2009

trinity dyselxia education center Meridian, Mississippi

Trinity dyslexia education center


Be nefits:

✓✓He lp fu l fo r ALL st uden ts, in cl uding ELLS an d SP ED ✓✓Im proves pe rf or m an ce on grades an d st at e as se ssmen ts ✓✓N ar ro ws th e ac hievemen t ga p ✓✓Save s te ache rs' ti me ✓✓Af fo rd able an d co st-e ff ec ti ve ✓✓Grou nded in sc ie nt ific re se arch ✓✓Mot iv ates st ud en ts

S ci en ce L ea rn in g S ys te ms

Le s s o ns ✓✓Ho w We Le ar n ✓✓Lif e Sc ien ce ✓✓Ea rt h Sc ien ce ✓✓Ph ys ica l Sc ien ce

✓✓Sc ien ce Proc es se s ✓✓Techn olo gy

Fe at u

✓✓Mor ph olo gy ✓✓appro xim ate ly 250 les ✓✓appro xim ate ly 2000 scien ce wo rds /te rms

son s



re s:

Creative Education Instit ute's standards-based Science Lea rning Systems (SLS) is proven to accelerate the acq uisition of critic al science vocabulary in Grades 3-5. SLS utilizes the sa me powerful learnin g engine as Essential Learning Systems (ELS). This progra m allows teachers to assign specific lessons to the who le class, groups, or individu als; it is site-licensed, opera tional in classrooms or la bs, an d training is online.

n For more infor mation, r uc t io t s n I t c n e contact CEI at ✓✓D i r du a l i z at i o i v i d (800) 234-7319, ext. 131 or or y ✓✓I n i-s e n s t l u ✓✓M n t ask e- o n- d Re pe t i t io m i T ✓ ✓ an c t ic e a io n r P ✓ ✓ t r uc t s g n n i i k d n e ✓✓C h u u te r-a s s i s t p ✓✓C om

SHARE Magazine, Spring/Summer 2009  
SHARE Magazine, Spring/Summer 2009  

Volume 20, Issues 01/02, Published May 2009, Who's Who 2008-2009