Page 1


m ag a zin e



ion instit u t a te uc d e

920 10

cr e

Volume 21, Issue 2 Spring/Summer 2010


Wh o’s w ho

0 0 2

SHARE Magazine © Copyright 2010 by Creative Education Institute® (CEI®) All Rights Reserved. For further information, call 1.888.511.4194. Publisher: Managing Editor: Contributing Editor: Design and Art:

Ric Klein Robin Wilson Lesley Mullen Robin Wilson

E ss e nti a l Le a r n i n g Sy s te ms® (EL S®), M a t h e m a t i ca l Le a r n i n g Sy s te ms® (M L S®), S c i e n ce Le a r n i n g Sy s te ms® (SL S®), CO D EB R E A K ER ®, CEI Eva l u a te™ , Le t te r R e co g n i ti o n® (L R ®), CEI Le a r n i n g M a n a g e r™ (CL M™ ), S e nte n ce A ss e m b l e r™ , S o u n d E x p r e ss®, Q u i c k Ta l e s™ a n d e Q u i c k Ta l e s™ a r e r e g i s t e r e d t r a d e m a r k s o f Cr e a t i ve Ed u c a t i o n I n s t i t u t e®.


Volume 21, Issue 2 Spring/Summer 2010 Table of Contents


From the Editor


Building Blocks: MLS Lesson Sequences Facilitate Concept Acquisition CEI staff worry — a lot, in fact — when we visit Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) labs and learn that someone has made a decision that students can skip the program’s concrete, or Tactile, lessons. Read this article to learn just why.


Bearing Much Fruit The San Jacinto Elementary Bear Den is not only a really fun place to be, but also a place where students feel great about the learning that occurs there. Perhaps that’s because since 1998, Bear Den facilitator Sarah Bell has made sure that the Bear Den was a place where things aren’t too hard, and they aren’t too easy. Instead, she has made sure that everything in the Bear Den is just right for her students.


The Write Stuff: The 2009-2010 Creative Writing Contest Winners

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


support line: 888.511.4194


FAX: 888.475.2402 Cover Background image: ©


12 In the Spotlight Belton ISD: Implementing with Fidelity to Ensure Every Kid Is a Winner! 16 Gold Medal Performances 2009-2010 Who’s Who Among CEI Students 24 We Are the Champions! Cayuga High School is home to numerous champions, but it’s not the only campus in the district where champions are being discovered…. 36 The Average Dropout Student

Creative education institute

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

from the Editor


s we began making plans for this final issue of SHARE for the 2009-2010 school year, another of my favorite events was also beginning … the Winter Olympics. As I made my initial notes for this issue, news outlets worldwide heralded the arrival of some of the world’s finest athletes as they descended upon Vancouver, the showcase for this year’s Winter Games. I love everything about the Olympics … the patriotism displayed by its participants, the pageantry, the colors, the music, the thrill of victory, and yes, even the agony of defeat. I love it all. I also love the stories … the heartwarming — and even occasionally, the heartbreaking — stories of the participants, many of whom overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to compete among the best of the best in their events. Some athletes triumphed over injuries or health hardships; others endured unbearable personal tragedies. But regardless of the obstacles life presented, these remarkable athletes persevered, and their efforts earned them membership in the elite fraternity of Olympians … a veritable Who’s Who of world-class athletes. The same week the Olympics began, I had the privilege of honoring a former student of mine as he, his colleagues, and his students became members of another elite fraternity. Sitting in Ballroom A of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, I beamed with pride as Robert Herrings presented his band, the Henry Middle School Honors Band from Cedar Park, Texas, to the Texas Music Educators Association, having been named the state Honor Band — the best of the best — in its class. What an incredible — and welldeserved — experience for Robert, his assistant directors, his private teaching staff, and their students! Not only was I able to be present for the band’s presentation and honors concert at the TMEA convention, but I was also fortunate to have a small part in the preparation for the event. Robert and I have stayed in touch over the years, and I was honored when he asked me to design the program for the concert. Robert and I talked, texted, and e-mailed frequently for the weeks leading up to the concert as we tweaked designs, modified colors, edited text, and the like. We talked about music, teaching, and students. We talked about our friends and family, other former students, and even the mundane, such as the errands we needed to run, our favorite TV shows, or what we had for dinner. We shared ideas; we laughed; we vented. Many times during our conversations, I expressed to Robert how proud I am of him and what he has accomplished with his students. I have to admit that I’m not at all surprised. We all have those students we just know are going to succeed, and Robert was one of them. Not only was he an incredible trumpet player back in the day, but he also was

a hard worker and a committed leader. He formed his own performing ensemble when he was in high school … a brass quintet, if I remember correctly, that played at numerous events at school and in the small town Robert called home. I knew even back then that Robert would achieve whatever he wanted to. I was right. Robert is only 30 years old, and he’s been teaching less than seven full years. But in his short career, his bands have received awards too numerous to list here … awards that many band directors never achieve in their entire careers. He’s even topped his Honor Band accomplishment; the HMS Honors Band recently received an invitation to perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago later this year. There, they’ll perform among some of the best instrumental soloists and ensembles in the world … a veritable Who’s Who of musicians. Would you believe that Robert credits me with some of his success? Well, it boggles MY mind, for sure. I was just his middle school band director; I didn’t teach him anything about teaching or conducting or overseeing a band program. Robert could teach ME, for heaven’s sake. But he remembers his time in my classroom. You may not know it, but some of your students feel the same way about you. You may think that you simply manage a computer program, or that you just help kids learn reading, math, or science. But you’re more than that to your students. Yes, you do manage a computer program, and yes, you do help kids learn reading, math, or science. But you do so much more. You give your students your time and attention. And you give them the skills they need to achieve academic, social, and professional success. One day, they’ll credit you for the role you’ve played in their lives, and if you’re blessed — as I am — you’ll hear about it. But until then, we’d like to commend you and your students by sharing your accomplishments this school year. Thanks to your diligence and dedication, your students have earned membership in another elite fraternity. With this issue of SHARE, we honor them … those who have worked hard this year to overcome their learning differences … this veritable Who’s Who of remarkable students. Best Wishes for Success,

Robin Wilson

Editor, SHARE Magazine



Building Blocks Bonnie A. Lesley, Ed.D., CEI President

MLS Lesson Sequences Facilitate Acquisition of Math Concepts


Creative education institute

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

EI staff worry — a lot, in fact — when we visit Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) labs and learn that someone has made a decision that students can skip the program’s concrete, or Tactile, lessons. We know because we live and breathe the research behind our programs. We know that when struggling learners do not go through the entire lesson sequence, they are not as likely to understand a given mathematical concept, or to be able to connect it to the procedures they are expected to learn. Implementing all phases of MLS is part of implementing this intervention with fidelity ... implementing according to the way it was designed to work the best. In order to improve the success of students in MLS labs in general, we encourage all educators involved to study both the research behind MLS’ design and the rationale for the way MLS is actually constructed.

Research Base for MLS Design So what is the research grounding MLS’ design? When MLS was first designed, various authorities were consulted about the most effective strategies for struggling learners. Among them were special educators Cecil and Ann Mercer, who wrote Teaching Students with Learning Problems (1981, p. 433), now in its seventh edition. Among their many recommendations was the use of what they called the CSA (concrete — semi-concrete — abstract) lesson sequence. They quoted researchers who found that this sequence was an “excellent way to teach students with learning problems to understand math concepts, operations, and applications.” The International Dyslexia Association (1982, p. 2) also strongly recommends this approach in order to help dyslexic students make the link between concepts and procedures. Hall (2004, p. 1) states that “The most successful instructional units — especially in mathematics — are those that begin with concrete, hands-on experiences for students and gradually move toward abstract applications.” The use of manipulatives in mathematics (the concrete phase) is strongly supported by research. Garnett (1998, p. 3) states that “it is important to remember that structured concrete materials are beneficial at the concept development stage for math topics at all grade levels. . . . There is research evidence that students who use concrete materials actually develop more precise and more comprehensive mental representations, often show more motivation and on-task behavior, may better understand mathematical ideas, and may better apply these to life situations.” Sousa (2001, p. 145) notes that “students with special needs who use manipulatives in their mathematics classes outperform similar students who do not.” The working mat itself is also important. Spear-Swerling (n.d., p. 1) summarizes available research as follows: “A mat for organizing manipulatives and for children to work on is essential. When children begin learning two-digit and three-digit numbers, the mat is organized from right to left in columns of ones, tens, and hundreds, to reflect the way that numerals are written.” The second phase of the lesson design is the semi-concrete (called the Illustrative phase in the program, and sometimes referred to as the pictorial, or representational phase). This intermediate step between the concrete activities and the movement to abstract understandings is also important, according to the research. The International Dyslexia Association (1998, p. 2) recommends exactly what Mercer and Mercer do, and that is to include activities where the student recognizes or draws pictures “to represent concrete materials without the materials themselves.” The January 2010 issue of Intervention in School and Clinic (pp. 186-191) includes an article on “virtual manipulatives,” which is another

Creative education institute

term for semi-concrete, illustrative, pictorial, or representational. Writers Bouck and Flanagan (pp. 196-197) state that research “suggests that virtual manipulatives are effective in facilitating students’ understanding of mathematical concepts.” They (p. 188) outline several benefits of virtual manipulatives: “(1) having a never-ending supply … available to students; (2) being able to quickly and easily work with more than one model; (3) not having to find or construct concrete fraction manipulatives for fractions that are difficult to model; and (4) students receiving immediate feedback if their answers are correct. . . .” Traditional mathematics programs start and end with the abstract lessons, and students either learn, or they don’t. It is important to remember that MLS is a therapeutic intervention for the students who do not learn using traditional methods. They need the systematic and explicit instruction that the program provides. They need intensive instruction, which MLS offers, as it is supplemental to the regular instruction. They need adequate practice and repetition to build and/ or strengthen the neural pathways in the brain that make movement of new information into long-term memory for retrieval possible. They need corrective feedback, and they have to move gradually from the concrete to the semi-concrete and then to the abstract in order to understand a mathematical concept. MLS provides all of these things. MLS Lesson Design To understand why we don’t recommend skipping the concrete lessons, it may be helpful to review briefly how MLS is constructed. Concept building, the first stage in MLS’ dual emphasis on concepts and fluency development, concentrates on the concepts and ideas that provide the basis of mathematical understanding. Each phase in the MLS concept building stage incorporates four categories of instructional strategies: Tactile (or concrete), Illustrative (or semi-concrete), Problems (or abstract), and Assessment. In Tactile (concrete) lessons, students use manipulatives to learn how to work with quantities. Having students hold three-dimensional objects in their hands encourages kinesthetic stimulation, as well as visual stimulation. The computer models the step-by-step instructions with illustrations for the different types of problems. This category helps students understand and feel how the quantities grow and change. There are three tactile lessons for each concept, with the third lesson being a mastery assessment. In Illustrative (semi-concrete) lessons, MLS shows students how to solve mathematics problems with graphic illustrations of the manipulatives and the working mat that they have been using. Students use the mouse to arrange objects on the screen and use the pictures to find the correct answers to problems. This category helps students begin to imagine how the quantities grow and change. There are three illustrative lessons for each concept, with the third lesson being a mastery assessment. Problems (abstract) lessons show students how to solve problems at the abstract level by using numbers, mathematical symbols, and algorithms (steps that will provide a correct answer). MLS instructions clearly present the link between using manipulatives and completing the abstract steps. Students learn why they must perform each step in solving an equation. This category also helps students learn the symbolic way to represent the growth and change of a quantity. There are three abstract lessons for each concept, with the third lesson being a mastery assessment. The last lesson in the phase tests students’ retention of the concept for that phase. Students must demonstrate mastery of the current phase’s skill before proceeding to the next phase. The MLS design team decided to create these 10 lessons for each concept, because the research was convincing that this CSA design

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

was necessary to ensure that students with mathematics difficulties or disabilities would be able to master the concepts. Conclusion All of us at CEI understand that time is important, and we empathize with those who feel that it might be nice to skip three of the 10 MLS lessons for each concept. We acknowledge that when students — especially young students — are involved, manipulatives can get lost or thrown across the room or get broken in use. We know that their storage takes a lot of space, as do those working mats, which are so are large and heavy. We’ve also heard students complain that those concrete lessons seem terribly basic. However, we strongly agree with the research that indicates that the manipulatives are essential for optimal student growth in mathematics, especially when the students are struggling students! For that reasons, we strongly encourage — as the best possible implementation and for the best possible results — all MLS labs to use the manipulatives for the concrete lessons. Mercer and Mercer (2005, p. 442) make the following recommendations for using manipulatives in order to ensure effective results:  Before abstract experiences, instruction must proceed from concrete (manipulative) experiences to semi-concrete experiences.  The main objective of manipulation aids is to help students understand and develop mental images of mathematical processes.  The activity must accurately represent the actual process. For example, a direct correlation should exist between the manipulative activities and the paper-and-pencil activities.  More than one manipulative object should be used in teaching a concept.  The aids should be used individually by each student.  The manipulative experience must involve the moving of objects. The learning occurs from the student’s physical actions on the objects rather than from the objects themselves.  The teacher should continuously ask students questions about their actions as they manipulate objects and should encourage students to verbalize their thinking.  The teacher should have students write the problem being solved through the use of objects and have students use objects to check answers. If you have questions about using the manipulatives, please contact your Solutions Analyst, or call a Support Services representative toll-free at 888.511.4194.

For a more thorough review of the research on the CSA sequence and the use of manipulatives in teaching mathematics, see Why MLS Works: Its Scientific, Theoretical, and Evaluation Research Base, pp. 167-174. Go to and click on “research and correlations” to download or read a free copy of this comprehensive study. The bibliographical references for this article are provided in that longer paper.


Bearing Much Fruit connee stine, CEI Solutions specialist


he Essential Learning Systems (ELS) lab at Goose Creek CISD’s San Jacinto Elementary School in Baytown, Texas, is a very popular place. Named for the school’s mascot, the San Jacinto Bear, the Bear Den is not only a really fun place to be, but also a place where San Jacinto Bear Cubs feel great about the learning that occurs there. In fact, it’s so popular that children who do not attend the Bear Den wish they did. Perhaps that’s because since 1998, Bear Den facilitator Sarah Bell has made sure that the Bear Den was a place where things aren’t too hard, and they aren’t too easy. Instead, she has made sure that everything in the Bear Den is just right for her students. “Daily, children ask if they can go to the Bear Den,” Sarah says. “This is a place where children learn every day. The children who do get to come to the Bear Den say they like it because they — in their words — ‘learn how to read better, they learn how to spell stuff, and they get to work on a computer.’ They think it is fun to talk to Tyler [Thorsen, the voice of the ELS program], and they receive rewards for talking to him. But more importantly, they love the learning they experience here. They love the feeling of success they feel. This is a place where they can compete with themselves to improve their reading skills. They are eager to go to higher and harder levels and lessons. They really want to make 100 on Word Meaning Review and SHARE. They love to take their Word Building Worksheets and Copy-Write pages to their teachers to show them how well they did and to show off their handwriting and organizational skills. “Our students are proud to be Bear Cubs,” Sarah says. “One day recently, I overheard one of my students saying to another student who does not come to the lab, ‘We do Copy-Write, Word Match, SHARE….’ He was talking about the Bear Den to a friend after school!” Sarah remembers another incident in which a teacher heard a little girl reading words in the bus line, and when she asked her about it, the little girl said, “I love the Bear Den.” The Bear Cubs’ love for their lab has enabled them to excel. “The enthusiasm and hard work of the students have resulted in our lab’s being awarded Exemplary Lab status for the last six years,” Sarah states. Sarah is quick to credit the ELS program and her students’ efforts for the Bear Cubs’ accomplishments, but anyone who has ever attended a CEI presentation or training knows there more to the program’s success than just its lessons. CEI believes human interaction and involvement are key elements in lifelong learning and the ability to make life-changing differences, and Sarah Bell exemplifies that belief. “I am so very proud to say I have worked with Sarah Bell for so many years,” says CEI Solutions Specialist Connee Stine. “Sarah was trained for the ELS lab in 1998. As her Solutions Specialist, I have personally seen the fruits of her labor benefit so many students. She is one of the reasons I still believe great teachers do


Creative education institute

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

such wonders with the tools given to them, despite the overwhelming number of cards stacked against some of our kids.” Sarah has had the opportunity to work with all kinds of learners. Equipped with Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Texas Tech University and a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist from the University of Houston at Clear Lake City, she has 39 years of experience in education. 36 of those years have been at San Jacinto, where she has served as a classroom teacher in kindergarten through fifth grade, as a Title I teacher, and as a Dyslexia Specialist. “I love being the Dyslexia Specialist,” shares Sarah, “because it is both challenging and rewarding to work with students who sometimes have difficulty in reading, but who are often creative and talented. “When we opened the CEI Lab in 1998, I could tell immediately that it was going to be very helpful for my dyslexic students,” Sarah recalls. “The direct teaching of organized word patterns is exactly what they need to build those important pathways in their brains. All children benefit from the constant direct teaching, repetition, reinforcement, and practice that are built into the program.” Dyslexic students aren’t the only ones who benefit from Sarah’s knowledge and enthusiasm for her students. With the assistance of Mrs. Sager, Sarah serves an eclectic mix of students in the Bear Den, including special education, bilingual, and regular education students in grades one through five. Some of the dyslexic students come to the lab from St. Joseph Catholic School, which is next door to San Jacinto. Students don’t just learn how to read in the Bear Den; they learn other important skills, too.

San Jacinto Elementary ELS facilitator Sarah Bell works with some of her Bear Cubs.

Creative education institute

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

Sarah Bell and her Bear Cubs display their Exemplary Lab award. The lab has earned Exemplary status the last six years. “The lab is a perfect place to teach handwriting and organizational skills,” Sarah states. “It works well because the groups are small, and the lessons are already so organized.” The students aren’t the only ones who have noticed the difference that Sarah and the Bear Den have made. “Our teachers recognize the benefits our students receive from the Bear Den,” Sarah states. “Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time in the day or space in the lab for all the students who need to come. But our teachers are eager to get their students in the Bear Den, and we all work together for the success of our children.” Regarding her students who go to the Bear Den, one teacher of bilingual students talked about the marvelous reading gains her children have accomplished thanks to the CEI program. She said the individualized instruction aided their mastery of the English language, and they were able to exit the bilingual program and were smoothly transitioning into the mainstream classrooms. Another teacher said, “The CEI lab enables the students from all grades to work at their own level and to become successful. The teachers in the program work very hard to make sure that all students who need help can receive it. They are willing to work around everyone else’s schedule. My students have come back to our room telling me how well they did on their lesson in the CEI Lab. The look of satisfaction is on their face. All the teachers at San Jacinto Elementary know that we can depend on the CEI Lab teachers to help make each child a success story.”

The parents also recognize how much help their children receive in the lab. “A parent of one of my students wrote what many of my parents have told me,” Sarah shares: I am very grateful for the help my son is receiving from CEI. CEI has helped my son in many ways. It has built his confidence, has helped him read better, write his letters better and not backwards, his writing has improved, he reads without saying, ’I’m dumb.’ He tries to do it before asking for help. His grades are improving. His self-esteem is better. He feels confident when we look at his grades. I hope he continues to go to CEI. Thanks, CEI. “This letter and others like it tell the whole story,” says Sarah.” This is why we are here. We want our children to feel confident and have good self-esteem. We want them to read, spell, and write well. We want them to love learning. In my opinion, the CEI lab is a place where all of these things happen every day. “I am honored to have been a part of this revolutionary program,” Sarah says. “I, too, love the CEI Lab.” After more than a decade of using ELS in the Bear Den, Sarah will retire at the end of this school year. We at CEI are honored by her love for and her dedication to her students, and we celebrate her commitment to their success. Rest assured, Sarah Bell, that your efforts have borne much fruit. We wish you the very best as you begin this exciting new chapter in your life.


e t ri

2009-2010 Creative Writi

W The


S t u ff

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. And did we ever receive entries … almost twice as many as we received last year! 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 this year, we are giving out over 500 awards and certificates of recognition!


Creative education institute

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

Creative education institute

iting Contest Winners THIRD ANNUAL JUDGE’S CHOICE AWARD WINNER: Makenna Hall Atlanta Middle School

Atlanta ISD

Kindergarten First Place Aleena Chavez Leo Marcell Elementary Mission CISD First Grade First Place Leslie Montanez First Place Rayden Chavarria

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Bivins Elementary Amarillo ISD

Second Place Second Place

Roselynne Padron Ethan Wiley

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Bivins Elementary Amarillo ISD

Third Place Third Place

Jose Gatica Jorge Perez, Jr.

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Bivins Elementary Amarillo ISD

Honorable Mention Lizbeth Herrera Honorable Mention Avery Woodard

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Bivins Elementary Amarillo ISD

Second Grade First Place Emily Enciso Rios First Place Riggen Hughes First Place Ally Luna First Place Faith Briney

Annie Purl Elementary Georgetown ISD Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD Annie Purl Elementary Georgetown ISD Colmesneil Elementary Colmesneil ISD

Second Place Second Place Second Place Second Place

Annie Purl Elementary Georgetown ISD Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD St. Michael School James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD

Angelina Chavarria Kaylee Kinabrew Anthony Noska Ebelyn Cardona

Third Place Yailin Vega Third Place Emma Cornish Third Place Jacob Sims

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD Colmesneil Elementary Colmesneil ISD

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Honorable Mention

Christina Lara Sydney Honey Aubree Grant

Annie Purl Elementary Georgetown ISD Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD St. Michael School

Third Grade First Place Priscilla Solis First Place Joseph Huhn First Place Ezequiel Vela

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD St. Michael School Cano/Gonzalez Elementary Edinburg ISD

Second Place Cecilia Rodriguez Second Place Leah White

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Colmesneil Elementary Colmesneil ISD

Third Place Laura Vazquez Third Place Jaycee Porter

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD

Karla Amaro Cody Turnbow

Fourth Grade First Place Cesar Guerrero First Place Ronald Deakin First Place Joseph Leahy First Place Isaiah Castillo

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD St. Michael School Cano/Gonzalez Elementary Edinburg ISD

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010


2009-2010 Creative Writing Contest Winners, continued from page 11 Fourth Grade, continued Second Place Second Place Second Place Second Place

Dariela Garcia Efrain Martinez Julianna Dabrowski Traci Nevendorff

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD St. Michael School Columbus Elementary Columbus ISD

Third Place Third Place Third Place Third Place

Juaquin Vasquez Brooke Honig Whittney Pina Shy Anne McClendon

James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD Colmesneil Elementary Colmesneil ISD Colmesneil Elementary Colmesneil ISD

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Honorable Mention

Jennifer Herrera James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Cody King Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD Isabella Valdiva Visitation School Anthony Cavalieri Kline Whitis Elementary Lampasas ISD

Fifth Grade First Place Aide Serna McCoy Elementary Georgetown ISD First Place Elias Cervantes Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD First Place Melanie Wilson St. Michael School First Place Yulissa Ponce Leo Marcell Elementary Mission CISD Second Place Second Place Second Place Second Place

Angela Garcia McCoy Elementary Georgetown ISD Taylor Florio Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD Emily Griffin Tarver Elementary Belton ISD Bobby Cantu Lyford Elementary Lyford CISD

Third Place Ashley Colchado McCoy Elementary Georgetown ISD Third Place Mariah Tucker Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD Third Place Leandra Palafox Lyford Elementary Lyford CISD Third Place Alex Flores James E. Mitchell Georgetown ISD Honorable Mention Maria Morales McCoy Elementary Georgetown ISD Honorable Mention Montana Hallmark Taylor Creek Elementary Lampasas ISD Honorable Mention Leandrew Chapa Lyford Elementary Lyford CISD Honorable Mention Lesslie Rangel Leo Marcell Elementary Mission CISD Sixth Grade First Place Yvonne Torres - Lechuga Lake Belton Middle First Place Terri Earnhart Atlanta Middle First Place Bonnie Wold Lake Belton Middle First Place Mayra Serrano Bandera Middle


Creative education institute

Belton ISD Atlanta ISD Belton ISD Bandera ISD

Second Place Maricela Martinez Lake Belton Middle Second Place Gabe Griffith Lake Belton Middle Second Place Anna Shramek Visitation School Second Place Natalia Lopez Bandera Middle

Belton ISD Belton ISD

Third Place Third Place Third Place Third Place

Ismael Hernandez Lake Belton Middle James Erb Lake Belton Middle Dezeray Webb Lake Belton Middle Brenda Gutierrez Bandera Middle

Belton ISD Belton ISD Belton ISD Bandera ISD

Honorable Mention Nallely De La Rosa Lake Belton Middle Honorable Mention Kendall Hayles Bandera Middle Honorable Mention Haleigh Crawford Lake Belton Middle Honorable Mention Esme Hernandez Bandera Middle

Belton ISD Bandera ISD BeltoniSD Bandera ISD

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

Bandera ISD

Creative education institute

Seventh Grade First Place Lorena Gonzalez Bandera Middle First Place Carsen Pace Visitation School First Place Tesla Love Atlanta Middle First Place Summer S. Schoonmaker Bandera Middle Second Place Brenda Gonzalez Bandera Middle Second Place Sara Brosius Bandera Middle Second Place Rachel Barker Bandera Middle Second Place Lorena Gonzalez Bandera Middle

Atlanta ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Third Place Mackenzie Roach Visitation School Third Place Cosette Berry Bandera Middle Third Place Amy Roldan Bandera Middle

Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Honorable Mention Honorable Mention Honorable Mention

Belton ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Brandi Frazho Lake Belton Middle Jay Shelton Bandera Middle Rachel Barker Bandera Middle

Eighth Grade First Place Jose Beltran Lake Belton Middle First Place Shannon Ward Visitation School First Place Erin Campbell Bandera Middle First Place Kaitlyn Peavey Bandera Middle

Bandera ISD

Belton ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Second Place Second Place Second Place

Janessa Meurer Danise Leal Erin Campbell

Bandera Middle Bandera Middle Bandera Middle

Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Third Place Third Place Third Place

Carmen Sierra Ashley Weber Danise Leal

Bandera Middle Bandera Middle Bandera Middle

Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Honorable Mention Destyne Condel Honorable Mention Kassie Pavelka Honorable Mention Zadie Baker

Bandera Middle Bandera Middle Bandera Middle

Bandera ISD Bandera ISD Bandera ISD

Tenth Grade First Place Jazzy Lewis First Place Shelby White

Tascosa High School Amarillo ISD Tascosa High School amarillo ISD

Second Place Uriaha McMurray

Tascosa High School amarillo ISD

Eleventh Grade First Place Shandrika Patterson

Tascosa High School amarillo ISD

Facilitators First Place Terry Brown Bivins Elementary Second Place Risa W. Pierson Colmesneil Elementary Third Place Bobbi McIntyre Lake Belton Middle Honorable Mention Christina Francis Leon Heights Elementary

Amarillo ISD Colmesneil ISD Belton ISD Belton ISD

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010


in the


The Belton ISD Administrative Team: Front row (left to right): Darrell Becker, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction; Dawn Schiller, curriculum Facilitator; Brent Harris, Director of Technology; Dr. Charla Trejo, Director of Special Education Back row (left to right): Dr. Vivian Baker, Superintendent of Schools; Ed Braeuer, Director of Secondary curriculum and instruction; Denise Whitley, Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction ; Jill Ross, Director of Federal Programs Not Pictured: Dr. susan Kincannon, Deputy Superintendent


Creative education institute

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

Creative education institute w w

SHARE Magazine spring/summer 2010

Belton ISD Implementing with Fidelity to Ensure Every Kid Is a Winner!


elton (Texas) ISD has a proud tradition of excellence in education. The mission of BISD is to ensure that every child achieves maximum educational potential. Currently, the district serves approximately 8,900 students at 12 campuses. Under the leadership of Dr. Vivian Baker, Belton ISD is a district where the school board, administration, faculty, staff, and community have embraced the district’s motto, “Every Kid a Winner!” Through hard work and dedication, Belton ISD always strives to improve continually. In the 2009 school year, the administrative staff sought to better the district’s curriculum design by focusing on intervention strategies to narrow the achievement gap. Thus began the partnership between Belton ISD and CEI. Once district leaders made the decision to incorporate Essential Learning Systems (ELS) and Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) into the district’s strategy to help its students with learning differences, the wheels of implementation began turning. Dr. Baker and her administrative team began the planning process by visiting an Exemplary CEI lab that used both ELS and MLS. They asked questions about hardware, room arrangement, furniture, supplies, scheduling, CEI’s Support Services, student progress, and staff support. Satisfied with the answers they received, the group returned home to begin the implementation process. One might call Belton ISD the “poster child” of CEI’s Administrator’s Implementation Toolkit. In fact, they followed (to a T) the Toolkit’s detailed outline of what is necessary to implement CEI programs with fidelity. During planning and strategy sessions, Belton leaders considered the following needs: Hardware Needs:  Computers for student use, as well as a teacher station in each lab  Printers, so that facilitators can print daily progress reports, testing results, lessons, and worksheets  Sets of headphones with microphones for each computer station, plus a few spare! [If you need a good reference, ask Director of Federal Programs Jill Ross…. She has extensive background information for finding the best headphones! — Editor]  Telephone access to call for technical or educational support

Internet Access:  For using CEI Direct — CEI’s own virtual support visit — to provide solutions for a particular student  For remote technical support such as eCare  For students to access CEI’s Web-based Activity Center (WAC) for practice activities Computer Lab Needs:  Dedicated rooms and appropriate furniture  Shelving and storage space for student files and MLS manipulatives  A quality lab facilitator  Instructional supplies  Future funding for subsequent years Technical Support:  Joint planning between CEI’s technical team and Belton’s technical director, Brent Harris, to schedule the installation of the CEI software at each campus  eCare sessions, e-mail exchanges, and scheduled telephone calls to maintain the least amount of lab interruption during the students’ intervention time


Scheduling: In deciding how to schedule students into the ELS/MLS labs, it is important to remember that CEI programs are, as in the words of one of our partners, “gyms for the brain.” These therapeutic interventions are designed using multi-sensory processing strategies so that highly individualized lessons both strengthen weak neural pathways in the brain and develop new ones that are necessary for learning to occur. Just as one doesn’t get healthier by skipping exercise and a healthy diet on a frequent basis, a student will not learn effectively without daily engagement in the program. Belton ISD embraced this philosophy by scheduling ELS and MLS classes for 45 minutes, five days a week as part of their master schedule in order for the programs to be effective and to narrow the achievement gap and make “Every Kid a Winner!” With their individualization and customization of lesson content and presentation, both ELS and MLS fit perfectly into the big picture of BISD Curriculum and Instruction Goals:

“I like the fact that the program has good teaching concepts and that I can go at my own pace!” — Belton ISD student

;; Success influences self-concept; self-concept influences learning and behavior. ;; Instructional processes can be adapted to improve learning. ;; Successful student learning must be based on providing appropriate educational experiences at the appropriate level of challenge in order to ensure maximum student achievement. Measuring Implementation/Assessing Quality of Intervention Implementation: To ensure that adequate and accurate data is available to the school and district, CEI suggests the following basic dual design:  Students’ names and other data are entered into the CEI database in the same way that the data is entered into the district’s database, using independent identification numbers and population and demographic codes, and adhering to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) codes to help disaggregate assessment scores.  Facilitators are trained in careful administration of the independently-designed Diagnostic Screening Tests for reading and mathematics, as well as the placement tests for each program, to ensure students complete the appropriate lessons. To top that, Belton ISD exceeded CEI recommendations by incorporating another aspect into its implementation plan.


Creative education institute

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

The administrative team agreed that two sources of data would be required to enter or exit a student from ELS or or MLS. The team met on on a regular basis to determine whether or not the intervention was effective or if additional modifications were needed in a student’s intervention process. Additionally, ELS and MLS team members use Eduphoria [] blogs to communicate and share ideas with each other. By focusing on the students throughout the entire implementation process, BISD never wavered from its motto. As a result, the students are reaping the benefits of the programs. During a recent visit to one of the new MLS labs, CEI Solutions Analyst B.C. Seely heard some of the following comments from BISD students: “I really love math now!” “I’ve made 17 hundreds in a row!” “I like the fact that the program has good teaching concepts and that I can go at my own pace!” “I never really understood fractions before.” The determination of the BISD administrative team in this endeavor was contagious within the district, and so is the students’ success. We are proud to spotlight this team of achievers who implemented our programs with fidelity to ensure that “Every Kid is a Winner!” We’re sure that Belton ISD will remain a model for other partners to follow.

Creative education institute w w

SHARE Magazine spring/summer 2010


Darrell Becker Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction

Dr. Vivian Baker Superintendent

Belton ISD Administrative Team

Ed Braeuer,

Director of Secondary curriculum and instruction

Brent Harris Director of Technology

Jill Ross, Director of Federal Programs

Dr. susan Kincannon Deputy Superintendent

Dawn Schiller curriculum Facilitator

Dr. Charla Trejo Director of Special Education

Denise Whitley Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction

Gold Medal Performances 2009-2010 Who’s Who Among CEI Students


Creative education institute

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

Creative education institute

ati v e educ a e r tio c n

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

in s

t u it


W ’ o h s


ho 2



Bivins Elementary school Amarillo ISD, Amarillo, Texas Terry Brown, facilitator Terry Brown, ELS facilitator at Bivins Elementary in Amarillo, Texas, is proud to share the successes of two of her students, Rayden Chavarria and Ethan Wiley. Terry is so proud of Rayden because he’s made excellent progress on his ELS lessons. Rayden’s classroom teacher, Carolyn Samberson, has also been very impressed with his reading improvement. Rayden Chavarria

Terry shares that although Ethan has had to recycle quite a bit, he, too, has made great improvement in the ELS lab. Ethan really struggled with reading when he started ELS, but he made a 100% on his six-weeks test — selected from Quick Tales — in mid-February. Ethan’s teacher, Kim Hunnicutt, is thrilled that he has done so well in the lab. Rayden and Ethan aren’t the only ones who cause Terry to beam with pride. She’s pictured at left with more super students: Top row: Angelica Mendez, Mrs. Terry Brown, Faith Hutcherson

Ethan Wiley

Second row: Ethan Wiley, Katelyn Ornelas, Jorge Perez Jr., Chasen McIntosh Bottom Row: James Bunce, Avery Woodard, Jeffery Tosh, Rayden Chavarria Tascosa High School Amarillo ISD, Amarillo, Texas

June Ince, Carolyn Immel, and Janie Mason, Facilitators

Henry Cortez, a senior at Tascosa High School, entered the ELS Program January 12, 2009. He began in Level I, Lesson 1, and by the end of that semester, he had progressed to Level II, Lesson 30. He is currently working at Level IV, Lesson 32, in the Gold B Sequence.

Bivins Elementary Students

Henry began the MLS program September 3, 2009, starting with Double Digit Multiplication; he is now working in Fractions: Subtraction with Common Denominators. He will easily complete the mathlab before his graduation in May.

Henry Cortez

Cosette Berry


Creative education institute

Henry is also involved with Community-Based Training at Tascosa High School. He is a responsible young man and strives for excellence in the classroom as well as on the job. These attributes, along with his four years of perfect attendance, make him a role model for his peers. Lab facilitators Carolyn Immel, June Ince, and Janie Mason believe that Henry will be successful in all endeavors following his graduation. Bandera Middle School Bandera ISD, Bandera, Texas Monica Wilson, facilitator Cosette Berry is a seventh-grader who has participated in the CEI program for two years now. “The change in her is remarkable,” Monica declared. “She came to our campus a timid, meek, fearful girl, but with the help of CEI, she is now a confident and courageous young woman. CEI has not only improved her reading and writing abilities, but it has given her a new lease on life itself! The successes she has had in the program throughout the past two years have given her the selfconfidence she lacked. She now regularly volunteers in SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

class, shares her writings with her peers, and has learned to take academic risks.” Austin C. (Not pictured), an eighth-grader, has made an incredible turnaround because of CEI. He welcomes reading comprehension tests, he uses his CEI strategies for phonetic awareness, and he demonstrates success. His attitude has also changed! “I’m so proud of Austin,” Monica says. Austin’s motto is “Commended, not just passing!” “Eighth-grader Graciela Contreras has grown tenfold in her language abilities this year,” says Monica. “She moved here from Mexico three years ago, and she constantly struggled to learn the English language, both in academic and social settings. However, as an eighth-grader, she has blossomed and spread her wings. Through the assistance of CEI and her caring teachers and friends, Graciela has found the confidence to practice using her English more than ever. She is now able to fully communicate with others in her second language and is taking compositional risks with her writing, breaking out of her old, comfortable routine. She knows that she still has her work cut out for her to learn even more, but she now has the self-esteem that she needs to help her get there. It has been amazing to watch Graciela come out of her shell and flourish!” Monica calls Geofrey D. (Not pictured) a CEI shining star! Monica recalls that Geofrey’s self-esteem was so low at the beginning of this year, his eighth grade year. “He would moan at the sight of a reading comprehension test,” she remembers. “He now is confident that he will do well and CEI has instilled in him that the gaps he once had are quickly filling up!” “Eighth-grader Marissa Godbey has turned her reading comprehension around 180 degrees! “ says Monica. “CEI has helped her tremendously! She now exhibits selfconfidence, is a leader and tutor to other students, and now reads aloud fluently! I am extremely proud of the great improvements she has made with the help of CEI!” Brenda Gonzalez is a seventh-grader who just started CEI this school year. She began the year with a very limited English vocabulary, but armed with dictionaries galore, she was determined to learn. Unfortunately, she found the content and classroom vocabulary difficult to follow. “She would no sooner look up an unknown word, and a list of others would be ringing in her ears,” Monica recalls. “She delved into the CEI program in hopes of escaping the pit of confusion she was feeling. Now, only months later she fluently talks to her peers and even volunteers to read aloud in class. CEI gave her back the ability to communicate.” “Eighth-grader Danise Leal feels that CEI has helped her a lot with her reading comprehension and sounding out words,” says Monica. “She feels pride that her school has provided her an additional tool for her success. CEI has helped her pass her reading and English classes!” “Desiree Palacios is an outstanding student who has grown by leaps and bounds through CEI,” says Monica. “She has worked diligently through the program, and now she feels confidence in all of her classes. CEI has truly allowed Desiree to blossom in academics and to be a role model for other students.”

2009-2010 Who’s Who Among Cei Students

Karla Presa is a seventh-grader in her second year of the CEI program. “She has made leaps and bounds in her education this year,” says Monica. “On an English benchmark at the start of the school year, she made a score far below passing, but she did not let this discourage her. She remained faithful to her studies and made sure to pay attention during classroom and CEI lessons. She shattered her previous score with her most recent English benchmark. She was one of only a handful of students to make a 100%. CEI gave her the edge she needed to push ahead in her studies.”

Graciela Contreras

Marissa Godbey

Brenda Gonzalez

Danise Leal

“Shelley Rittiman is a sixth-grade student who was very timid at the beginning of the year,” Monica shares, “and she rarely volunteered for anything. She now has a newfound passion for reading. She ripped through the Twilight series and is working her way quickly through Meg Cabot’s books. Shelley has read 26 books with a total of 1,227,527 words!!! No book is too long for Shelley if it tells a good love story.” Monica reports that Ana Laura Romero has worked hard in CEI and truly sees the benefits of her work. She has improved her test scores and classroom grades. CEI has empowered Ana to believe in herself and motivate others. “Kevin Scott is a sixth-grader who was very timid, and he hesitated to read aloud at the beginning of the year,” Monica recalls. “He has become a book-eater! He has gobbled up the Percy Jackson series, most of the Series of Unfortunate Events, and the Artemis Fowl series. He always reads more than required, and he enthusiastically recommends books to me. According to Accelerated Reader, he has read 21 books with a total of 1,039,555 words!!! “For two years, eighth-grader Ashley Weber has been an outspoken, loud, obsessive young lady who spent most of her time arguing,” Monica remembers. “This year, a change came over Ashley. Where once she dreaded CEI, now she uses her rapier wit to poke and prod until we leave for the lab. The student, who once told the class that she would never read books, is now hooked on the Vampire Kisses series. She jumps on the computer in the CEI lab, and challenges herself to excel. Slowly but surely, Ashley’s enthusiasm for CEI has spread to all of her classroom activities, and she is now well on her way to being an avid reader … of all things vampire.”

Desiree Palacios

Karla Presa

Shelley Rittiman

Sixth-grader Mercy Yermo moved to Bandera from Mexico not too long ago, but with the help of CEI and her vast love for learning, Monica says that Mercy has soared beyond expectations. “Mercy has worked and studied hard since she moved here, and she now writes and speaks English with the ease of a native speaker,” Monica states. ”Her language is beautiful, as is her work ethic. She never ceases to amaze her teachers and peers with her academic abilities and terrific attitude. She is always smiling and willing to help others out. Mercy is truly a shining star who will go far!’

Ana Laura Romero

Kevin Scott

Ashley Weber

Mercy Yermo


Belton Middle School Belton ISD, Belton, Texas Roxane McWha, facilitator Sixth-grader Kieana Leighton has attended the MLS lab at Belton Middle School since September of 2009. “Kieana is a very dedicated and smart student,” Roxane says. “She just needed some extra reinforcement in her math skills. She started in Number Operations — division — and she completed each lesson with 90s or 100s. Her biggest challenge was in Fractions: Addition with Different Denominators, but after completing the whole program, Kieana has a better understanding of fractions. Eighth-grader Ariel Vargas began attending the Mathematical Learning Systems (MLS) lab at Belton Middle School in September of 2009. “Ariel is a smart student who worked very hard to make 100’s on the MLS lessons,” according to Roxane. “She liked working in the program, especially in Fractions with Different Denominators. Because of her commitment to the program, Ariel finished MLS early in January. The MLS program has helped her reinforce many math skills.”

William McCorcle is a sixth-grader who wants to succeed. He feels the practice in division really helped him in his regular math class.

Brittani Castillo is a creative sixth-grader who has designed her own working mats for the MLS program. She says that using the manipulatives has given her better understanding and comprehension of math.

Jessika Millsaps, an athletic seventh-grader, says that the MLS program has really helped her. Not only has it been a great review, but Jessika also feels she has improved in working fractions.

Tikeith Crain is a sixth grade student who feels that the program really helps him because he now knows division, multiplication, and fractions. He states that the program really breaks down what to do, so you can understand it. Nallely De La Rosa is a hard-working sixth grade student new to our school this year. She feels that MLS and TAKS math class are really helping her. She is making 100’s in TAKS class and in the MLS program. Her lowest grade is an 86. She is doing so well that now she loves math. Jacob Gliha, an eighth-grader who is always willing to help others, said that the program has helped him review facts for the TAKS. Arianna Harris is a sixth-grader who says that she enjoys the MLS program because it has given her more confidence in herself, and in doing math. She says that she is optimistic that she can pass the math TAKS.

Lake Belton Middle School Belton ISD, Belton, Texas Candace Loertcher, facilitator Facilitator Candace Loertner shares the accomplishments of students using ELS and MLS in the CEI lab at Lake Belton Middle School….

Sixth-grader Daniel Hitzegrad feels he is now passing because of the review of math fundamentals in MLS.

Sebastian Aguillon, an eighth-grader who works diligently with the MLS manipulatives. He says that MLS really helps him with comparing and reducing fractions.

Eighth-grader Josh Humphreys is new to our district this year. He shares that he never really understood fractions until he participated in the MLS program.

Tiashuna Allen, a positive sixth-grader, is reaping the benefits of the combination of MLS and her Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Math class. She feels she is gaining new skills and self-confidence.

Earionna Hunter, an eighth-grader, says that CEI and TAKS math class have both helped her in math. She feels she has learned a lot since the beginning of the year and that now she can be successful.

Sergio Amaro is new to our district and is an English as a Second Language (ESL) student. He is a hard-working eighth-grader who always strives to do his best. Reana Anchando is a sixth grade student who participates in both the MLS and the ELS portions of the CEI Lab. Reana is always eager to learn, and now she feels more positive about her abilities. Marti Anderson, an eighth-grader, said that thanks to MLS, she is now doing better in multiplication and in fraction multiplication. Eighth-grader Zachary Armstrong says that the CEI program has helped him understand fractions … something he had struggled with before. It has also helped him relearn some math he had forgotten. He says he really enjoys it, and he hopes it will help him more in the future. Elexis Auingan is a steady-working sixth-grader who really enjoys working with the manipulatives.


She says that they give her more understanding when doing the problems, especially when working in division and in fractions.

Creative education institute

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

Alisha Jenkins, is an attentive eighth-grade student. She shares that MLS is helping her review math problems, and she feels that it is giving her more confidence in her abilities. Alisha is really excelling in fractions. Seventh-grader Rachael Lamont says that the MLS program has helped her in doubledigit division. Thomas Lord is a sixth grade student who says that he didn’t understand fractions at all before working in the MLS program. It has been fun to watch him grow in his math ability. He has a lot more confidence, and this has given him a more positive outlook. Christian Lucas is an eighth-grader who excels with the MLS multiplication manipulatives. He says that the program helps him work the problems step by step and that it’s as easy as “1-2-3.” He feels that the MLS program, along his TAKS math class, has him ready for the TAKS test and for high school.

Alex Molano, a hard-working seventh grader, says that the MLS division lessons really helped him in his math class. Marisa Monroe, a seventh-grader, says that the computers help her learn and are super fun. Enrique Orellana is an eighth grade student who says the program is helping him prepare to take the TAKS. Jasmine Posasi is an eighth-grader who feels that MLS really helps her understand math concepts. She says the program teaches her how to do math step by step. Haley Roberts, a seventh grade student with a positive attitude, feels that MLS helps her better understand fractions and division. She says that each time she takes the computer test at the end of the lesson, she scores in the 90’s or makes 100. She feels the program is beneficial because it explains how to work each problem. Jessica Rodriquez is a sixth grade student who is always eager to please. She says that she didn’t have a lot of confidence in math before the MLS program, but now she feels she can do it. Haylie Salter is a seventh-grader who is not afraid to ask questions. She shares that the MLS program helps her by explaining in detail how to do the problems. It also helps her to be able to visualize math in a different way. Marissa Scott is an athletic seventh-grader who says that MLS is helping her keep her math grades up. She likes the way the program explains things and enables her to learn shortcuts in math. Kyla Seiter, an eighth-grader, says that she has always struggled in math. She believes that the MLS program has helped her tremendously because it shows you how to work the problems step by step, and it explains the steps clearly. She says that when she does math, she gets stressed, but by using this program, it has helped her be successful in math. Conner Siegfried, a sixth-grader, is up for new challenges. He shares that he couldn’t do fractions at all before the program. Now he feels much more confident in math. Lily Taylor is a hard-working eighth-grader. She says that the MLS program has helped her with division and other math skills she needed to know. She says that the program will help anyone if they just follow the directions. She believes MLS will help students get ready for the next grade.

2009-2010 Who’s Who Among Cei Students

Kieana Leighton

Ariel Vargas

Sebastian Aguillon

Tiashuna Allen

Sergio Amaro

Reana Anchando

Marti Anderson

Zachary Armstrong

Elexis Auingan

Brittani Castillo

Tikeith Crain

Nallely De La Rosa

Jacob Gliha

Arianna Harris

Daniel Hitzegrad

Josh Humphreys

Earionna Hunter

Alisha Jenkins

Rachael Lamont

Thomas Lord

Christian Lucas

William McCorcle

Jessika Millsaps

Alex Molano


Marisa Monroe

Enrique Orellana

Jasmine Posasi

Haley Roberts

Jessica Rodriquez

Haylie Salter

Marissa Scott

Kyla Seiter

Conner Siegfried

Lily Taylor

Madison Thomas

Andrew Waldo

Alyssa Watson

Devon Culp

Steven Dees

Kristen Ledesma

Alma Martinez

Tre Shepard

Michael Nieves

Paiton Newton

Lilly Hernandez

Marshall Brinkley

Lacy Reynolds and Leah White

2009-2010 Who’s Who Among Cei Students

Madison Thomas, an eighth-grader who is always motivated, shares that the program has helped her with fractions in her eighth grade math class.

In Tre’s own words – “I am OK with my life. It’s good Mrs. Beavers put me in CEI lab. It’s fun to be in here, and I love that she put me in the math side.“

Andrew Waldo, a seventh-grader, says that the first day he started on the MLS program, he was struggling to find the answers. Now, he says he is doing so well that he made 17 100’s in one week. He shared that the lowest grade he has made was 80 and that MLS has really helped his confidence in doing math.

Tre is truly an example of success in both attitude and knowledge.

Alyssa Watson is a well-organized seventh-grader who says that she has never felt confident in math before being in the MLS program. Now she feels she has the confidence she needs in order to succeed in math. Alyssa likes the fact that the program has good teaching concepts and that she can go at her own pace. Miller Heights Elementary Belton ISD, Belton, Texas Carolyn O’Bannon and Marie Hardwick, Facilitators It was a wonderful day of celebration when Miller Heights Elementary student Devon Culp, came bounding excitedly into facilitator Marie Hardwick’s lab. “Look!” exclaimed the fifth-grader, as he proudly held his latest spelling test for all to see. “I made 98. That’s never happened before! I got the bonus word right, too!” Devon has even been known to choose lesson completion over game time in the lab. It looks like his hard work paid off! A beautiful smile steals its way across his face and lights up the room at Miller Heights Elementary as Steven Dees receives praise for yet another successfully completed task in the ELS lab. “As this third-grader’s learning pace has steadily improved, “ says facilitator Marie Hardwick, “so have his attitude, self-confidence, sportsmanship, and behavior. “ How does Steven feel about his success? The smile says it all. Kristen Ledesma is a fifth-grader at Miller Heights Elementary. Kristen is in the MLS lab, and according to facilitator Carolyn O’Bannon, one of the lab’s biggest success stories. Kristen says, “I have learned a lot in CEI. I have learned how to subtract and multiply. I like CEI because it helps me. I came from being behind my class to being almost with my class. I like to be in lab more than class because lab helped me to catch up. If I was [sic] in class, I would have stayed behind. The class was going too fast for me when I didn’t take CEI. But now I can understand my problems. CEI has made it easier!! This class has given me confidence to do work. I have brought my grades up and made myself proud.” Kristen should be proud of herself! Her teacher, Mrs. Smith, says Kristen’s knowledge has increased tremendously, and she regularly contributes when in the classroom. Just before this issue of SHARE went to press, we learned that Kristen was commended for her performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. Congratulations, Kristen! Alma Martinez is enjoying her new extended vocabulary. As she told her facilitator, Marie Hardwick, “I love going to the lab because I learn a lot of new words … even big, very long, hard words.” According to Marie, Alma’s using those new words, too. “She recently warned some misbehaving peers, ‘You are irking her,’” Marie recalls. “We all enjoyed a laugh together.” Fourth-grader Tre Shepard joined the CEI Math Lab December 8, 2009. Tre came to the lab with a slight ‘What am I doing here?’ attitude. However, after excelling in his first nine lessons then mastering his first Concept Building phase with a 100, he began to realize and accept the benefits of CEI. Tre now comes to class eager to work, and he has even opted to do his lessons instead of playing games when he’s had a choice. He has completed Unit 1 and is now doing Fluency, which he loves!

Southwest Elementary Belton ISD, Belton, Texas Dixie Cope, Facilitator Michael Nieves is a fourth grade student at Southwest Elementary in Belton, Texas. He started the ELS program in September of 2009, and he exited in February of 2010 after gaining 2.4 years on the Instructional Reading portion of the Diagnostic Screening Test: Reading (DST:R), 2.1 years in Comfort Reading, and 5+ years in Reading Comprehension. Way to go, Michael! Sparta Elementary Belton ISD, Belton, Texas Samantha Taylor, Facilitator Paiton Newton began attending the CEI ELS lab at Sparta Elementary as a frustrated third grader. Throughout the year, Paiton has thrived as a student. His confidence shows through his eagerness to learn the definitions of, as he would say it, “fifth grade” words. Paiton has flourished not only academically, but also personally. “He prides himself on being a role model to the kindergarten students who attend CEI at the same time he does,” says facilitator Samantha Taylor. He encourages them by showing them how to type a capital letter using the Shift key, by giving them ‘high-fives’ when they complete a lesson, and by assisting me while I walk them back to class by quizzing them on letters he sees hanging on the walls of the hallway. Paiton has become an inspiration to me and to four kindergarten students that truly adore him.” Borger Middle School Borger ISD, Borger, Texas Megan Saxon, Facilitator Lilly Hernandez has finished the MLS program and is now working as a student aide in the lab, where she assists Lab Manager Megan Saxon. Lilly said she really enjoyed working in the program and thinks it helped her a lot with her math skills. Canadian Elementary School Canadian ISD, Canadian, Texas Sandy Poteet, Facilitator Canadian Elementary facilitator Sandy Poteet reports that although secondgrader Marshall Brinkley has only been working in the lab since March, she saw improvement in his work within a couple of weeks. His handwriting has improved, and Sandy says that Marshall is working very successfully. Colmesneil Elementary Colmesneil ISD, Colmesneil, Texas Risa Pierson, Facilitator “I love the CEI program!” exclaims Colmesneil ELS facilitator Risa Pierson. “One great reason is that it builds at-risk students’ overall reading skills. Moreover, CEI also reaches the above average learners. Students in this level are usually bored and reach a ceiling in their vocabulary. With the help of CEI’s new builtin placement mechanism [the Integrated ELS Placement Test, or Auto-Placement], these students are now being challenged and their vocabulary expanded. “Lacy Reynolds, a second-grader, and Leah White, a third-grader, are two wonderful examples of this. They started in Level I and quickly moved to Level IV. Not only did these girls keep moving up in their lessons, but they have also been recognized as Quick Pick Champs, for having Perfect Printouts, and for achieving 100% on Word Meaning Review. Lacy and Leah, I am very proud of you both!”


We Are the Champions! Robyn Irving, CEI Solutions Analyst


hen someone says, “Champions,” what comes to mind? Olympians? An old song by Queen? Wheaties, perhaps? For the students and sports fans in Cayuga, Texas, the thought is likely, “Hey, that’s us! WE are the champions!” And having won not one, but two state sports titles this year, they would certainly be correct! The Cayuga Wildcats finished first in both football and basketball for the 2009-10 season in Texas Class IA Division I competition. While there is no denying that Cayuga High School has some champion athletes and some outstanding coaches, that is not the only campus where champions are being discovered. Cayuga Elementary has a long tradition of excellence as well, and the students that work hard each day in the Essential Learning Systems (ELS) lab are becoming champion readers! Their “coach” is facilitator Tammy Mingus. One such champion student is Savannah Fitzgerald, a first-grader. She was originally routed into the lab because she seemed to struggle with oral reading. “Savannah was having difficulty decoding words,” said Ms. Mingus. “There was a look of questioning on her face (as she read), as if to ask if she had said the words correctly.” Savannah started using the ELS program in October (2009) and reportedly has made great progress. Savannah, herself, says that she likes going to the lab. “It feels good. I like to learn how to read … My grades are better … It’s getting easy!” “She is able to decode words quickly now, and the questioning look is rare now,” Ms. Mingus said. “Her confidence has really grown!” Savannah’s classroom teacher, Amy Taylor, agrees, adding, “Savannah has really improved in her reading skills. She can sound out a word much more quickly now.” Karissa Raines, a third-grader, is also finding that ‘champion’ spirit in Cayuga’s ELS lab. “Karissa struggled with reading, and because of this, she did not really enjoy reading,” Ms. Mingus commented. “However, since she has begun working in the lab this past September, Karissa has improved her level of comprehension, and she really enjoys it now. Doing Word Meaning Review has also been a great confidence booster for her.” Like Savannah, Karissa says she enjoys the lab and can tell that her reading has improved. She says that she especially likes that her classroom grades have gotten better. Karissa’s classroom teacher, Julia Poff, agrees.

Savannah Fitzgerald

Colby Glenn

“My early concerns were Karissa’s low comprehension level and her reluctance to want to read,” Ms. Poff said. “That (comprehension) has improved, and she enjoys reading more than before.” This is a victory for Karissa! Second-grader Brianna Kennon has a similar story. “Brianna struggled with reading and really lacked confidence in herself,” said Ms. Mingus. “Now, having used the ELS program since the fall of 2008, Brianna’s reading success and her self-confidence have both soared. By having greater confidence in her reading ability, (Brianna) has improved in other subjects as well, and she continues to excel during the Word Meaning Review activity.” Brianna, herself, says that she likes doing Quick Talk the best, adding that the ELS lab has “made reading fun” for her. Classroom teacher Donna Link has definitely noticed the difference in Brianna. “Brianna has grown so much over the school year,” she said. “She is a wonderful listener and puts into practice all of the strategies taught in class. I am very impressed with, and proud of, her progress…. I have high hopes for her in the grades to come!” One Cayuga student even proved himself enough of a reading champion to be exited from the lab. Second-grader Colby Glenn no longer attends the ELS lab because he eventually did so well, he was deemed not to need it any longer. “At the first of last school year (Fall 2008), Colby was having difficulties reading and decoding words,” recalled Ms. Mingus. “This frustrated him.” But a year and a half later, and after many successful ELS lessons, things had changed. “Colby gained confidence in his reading abilities, and he is no longer frustrated,” reported Ms. Mingus. “Colby strove to become a better reader, and his hard work and great improvements led to his teacher requesting that he be released from the lab in January (2010)! We are extremely proud of Colby and the excellent progress he has made! Way to go!” Yes, champions abound in the schools of Cayuga, Texas. Some of them are on the football field or the basketball court, and others are working their hearts out in the ELS lab that has produced reading champions since the fall of 1992! Reading success can translate into unlimited success in other areas of life, and that is always the goal of CEI, and of its partner schools. Gooooooo, Cayuga!

Brianna Kennon

Karisa Raines

2009-2010 Who’s Who Among Cei Students

Carson Elementary School Decatur ISD, Decatur, Texas Patti Prescott, facilitator Vanesa Cardenas is a third grade student at Carson Elementary. This is her second year in the ELS program. “My reading has gotten better, and it helps me sound out bigger words in my other classes,” says Vanesa. “I’ve learned a lot of vocabulary words and their meanings, too. I have been doing so good on my placement tests that I have been able to skip lessons I already know. Reading is fun and I love Accelerated Reader.” Vanesa is now very confident in her reading skills, and she’s building her self-esteem by doing such a great job in the CEI lab. Keep making those 100s, Vanesa!

Vanesa Cardenas

Avi Huerta

Israel Pacheco

Dru Anderson

Kayla Chavez

Dayana Pacheco

Lizet Mares

Riley Nelson

Avi Huerta is a second grade student in the ELS program at Carson Elementary in Decatur, and facilitator Patti Prescott is proud to report that Avi has made great progress. “She doesn’t have to recycle, and she never misses when she says or spells the words,” says Patti. Her classroom teacher says her fluency rate is improving also. Her self-esteem has begun to blossom this year, and she is more confident and outgoing. Avi’s hard work and success in the CEI lab have contributed toward her eagerness to read and learn.” Israel Pacheco, a third grade student at Carson Elementary, attends the CEI lab for the ELS program. He has made tremendous growth the past two years and is working his way through Level II at a rapid pace. Israel strives to always do his best with a smile on his face at all times. “He helps other students when they need help, and we appreciate his positive attitude,” says Patti.

Decatur Intermediate School Decatur ISD, Decatur, Texas Saul Quirarte, facilitator “Dru Anderson is a sixth-grader who has shown tremendous improvement over the last two years,” says Decatur Intermediate facilitator Saul Quirarte. “When he entered the program last year, he was having difficulty, but now he shows amazing results. He is almost done with the program and will be exiting it next month. Dru has improved in his self-esteem and is doing much better in Language Arts thanks to his dedication and working in CEI. “Kayla Chavez is a sixth-grader who has excelled in CEI,” continues Saul. “She worked very hard this year, giving 100% all the time. Kayla was very shy and kept to herself at the beginning of the year, but she has evolved very quickly. She recently completed the program and has exited. It was amazing to see how she zoomed through the AutoPlacement tests and occasionally worked on regular lessons to master the vocabulary.” Dayana Pacheco is a sixth-grader who has blossomed in reading this year. “We watched her self-esteem and confidence improve daily,” says Saul. “She completed the program this year. We are very proud of her accomplishments.”

Rann Elementary Decatur ISD, Decatur, Texas Erin Collins, facilitator Lizet Mares is third-grader at Rann Elementary in Decatur. This is her second year in the program. Facilitator Erin Collins reports that Lizet has become more confident during her time in the lab, which has led to her being a better student all around! “Her teachers cannot believe how much she has changed!” Erin says. “Lizet is a joy to have!” “Riley Nelson, a second-grader at Rann Elementary, is also an exemplary student,” says Erin. “He takes his studies very seriously and is a joy to have in the CEI lab. He is a very hard worker and is a wonderful example to all students at Rann. Riley has had a very successful year, and he continues to improve every day. He completes his work with pride, and his attitude is always pleasant!”


Randa Burns

Alexis Rains

Todd Grabert

Carlin Roach

De Witt Middle School De Witt Public Schools, De Witt, Arkansas Debbie English and Susan Fisher, Facilitators Randa Burns is an eighth-grader at De Witt Middle School. “I am very proud of her hard work in the CEI Literacy Lab,” Susan says. “She started on Level I, Lesson 18, and she is currently working on Level IV, Lesson 42. Randa has enjoyed taking the Auto-Placement tests, particularly when she skips multiple lessons. Her attitude is always positive when she enters the lab. I have really enjoyed watching her advance in my classroom.” “Todd Grabert has had an outstanding year working in the CEI Literacy Lab!!” Susan adds. “He started this year out working in Level II, and he is currently working in Level IV, Lesson 30. I am so proud of his accomplishments this year. He is a dedicated student, and wants to do his best at school.” Tyrus Luster is an eighth-grader at DeWitt Middle School. “He has made so much progress in his math skills this year,” says facilitator Debbie English. “I hope that by May, Tyrus will be one of the few to finish every lesson in the MLS program. Tyrus also is one of my top students on [the CEI Web-based Activity Center game] Digit’s Widgets. We have a contest every nine weeks, and Tyrus has been one of the top eighth-graders all year long.” Lacy Pike is in the eighth grade at De Witt Middle School. Susan Fisher reports that Lacy visits the Literacy Lab every day, and she excels at her work. “Lacy displays a very positive attitude, and she is determined to succeed at school,” Susan says. “When she returned to the Literacy Lab at the beginning of school, Lacy started working on Level I, Lesson 21. At this time, she is beginning Level V. Lacy has enjoyed taking the AutoPlacement tests, especially when she gets to skip multiple lessons at a time. I enjoy having her as a student in my classroom.” Alexis Rains is in the seventh grade at De Witt Middle School. When school started in August,


Creative education institute

Tyrus Luster

Dalton Strickland

Alexis was working on Level I, Lesson 30. She is currently working in Level IV, Lesson 19. “She has worked very hard in the computer lab this year, and I am extremely proud of her accomplishment, says Susan. “Alexis has enjoyed taking the Auto-Placement tests, which have enabled her to skip many lessons along the way to Level IV. Way to go Alexis!!!! Carlin Roach is an eighth-grader at DeWitt Middle School. He started working on Level I, Lesson 24, and at the time of this writing, he was working on Level IV, Lesson 24. “I am very proud of his accomplishments in the CEI Literacy Lab,” Susan says of Carlin. “He uses his time wisely, and he enjoys his time in the lab.” Carlin credits his success in the lab to the AutoPlacement component, which has allowed him to excel in his work. “Dalton Strickland is such a hard worker in my MLS lab,” says Facilitator Debbie English. “He comes in every day and starts right into working. He will complete a lesson every day, and he does not like it if he doesn’t make a 100.” Josh Whitaker is new to the CEI Literacy Lab at De Witt Middle School, but that hasn’t stopped him from making remarkable progress. “He has accomplished so much in the computer lab,” says Susan. “I am proud to let everyone know that he started taking the Placement on Level I, Lesson 3, and he is currently working on Level IV, Lesson 47. “Josh attends the lab each school day and sets a great example for my students. Although he is just in the sixth grade, his zest for learning is definitely there. He is ready to work each day and determined to do his best at school. Way to go, Josh!!!!!” Leartis Williams is an eighth-grader at DeWitt Middle School. He started out this year working on Level I, Lesson 21. “I am very proud to share with

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

Lacy Pike

Josh Whitaker

Leartis Williams

your readers that Leartis completed Level II, Level III, Level IV, Level V, and Level VI,” Susan exclaims. “He worked very hard in the computer lab to accomplish this task.” “Leartis thinks that the Auto-Placement tests are great,” Susan says. “They enabled him to be successful in my classroom. He was rewarded with several free days, but with several weeks left in the first semester, he would log onto the ELS Player, go to Individual Tasks, and review some of the lessons that he skipped. He will also be rewarded with a certificate and a Subway card at the last awards assembly in May. Way to go, Leartis!!!!!!” Susan Fisher doesn’t reserve her praise for her students only.... I just wanted to share with you and the staff at CEI how much I appreciate all the help that I have received the last four years. Robyn Irving is simply wonderful; she is one of the reasons we have had so much success in my computer lab. She is always ready to help me with any problem I have. The support staff is also wonderful!!! Whenever I have called, they have helped me work through my problem. Thanks again, Susan Fisher CEI Literacy Lab Facilitator De Witt Middle School

2009-2010 Who’s Who Among Cei Students

Joanna De Jesus

Lizzett Moreno

Emeterio Lopez

Elizabeth Parra

Harwell Middle School Edinburg CISD, Edinburg, Texas Frances Whitworth, Facilitator Joanna De Jesus is in the self-contained unit at Harwell Middle School. “After I tested her in September, I told the teachers that they might want to reconsider placement,” Frances shares. “Joanna was then placed in a Resource English Language Arts (ELA) classroom! She is doing great!” “I am thankful to the Harwell CEI program because it has helped me in many ways,” Joanna says. “I have learned to write cursive. I have also learned the vowels, which has helped me to become a better reader. Ms. Whitworth is a great teacher and because of her and CEI I know I can become a better student every day.” Frances calls Emeterio Lopez “an exceptional student.” He could not read a single word when he came to CEI. He struggled, but then suddenly, everything started coming together. It was a beautiful event in his life. Emeterio, a victim of an accident in which he was run over by a tractor, has struggled due to damaged eyesight caused by the accident. He touches Frances’ heart, and she wants to see him eventually go to college. “CEI has helped me to read and sound out words,” Emeterio says. “When I got here at Harwell Middle School I thought that I would not be able to read. I went to class and Mrs. Whitworth told me to read a few words. I couldn’t read ‘was.’ After I got on the computer, I was able. Mrs. Whitworth helped me to read.” “When he was in the sixth grade, Nicanor Gauna attended a Saturday tutorial class that I taught,” Frances remembers. “During the first Saturday session, I noticed that Nick was substituting words and struggling with decoding. He was very frustrated and embarrassed. After class, I asked him if he had ever been in CEI, and I told him that he would be a perfect candidate for my class. He went home and told his mother, and according to his mom, he spent the rest of the day on the couch crying. “Nick has made so much progress. It may not show on his test scores, but the gains in self-confidence have been terrific! Nick is very smart and will continue to do well in all his endeavors.”

Nicanor Gauna

Spencer Rawlings

“I think CEI has helped me with my dyslexia and with words that I can’t comprehend.” Nick says. “I have enjoyed the three years that I have been with this teacher.” “Milena Guizar was placed in my CEI lab during her sixth grade year,” Frances recalls. “Her English Language Arts (ELA) teacher felt that the lab would help improve her English. She was having a difficult time with English vowel sounds and English vocabulary. With the help of ELS, Milena was able to pass the Reading TAKS.” “In CEI, I have learned how to read better without pausing,” Milena says. “CEI has helped me to understand hard words and how to spell words. CEI has helped me on my writing and on my reading.” “Lizzett Moreno came to Harwell this year,” Frances says. “She was very shy and not assured of herself when she read. She hesitated and looked at us when she read. “I can now look at her as she comes into the lab with a bounce in her step. She seems happier and more confident in her reading. Her ability to retain information has improved. She is a great student to have in the lab.” “CEI has helped me to say words right, Lizzett says. “Also, it helps with cursive, because in elementary, I didn’t finish doing all the words in capital letters. But I keep on going so I can do my best.“ Elizabeth Parra was placed in CEI by her ELA teacher, who was frustrated with her inability to produce sounds in English or Spanish. “She had such a difficult time with English vocabulary. Frances recalls. “Elizabeth is such a hard worker, and at the end of the year, she almost passed the reading TAKS test. Her sixth-grade teacher was so proud of her.”

Milena Guizar

Mark Reyna

Rodrigo Trujillo

“CEI has helped me in school a lot,” Spencer says. “I learn new words and how to spell them. It also has helped me with my reading. I get confused with the letters and words, so I cannot read as fast and well as other students. I am also in speech and I cannot say words right, but this has helped me to say the words right. I am improving my skills and getting better in reading. I was not passing the tests in the past, but CEI has helped me to pass those tests. “It may not be fun, but it helps. You will see improvement, and you will like reading better. I learned that this class can help, and you will be reading better … but you have to follow the rules and do the work to get better. I am almost finished, and it helped. It helped me, and it can help you.” Frances says, “I love Spencer’s comment, ‘It may not be fun but it helps. You have to follow the rules and do the work to get better.’ What a student! I wish every student had his wisdom and discipline.” “CEI helps me spell and helps me read the words,” says Harwell student Mark Reyna. “I do the lessons on the computer, and they help me spell the words on the Word Building Worksheet. I do the words in cursive on the Copy-Write sheet. I have been improving with my lessons because she [Frances Whitworth] is a good teacher. Now I do a better job with my lessons.” Rodrigo Trujillo started in CEI as a sixthgrader. “He could not read a single word,” Frances recalls. “He scored a 0.0 on the DST:R in comprehension.

“CEI has helped me a lot and words I did not know,” Elizabeth says. “It helps my spelling words. It has helped me pass my exams and more things. CEI has helped me spell and learn more.”

“Rodrigo has developed an amazing memory. He still struggles with writing and reading, but he has come such a long way. He is the hardest-working student that I have ever worked with. His dyslexia is probably the most severe I have seen in all my years in CEI. This young man has my greatest admiration, and I know that in spite of his struggles, he will be an amazingly responsible adult. (My compliments are not thrown around easily!)”

“Spencer Rawlings is an amazing student!“ Frances says. “He has made the A or A/B honor roll every six weeks this year. He will complete the ELS program before the end of the semester. This does not happen often!”

“CEI has helped me to learn how to read and spell words, to write, to read chapter books, and to write a story,” Rodrigo says. “I am the best student who knows how to read, to write, and to spell … and to help people to be workers and to know everything!”


Lynsey Lamkin

Trace Robinson

Aaron K.

Katie A.

Era Elementary Era ISD, Era, TX Betti Jo Weber, Facilitator Lynsey Lamkin is a kindergarten student at Era Elementary. She began the year struggling with Letter Recognition, but now she excels in ELS. Facilitator Betti Jo Weber says, “Her positive attitude is contagious!” Betti Jo and Lynsey’s classroom teacher, Cheryl Klutschkowski, are so proud of her desire to learn. Trace Robinson is a third-grader at Era Elementary. His self esteem and confidence in reading has greatly improved. Betti Jo reports that Trace has tackled the challenge of his CopyWrite lessons and done amazingly well! Betti Jo and Trace’s classroom teacher, Lesia Walther, are thrilled with Trace’s continued success! Dell Pickett Elementary Georgetown ISD, Georgetown, Texas Leslie Vasquez, facilitator Dell Pickett Elementary is proud to honor Leslie Vazquez’s fourth grade Bilingual class for its students’ excellent English acquisition using the CEI program. “It’s amazing watching the students evolve from the first time they use the CEI program till now,” Leslie says. “The have accomplished so much academically and personally. They love the program and notice the difference in their vocabulary, spelling, and writing expressions.” Briseida Navarro has been working on the ELS program at Dell Pickett for two years. She started in Level I, and she finished her first year in Level II. This year, she started in Level II, and now she is working in Level IV. Her academic improvement and her English acquisition are excellent. She has made the honor roll every nine weeks, a testimony of her accomplishments. This is what Briseida thinks about CEI…. CEI is a fun program where you learn new words. What I like most about CEI is when it says the word; it shows you the picture, too. This helps me understand the meaning of the word better. CEI helps my spelling … even my teacher notices the difference. She said that I am getting better. When I write and I don’t


Creative education institute

Briseida Navarro

Meghan R.

know the how to spell a word, I remember how the computer spells it out. I love the program! Grady School Grady ISD, Lenorah, Texas Peggy Hale, Facilitator “It is very hard to choose just one student to brag about in my ELS classes,” writes Grady School facilitator Peggy Hale, “but if I had to pick only one, it would have to be Millie. With her sunny disposition and hunger for learning she is truly a star! Milagros Rodriguez came to Grady School in the fall of 2008 from Mexico. She was in the seventh grade, and her native language is Spanish; she could neither speak nor read English. “On September 30, 2008, Millie started her first ELS lesson — Level I, Lesson 1 — using the Gray B Sequence. Presently, she is working on Gold C and just started Level IV! In less than two years, she has come from speaking no English to speaking our language fluently. Usually, she can tell me both the definition and sentence to the words in her Mastery Lessons. “Today, Millie is passing in all classes. Her favorite pastime is reading novels. She reads many Accelerated Reader books, and she always passes the tests, making 90 and 100 on every one of them. I am honored to have Millie as my student!” Incarnation School Chicago, Illinois Cindy Mortimer, Facilitator Incarnation School facilitator Cindy Mortimer shares the accomplishments of the following students…. “Katie A., a third grade student, started the ELS program when she was in first grade,” Cindy shares. “She has made great strides, and she is already on Level III, Lesson 16. “The extraordinary thing about Katie is her amazing ability to recall the Copy-Write sentences almost verbatim when she is doing Word Meaning Review! And she rarely needs to recycle! This program is a fantastic tool for her and all our students! “One of our fourth grade students, Aaron K., is up to Level II, Lesson 15,” Cindy writes. “This is only

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

Milagros Rodriguez

Haley S.

Dara S.

his second year at our school; he transferred in last year. Already, we are seeing him make great strides. “ELS is an excellent tool, since Aaron is a visual learner, and he learns best through words represented with pictures. He is able to successfully recall the meanings and spellings of the word lists through reinforcing his visual and auditory processing skills. ELS also helps him to stay focused and to achieve success, which is a great confidence builder. “Meghan R., a third grade student, started our ELS program when she was in first grade,” Cindy reports. “She is a steady worker and is now on Level II, Lesson 10. “Meghan responds well to the visual and auditory elements in the ELS program. There are times when she recycles a lesson, but it is the reinforcement that she needs. Repetition is a wonderful part of this program. The opportunity to have all the students on a program that is suited for them is awesome! “One of our sixth grade students, Haley S., is now a graduate of ELS,” Cindy says. “She was in second grade when we started our ELS program, and she completed the program this year. “ELS helped to teach Haley how to maintain her focus, while also giving her the ‘break in the action’ she needed from time to time. Haley was very enthusiastic about coming in to do her best. It’s been a wonderful experience for the facilitators to watch her habits change over the years, and it is in great part due to ELS. ”Our seventh grade student, Dara S., is also a graduate of ELS,” Cindy writes. “She was in third grade when we started our ELS program, and she finished this year. “One special thing about Dara is that she is hearingimpaired, and she wears cochlear implants in both ears. She uses an FM device that connects to the computer in place of headphones. She is then able to hear through her implants. Her parents and we believe that ELS was a very helpful tool for her. It helped keep her on level with vocabulary, and it helped with pronunciation. We are very proud of her hard work!”

2009-2010 Who’s Who Among Cei Students

Logan Clark

Jonathan Wolverton

Tariq Carpenter

Michelle Ayala

Cavazos Elementary School Killeen ISD, Nolanville, Texas Jamie Hairston, Facilitator “Logan Clark started out the year frustrated and lacking confidence in himself as a learner.,” Jamie Hairston writes. “Since being in CEI, his grades have improved, his attitude towards school has improved, and his confidence has shot up dramatically. “Logan works hard on all of his lessons,” Jamie shares. “He strives for success everyday with a cheerful smile. He is the example of how CEI can help a student learn and grow!” “He isn’t afraid to try anything any more,” reports Logan’s first grade teacher, Hali James. “He’s been saying, ‘You have to believe in yourself … Don’t give up … I can do it.’ He’s a completely different student now. He encourages others, and he’s now trying to boost their confidence with his encouraging words.” Willow Springs Elementary School Killeen ISD, Killeen, Texas Sharon Criswell, Facilitator Tariq Carpenter, a fifth-grader at Willow Springs, successfully completed the entire Mathematical Learning Systems program in less than two years! He began working in the MLS lab as a fourth-grader, and by January of his fifth grade year, he exited the program on grade level. Tariq’s math grade reflects this improvement to grade-level work. Facilitator Sharon Criswell was especially proud of his dedication in the lab, commenting, “He has been an enthusiastic, committed, and involved learner in the lab process.” Tariq, what an attitude! Nicholas Johnson is a Willow Springs Bluejay with reason to celebrate. Nicholas is another of facilitator Sharon Criswell’s students to complete the Mathematical Learning Systems program in less than two years. He started attending the lab as a fourth-grader, and when he finished earlier this year, he was working above grade level! Sharon describes Nicholas as “a quiet student, who works toward the goal set before him. He really maximized his time-on-task to his advantage.” Nicholas, congratulations on a job well done!

Nicholas Johnson

Joanna Martinez

Z’bonet Thomas began attending the Willow Springs math lab in October 2007 when she was in the fourth grade. Since then, she has completed 165 lessons on the MLS program. Z’bonet has worked so hard that she is back up to grade level and was even able to exit the program on February 23, 2010. Facilitator Sharon Criswell will miss her. “She has had an excellent attitude, working with confidence and determination for a better understanding in each area.” CEI celebrates Z’bonet’s personal success in the CEI math lab. January 28, 2010, was an exciting day for fourth grader Jonathan Wolverton. In less than five months in the Mathematical Learning Systems lab at Willow Springs Elementary, he completed all of the lessons he needed to fill his learning gaps! Every day Jonathan attended the lab, he was highly motivated and full of excitement. That enthusiasm carried over to his classroom as well. He had an 85 for his semester math grade. “High-fives” to Jonathan for his success in the CEI math lab! Katherine Tarver Elementary Laredo ISD, Laredo, Texas Esmeralda Castaneda, Facilitator “Michelle Ayala started the 2009-2010 school year extremely dependent on my assistance,” says Michelle’s kindergarten teacher, Ms. Martinez. “It was very difficult for her to do work independently without using the words, ‘I can’t do it teacher,’ or ‘Can you do it for me?’ I would give an assignment, and she was sure to be there by my side asking for assistance on a daily basis. “As the school year has gone by and Michelle has been attending CEI lab, I have observed a tremendous change in her. She no longer needs me to tell her step by step what to do or how to do it. She works independently on all assignments and has been receiving perfect scores on her weekly sight word/spelling tests. She started the school year struggling in reading, and she has blossomed into an independent student. I truly believe that because of the CEI lab and the assistance of Ms. Castaneda, she has been able to develop, and she’s now able to work effectively at grade level. I look forward to seeing future progress in Michelle and in all students who attend CEI.”

Z’bonet Thomas

Rebecca Paredes

Tarver Elementary Students

Joanna Martinez, a kindergarten student at Tarver Elementary, started the ELS Program in September of 2009. Facilitator Esmeralda Castaneda says, “As the facilitator of the CEI lab, I have seen great growth in Joanna’s word recognition and fluency skills. We have all seen that Joanna gives 100% effort in the lab. She is always eager to advance in her lessons. Joanna’s classroom teacher, Ms. Gutierrez, says, “Joanna has improved greatly in her writing and spelling since she started CEI.” Joanna’s way of thinking is, “The more lessons I work on, the more words I learn.” Tarver Elementary knows Joanna will continue to progress and her accomplishments will increase! Rebecca Paredes is a kindergarten student at Tarver Elementary, and she has attended the CEI lab on a daily basis since the beginning of the school year. “Since beginning in the lab, her confidence has increased, and she is more sociable in the classroom,” says Esmeralda. “Rebecca now has comprehension skills not only in her reading class, but also in many different subjects. She’s not scared to raise her hand and speak in front of her peers. Rebecca now has a positive attitude that I know will only lead to academic success. “This year at Tarver Elementary, we have done something innovative…. We have invited our Pre-K students to join the CEI lab,” says Ms. Castaneda. “I would like to honor these students for their great success in the lab. They have learned that not only do the letters have sounds, but also that if you put the sounds together they make words! “The first day of class, I saw that the students were hesitant to touch the computers. Now, you see the students engaged in learning by Looking, Listening, Seeing, and Saying the words. They come into the lab every morning ready to start, and they end the class period not wanting to go back to their classrooms. “As the facilitator of the CEI lab, I know that Mark Eliff, Anyssa Garza, Jacob Mendoza, Pauloangel Garza, Sinai Martinez, and Ruben Paredes will be great achievers in the future!”


Leakey Elementary Leakey ISD, Leakey, Texas Stephanie DeLeon, facilitator Skyler Blalock is a second grade student who has made great strides in the CEI lab. Over the past three years, facilitator Stephanie DeLeon has seen Skyler grow in maturity and show outstanding improvement in vocabulary, reading, spelling, and handwriting skills. With the new Auto-Placement feature, Skyler has been able to advance to Level II, which excites him tremendously! Congratulations Skyler. Keep up the good work! Skyler Blalock

Manchester Academy Yazoo City, Mississippi Jodi Savery, Facilitator When Lynell Campbell started in the ELS lab at Manchester Academy, she did not know her sounds and letters. She began the year in Letter Recognition and has progessed to ELS. “Remarkable” is one word used to describe her progress. Lab facilitator Jodi Savery and Lynell’s Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Douglas Williams, said that Lynell’s enthusiasm for learning to read has been very exciting. They are extremely proud of the advancements that she has made. Lynell Campbell

Kindergarten student Jacob Scott started Letter Recognition at Manchester Academy in the fall, and he began ELS only one month later. Jacob passed every Placement test with ease. Jodi Savery calls Jacob “an enthusiastic learner,” saying that he “even encourages the other students to do their best.” Recently, he read a book to his class and took his first Accelerated Reader test in the library. His teachers are very proud of his progress. Jernigan Williams, a third-grader at Manchester Academy, is always smiling when he enters the ELS lab. He works diligently to complete his lessons, and then he immediately goes to the Creative Word Searches on the CEI Web-based Activity Center (WAC).

Jacob Scott

Facilitator Jodi Savery says,“ Level II, Lesson 8 has been Jernigan’s favorite lesson to date. He loves being outdoors and watching wildlife. Anytime the word ‘deer’ popped up, he shouted it out for all of the students to hear. It was exciting to see such enthusiasm and joy.” High School Students of McAllen ISD McAllen, Texas Joy Ramirez, Facilitator

Jernigan Williams

Lamar Academy (also known as Options High School) Eighth-grader Abel Gomez boasts of being the most improved of the eighth-graders at Options. He works independently, and he has learned to persevere. He has worked from Level I to Level III this year. English is not his first language, but he has learned to speak with extremely clear diction. A freshman at Options, Rogelio Leal is the most improved student at this campus. He is also the most positive, focusing on what can be accomplished with his life and ignoring the negatives. He will be the first in his family to graduate, and he plans to go to college.

Dominique Cavazos


Creative education institute

Heather Navarro, also an eighth-grader at Options, can boast of having the best, neatest Copy-Write of all four campuses. Ms. Ramirez calls her the “Queen of Copy-Write.” She started the year on Level I, and she is almost finished with Level III. SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

McAllen High School Adan Garcia, a freshman at McAllen High School, is the most improved student of the four high school campuses. He accomplishes the three goals set for students in this lab: Finish the recommended number of Shares per week, keep the Folder organized, and have Fun with sensory integration. Adan is also extremely strong in organizational skills. Jacob Poteze, also a freshman at McAllen High, has passed his TAKS reading for the first time. He is extremely excited for what CEI has helped him achieve.

Memorial High School Joy Ramirez reports that Lindsey Blackwell, a freshman at Memorial, has shown the most consistent progress of anyone on all four campuses. Lindsey is also proud that she was just named a varsity cheerleader for Memorial! She is a steady worker, and gets the job done right! Ramiro Garza started the year on Level II and is now on Level IV. The biggest improvement in Ramiro has been in his attitude. CEI has drastically changed his selfesteem, making him more confident and able to achieve more than he has ever done. Amanda Saenz is a freshman at Memorial. She started the year on Level III, and she has just completed all six levels of ELS. She is passing all of her classes, and she credits her time in CEI to that feat.

Nikki Rowe High School Gabriel Armendariz, a freshman at Nikki Rowe, has finished all six levels of ELS. He started the year on Level II, Lesson 7. He is now reviewing lessons, focusing on vocabulary in particular. Thanks to the new Auto-Placement feature, freshman Rolando Cavazos has finished all six levels of ELS in record time. He started this year on Level II, Lesson 4, and he finished Level VI in February. He is now reviewing all vocabulary. Angel Rodriguez, a freshman at Nikki Rowe, started this year on Level II, Lesson 10, and is already on Level IV, Lesson 31. He feels his greatest help has come with his understanding of English. Sandi Torres, a junior at Nikki Rowe, started this year on Level IV. She was commended on her English TAKS, and she gives the credit to her time in the CEI lab. She also displays an excellent attitude in class!

Sanchez Elementary School McAllen ISD, McAllen, Texas Hortencia Valdez, Facilitator Dominique Cavazos, a fifth-grader at Sanchez Elementary, didn’t have the best attitude when the school year started, but since she’s been in the ELS lab, her attitude has done a 180. In fact, her improved attitude has been contagious, and her entire class is a much more positive group! Dominique was the first student in the lab to reach Level II, and she believes she’ll be the first to reach Level III! Keep up the great work, Dominique!

2009-2010 Who’s Who Among Cei Students

Abel Gomez

Rogelio Leal

Heather Navarro

Adan Garcia

Jacob Poteze

Lindsey Blackwell

Ramiro Garza

Amanda Saenz

Gabriel Armendariz

Rolando Cavazos

Angel Rodriguez

Sandi Torres

Rebekah Bailey

Colin Hartman

Colin Hartman

McCamey Primary School McCamey ISD, McCamey, Texas Virginia Fuentes, Facilitator Justin Morales (NOT PICTURED) is a kindergarten student at McCamey Primary School. This is Justin’s first year of school; he didn’t attend Pre-K. At the beginning of school, Justin had a lot to learn. He had to learn to work and play with other children his age. Listening, staying in his chair, and following instructions were part of Justin’s challenges. He also had to learn to write his name. When Justin started coming to the ELS lab, he was excited to work on a computer. In the lab, he had to learn to type his own name. With help, he has learned to type his name and password, to press Enter, and to click on a picture and begin a lesson. Justin is very good about “talking aloud.” He repeats his letters, letter sounds, and everything Tyler (Thorsen, the voice of ELS) is saying. He especially gets excited when he hears “Good work” or “That’s right.” Justin’s classroom teacher, Mrs. Dede Allen, has seen a great improvement. Justin has learned to write his name, and he is saying and recognizing his letters and letter sounds. Justin is excited and

eager to learn. His behavior, self-esteem, and academic abilities have increased tremendously. Justin has become a good student, and we are very proud of him. North Delta School Batesville, Mississippi Vickie Hartman, Facilitator Rebekah Bailey, a kindergarten student at North Delta, is making outstanding progress in the ELS program. She works diligently, never misses any words, reads the Fluency Passages effortlessly and never recycles. ELS facilitator Vickie Hartman, predicts, “Rebekah will finish Level I before school is out for the summer. She is a well-rounded, gifted student, motivated to do her best. She will probably finish all six levels of ELS in record time!” Colin Hartman finished the six levels of ELS on November 3, 2009, just 11 weeks after beginning the second grade. He has participated in the ELS program since he was in kindergarten. Colin does quick and accurate work, motivating the other students to do the same. Vickie Hartman, who is not only the ELS facilitator, but also Colin’s mother, says, “He is the first student at NDS to complete the program. I am

extremely proud of his accomplishments and all of the associated skills that accompany it.” Excell Academy Adult Learning Center San Elizario ISD, San Elizario, Texas Nick Parga, Facilitator Bertha Lozoya, administrator at Excell, shared this letter from student Paula Regalado… My name is Paula Regalado, and I attend ELS classes at Excell Academy Adult Learning Center in El Paso, Texas. I feel emotionally great and very happy with myself because I accomplished my first goal: mastering my first three CEI lessons. I feel stronger and confident I can learn more. Before this happened to me, I did not want to continue the English class, but this great experience motivated me to keep coming. I feel I’m going ahead and I don’t want to let a day out of school pass. Now, I’m more patient listening to English, and I also pay more attention to catch any word the teacher tells me. I notice my progress every week during my spelling and dictation test. I have brought up my grades, and also I’ve started talking more in class. It’s a huge difference now! Thanks to my teacher, to the San Elizario Adult Education Program, and to CEI for this opportunity.


We also received a letter from another Excell student, José Francisco Chávez…. Hi! My name is José Francisco Chávez. I’m from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. I moved to El Paso, TX when I was 27 years old. Coming to a foreign country, the first concern I had was the language. A few days after I got to El Paso, my mother got sick; I took her to the hospital, and the first barrier I found was the language. All the hospital staff spoke only English. Trying to translate word by word to explain what happened to my mom was horrible. Because of this, I have been trying to learn more English. Now, I’m studying at San Elizario Adult program. They have the CEI program to support the ESL classes. I have attended school for three months, and I can understand more. I have increased my writing ability 50%. I feel proud of myself! This accomplishment motivates me to continue my education. My other challenges are to get my GED and get a better job. Somebody told me: This [America] is the place of the opportunities; go for them! That is exactly what I’m doing. Hueco Elementary Socorro ISD, El Paso, Texas Karen Cooper, Facilitator Hueco Elementary facilitator Karen Cooper shares the successes of her students…. Dylan Blodgett began working in the ELS lab two years ago. He is in fifth grade and is, in my eyes, an excellent example of a true success story. He worked diligently to master benchmark testing, and as a result, his scores skyrocketed … and so did his confidence. His teachers are very pleased with his hard work, and they feel confident that he will do great on the TAKS. Dylan has grown — both academically and personally — into an outstanding student … one who really shines. I enjoy seeing him display this ‘I can do it’ attitude. Working in the ELS lab has contributed a great deal towards his success. Victoria Carrillo and Jasiri Chavez are first grade students at Hueco Elementary. Both girls have made superb progress throughout the school year. Victoria came to me as a very shy and timid young lady. She has since blossomed into a more outgoing individual. The credit must be given to her good friend and companion Jasiri. She and Victoria sit next to each other in lab and work on the lessons together. As I observe them working together, I can feel the smile on my face; it gives me great pleasure to hear them read aloud to one another. Both girls have become better readers and can write sentences. What an accomplishment. Thanks, CEI! Louie Cera is a fifth-grader in his second year in the ELS program. I asked Louie what he liked best about the program he said, “The ELS program helped me learn more words, and I even know the definition for most of them.” His reading fluency has improved greatly. He also likes finishing his lessons so that he can do math problems with Digit [in MLS]. Nathalie Cerda, a fifth-grader, has also worked on the ELS program for two consecutive years. When I asked Nathalie what she likes most about the program she said, “I like coming to lab because I get to work on the computer, and I have also learned a lot of new words and how to pronounce them correctly.” Nathalie has displayed tremendous growth personally and academically. Her reading and writing skills have improved greatly, and so has her confidence. Another fifth-grader, Nayeli Lara loves to work on the computer, especially with Digit. When I first began working with Nayeli, I noticed that she was a very shy, soft-spoken young girl. Two years have passed, and I can see the overall progress Nayeli has made in her reading and writing skills. I must say that the ELS program helped jump-start her success. She is no longer shy, and she has blossomed into a more outgoing, confident individual.


Creative education institute

First-graders Joseph Lopez and Octavio Duarte have done exceptionally well in the CEI lab. They struggled at the beginning of the school year, trying to understand how the program worked, especially on a computer. It has been a challenging year for both of them. However, the enthusiasm I see in both of them when they come to lab will, in the long run, enable them to become better readers. Joseph and Octavio both say, “I like reading on the computer!” I have to agree with them …. Reading with the aid of a computer is a lot of fun! Christopher Mendoza and Isea Alvarez are also first-graders. I am happy to say that their first year in the CEI lab was a successful one. Both Christopher and Isea began the program as non-readers. At times, I could see their discouragement, but they persevered. Both of them are diligent workers who aim high to improve their reading and vocabulary skills. I recently asked their teacher, Ms. Gomez, how they were doing in class; she says, “I am so proud of them because they are both able to read! Christopher is reading 59 words per minute, and Isea hit his goal of 60 words per minute.” Good Job Christopher and Isea! First-graders Luis Carlos Ornelas and Raymundo Torres are participating in their first year of the CEI program. When they began ELS, I noticed that they were having some difficulty reading, but hroughout the school year, both boys have shown tremendous improvement towards reaching their goals. Their teacher, Ms. Remy, was thrilled to say, “Luis Carlos has shown great improvement in reading fluency…. He can now read 29 words per minute. Raymundo has also reached a goal of 30 words per minute.” I am proud to say that ELS played a great role in their accomplishments. Armando Rojas is a fifth-grader who began working on the ELS program two years ago. He has shown definite progress as he has moved from one lesson to another. Armando is a challenger; he likes to compete with his peers when they are doing Copy-Write or the See Say task. I believe it helps build his self-confidence. I am pleased to see the enthusiasm he has for learning each time he comes to lab. When I asked Armando what he liked best about the ELS program, he said, “It has helped me learn and connect more words together and become a better reader.“ Fifth-grader Jacob Zapata came to our campus in late October. He is a bilingual student, and the transition from Spanish to English has been difficult. However, Jacob is showing progress as he maneuvers his way through each lesson. The phonics aspect of the program has helped him tremendously; he is speaking English with more ease. He is a true success story! His determination has paid off, and it is reflected in his work in the lab. I am very proud of him and his accomplishments. Way to go Jacob! R.D. Martinez Elementary Sharyland ISD, Mission, Texas Linda Garcia and Nora Michalk, Facilitators “We are very proud of our newest group!” report facilitators Linda Garcia and Nora Michalk. “They are first-graders who are English Language Learners. When they first came, they zipped right through Letter Recognition, and now they are working in ELS and making great progress! “They love the program and are learning more quickly than our regular first grade group. They are enthusiastic and very focused, and they love coming to class. At the rate they are going, we look forward to seeing them master the English language soon!” John H. Shary Elementary Sharyland ISD, Sharyland, Texas Sandra Bagwell, Facilitator Second-grader Paul Carver has read over 150 books this year. He has been in CEI for two years and has shown tremendous improvement in Reading. Way to go, Paul!

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

Just like Michelangelo designing a masterpiece, firstgrader Miguel Angel Gonzalez loves reading and has read over 200 books! Victory for first-grader Victoria Hocott! She has met her goal this year in Reading, having read over 200 books this school year. Second-grader Kate Rodriguez has read over 150 books this year. She loves reading to new ESL students; she is not shy to translate to them in Spanish, and she is a great role model for all of us. First-grader Rocky Torres has been working hard in the CEI lab this year. He has mastered all his sight words. He inspires everyone with the phrase he uses before getting started, “Come on Baby, let’s go!” St. Michael School Orland Park, Illinois Sharon Grasso, facilitator Learning styles expert Rita Dunn once said; “If the child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must teach in the way the child learns.” This is exactly the case with Julianna D. She is a fourth-grader who has gone through ELS Levels II, III, and IV this year. Julianna is a hard worker who always comes to the lab motivated and ready to work. This is her second year in the lab, and she is soaring like an eagle. Her reading and comprehension have increased immensely. She is kind and supportive to the other students. The ELS program has given her the self-confidence needed to succeed in the classroom. Awesome job, Julianna! Joseph L. is a fourth-grader at St. Michael School. This is his second year in the ELS lab. He always comes to class cheerful and motivated to work. He is currently on Level III. Throughout his time in the ELS lab, teachers have commented on his improvement in spelling, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Joseph loves to see his good scores at the end of a lesson, and he looks forward to collecting “Awesome!” and “Caught Talking” cards. Once a month, he uses his cards to get a prize from the treasure chest. Congratulations to Joseph! Elizabeth M., a fourth-grader at St. Michael School, has been in the CEI lab for two years. She works hard to complete her Red C lessons in two days. She has a smile on her face from the minute she comes into the lab. The ELS program has helped Elizabeth to stay focused in the classroom, where there are many distractions. Her reading teacher has commented on the improvement in her reading ability and comprehension. Elizabeth is always willing to keep trying until she gets it right. She is a delight to have in the lab and loves to save up her “Awesome!” and “Caught Talking” cards for a trip to the treasure chest! Matthew S. is in third grade at St. Michael School. He is a hard-working student with a desire to learn. Lacking in good communication and reading skills because English is not his first language, Matthew has risen to the challenge. Facilitator Sharon Grasso says, “Matthew is now in his second year of ELS, and I have seen a huge growth in his comprehension, reading ability, and use of vocabulary. The program has given Matthew the self-esteem he needs to succeed in all his classes. The motivational rewards have kept Matthew focused and on track to complete his lessons in two days.” Matthew says, “I have learned a lot of new words in ELS, and it is really fun!” Keep up the good work, Matthew! St. Nicholas of Tolentine School Chicago, Illinois Donna Radtke, Facilitator “Ralph Arrellano came to us in fifth grade,“ says St. Nicholas facilitator Donna Radtke. “His reading level

2009-2010 Who’s Who Among Cei Students

José Francisco Chávez

Dylan Blodgett

Victoria Carrillo


Louie Cera

Nathalie Cerda

Nayeli Lara

Joseph Lopez

Octavio Duarte

Christopher Mendoza

Isea Alvarez

Luis Carlos Ornelas

Raymundo Torres

Armando Rojas

Jacob Zapata



Miguel Angel Gonzalez

Victoria Hocott

Kate Rodriguez

Rocky Torres

Julianna D.

Joseph L.

Elizabeth M.

Matthew S.

Ralph Arrellano



DonCarlos Ortega

Ian Jodzio

J.T. Bergner

Peyton Fitzgerald

Anna Shramek

Maddie Shramek

Tessa Wynthein

was below average for his age. He has shown significant improvement over the two years he has been with us. Ralph is a self-directed learner in all subjects, but his absolute favorite is science. “Ralph is a very curious, insightful, generous, sensitive, and self-motivated student. He is a voracious reader whose favorite book is Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life is Now. Ralph is definitely making the best out of his life now, and we are sure he will continue to reach for the stars!” Sterling City Sterling City ISD, Sterling City, Texas Lisa Trevino and Denise Parham, Facilitators Sterling City MLS facilitator Lisa Trevino shares the following about one of her remarkable students…. Hello from Sterling City ISD! What an honor it is to tell you about one of our students. We are a small school, and we’re new to CEI. We have MLS and ELS in our lab, and we work with about 36 students throughout the day. As anyone who works with children knows, it is a great joy to see the “light” turn on … when they finally understand something. “One of our students, Andrea, has been working hard to understand double-digit multiplication. She struggled to understand how to keep up with the carrying and place value. Trying to remember to multiply then add was hard for her. When she first came to us for math, Andrea would say, “I can’t do this. I keep getting lost!’ She had very little confidence in her multiplication abilities. With the help of the MLS program, Mrs. Parham and me, Andrea could finally multiply double digits. We used a dry erase board so that she could carry her digits and then erase them when she was ready to work the next number. By the time she had finished the lesson, Andrea was flying through doubledigit multiplication. During a math class, the teacher asked another student to work the problem “25x25” on the board. He got up and did his best, but he missed the problem. Then, Andrea raised her hand and volunteered to work the problem. She walked up to the board with confidence and worked the problem correctly. The teacher praised her for her work, and Andrea said with a smile, “I learned how to do that in CEI.” What a wonderful feeling to know that a child is able to carry his or her CEI training into the classroom and feel self-assured. I believe that CEI is a wonderful tool to use for the children who need more help. They learn that they really can do the work like the rest of the class. Every child has the ability to learn, just in different ways. CEI gives the ability to see the work in different ways using all the senses. I have really enjoyed teaching with CEI programs.


Creative education institute

Texhoma Elementary Texhoma ISD, Texhoma, Texas Barbara Limas, Facilitator Lab Manager Barbara Limas is especially proud of her third grade ELS students! All of these students are new to the lab this year, and they’ve have made great progress on ELS and in their reading comprehension scores. DonCarlos Ortega commented that he likes ELS. “It helps me learn because it’s not like homework that I have to write down.” He really enjoys working on the computer. At the beginning of this school year, DonCarlos tested on the Scholastic Reading Inventory as a beginning reader. In early March, he tested at 194 … almost second grade level. Barbara is very excited about his success this year. The Pine School Stuart, Florida Debbi Schuster, Facilitator “Ian Jodzio came to our ELS Lab as a struggling firstgrader,” shares facilitator Debbi Schuster. ”He worked steadily, making gradual progress during his first two years in the lab, but he has really hit his stride this year! He comes to the lab three mornings a week before school, along with his regularly-scheduled lab time during the week. When he realized that he was not too far from reaching Level III, he asked, ‘So, Mrs. Schuster, are you doing anything on Monday and Friday mornings before school?’ (Those are the two days he doesn’t come to the lab!)” Keep up the great work, Ian! Visitation School Kansas City, Missouri Allison Hennessey, Facilitator Eighth-grader J.T. Bergner has struggled with academics since the third grade. When he was diagnosed with dyslexia in July of 2009, J.T. finally understood why his grades did not reflect how truly bright he is. He and his family decided that a summer dyslexia program and ELS during the school year would help him to understand how his mind works and to give him the tools to be successful. As his parents point out, “He sees his dyslexia as a gift.” Along with this gift, J.T.’s quiet leadership and genuine compassion make him a truly unique young man. When third-grader Peyton Fitzgerald began the ELS Program in 2008, reading was a chore and writing was an overwhelming task. Now in his second year of ELS, Peyton is a voracious reader and writing comes easily. His mother, Gretchen, observes: “He now has a love for reading that sometimes gets him in trouble. I find him with his

SHARE MAGAZINE spring/summer 2010

reading light on well after his bedtime. It brings such joy to see my son reading vigorously without being asked.” Facilitator Allison Hennessey has seen Peyton transform from a reluctant student to one of her strongest leaders, modeling hard work and determination. Sixth-grade twins Anna and Maddie Shramek make the trip each day from their school, St. Elizabeth’s, to Visitation, a nearby school that offers the ELS Program. The girls came to the United States from Romania at age three, so English is their second language. They struggled to read for many years, until 2009, when they were diagnosed with dyslexia. When the girls’ principal, Sandy Nickel, learned about ELS, she knew that Anna and Maddie would benefit from ELS, as it could address their learning challenges. With the help of ELS, Anna and Maddie have seen improvements in their spelling skills, handwriting, and reading. Allison has noticed something unique about these sisters; the natural, friendly competition between them motivates them both to do their best work and to strive to advance through the ELS Program. In addition, their parents have noticed the girls are more willing to work independently on class assignments and homework — a sure sign of their increased confidence, thanks to the help of ELS. Learning Efficiency Program (LEP) Waterloo Christian School, Waterloo, Iowa Marlene Krueger, Executive Director Marlene Kruger, Executive Director of the Learning Efficiency Program at Waterloo Christian School, shares the following about one of LEP ’s remarkable students…. Tessa Wynthein is a gold medal winner in ELS at Waterloo Christian School because she is such a hard worker and because she never quits trying. She attends the LEP class four days a week. Tessa has been using the ELS program since September of 2008, when she was in third grade. Her third grade teacher, Pat Rosenberg, commented, “When I had Tessa she had much difficulty with math. She could not understand the concepts and could not do many basic facts at all. She also could not read well orally, especially when she had to sound [out] words. When she read silently, she could not remember what she read…. She would often read her Accelerated Reader books twice so she could pass the tests. But when it came to thinking and writing, she had very good ideas, which would indicate above-average ability. So I knew that there had to be some processing problems.” Tessa was struggling with reading fluency, comprehension and math, areas that ELS and MLS could address. Tessa has

2009-2010 Who’s Who Among Cei Students

not worked in MLS yet, but her math performance has improved because of the processing therapy in ELS. School and the program were difficult for her at first, but I could see she was a “fighter.” We can probably attribute this to the fact that she is the youngest of five siblings. Even though she really struggled on the first day of a lesson, she would come back the next day with a new determination, and she’d always do better. At the beginning of this school year, starting fourth grade and Level II presented more struggle for this young lady. She actually said she “hated school.” Because of her progress and what I had seen so far, I knew she was close to a breakthrough and encouraged her to keep trying. Sure enough, a couple months into the year, things started to click. The “fighter” in Tessa came out as a result of her accident right before Christmas. She was snowboarding with her brothers, when she fell and broke her leg. Because of the seriousness of the break she had a cast that went from the middle of her thigh all the way down to her ankle. After Christmas break, Tessa came down the hall with her crutches and got to work. We had a system so she wouldn’t have to get up. If I was busy, students would pitch in and help bring her worksheets, pencils, etc. Tessa never let her struggles or her injury get in the way of her work. She did her best every day! I am very proud of her. She had every reason to give up and she never did. She is definitely a student who needs to be mentioned as a real success. Woodson ISD Woodson, Texas Joy Brown, Facilitator Facilitator Joy Brown shares about her fifth and sixth grade students…. We may be small in number, but these seven students are some of the hardest working students I have ever had! Every student began the year working on reading and math, but because of their hard work and dedication, five of the seven have finished all six levels of ELS and are working on MLS and Quick Tales. Fifth-grader Victoria Cortez is a lovely young lady who has also completed all six levels of ELS. Victoria was determined to finish before the year was out and her determination paid off. Zach Diaz, another sixth-grader, returned to CEI after being out for several years and has successfully completed the ELS program. He’s now working on MLS and Quick Tales. Zach is one of a kind, and he never complains about working hard to succeed. Sixth-grader Kolton Killion has been in CEI for several years and is a joy to work with. Kolton had struggled in reading until this year, but with the skills he developed while working with ELS for the last few years, combined with the new Auto-Placement component in ELS, he was able to complete all six levels. Kaitlynn Kinyon, a sixth-grader, is new to Woodson ISD and to CEI, but we are glad that she is with us. Kaitlynn is a hard worker, and she never gives up. She loves to write, and with that love and desire to succeed, she has been successful in completing four levels of ELS. Jason (Stone) Lester, a fifth-grader, has been in CEI for two years. He is a super young man, and I am proud of the success he has had. Stone began on

Level II, Lesson 31 at the beginning of the year, but has successfully finished all six levels of ELS and is working with Quick Tales and MLS. The ELS program has helped Stone’s penmanship, comprehension, and sentence structure. Sixth-grader Cindy Rosales is a hard worker who never complains. Cindy has been in CEI for several years. She is so sweet and easy to work with, and she has developed many skills during her years in CEI. I believe these skills will help her become successful in many areas of her education. Fifth-grader Juleigh Walker, one of the sweetest young ladies in class, has just completed all six levels of ELS. She was so excited to have finished ELS, and I was excited for her. Juleigh is a hard worker and strives to do her best and be the best in whatever she does. They are all hard workers, and I will hate to see them complete CEI and not return, but I will be proud to see them continue to grow in character as well as knowledge. I am proud of them and the success they have had in CEI. They are the best students anyone could hope for.

Back Row (Left to Right): Stone Lester, Kolton Killion, Zach Diaz; Front Row: Kaitlynn Kinyon, Juleigh Walker, Victoria Cortez, Cindy Rosales

There is a large factor behind our CEI program that makes it possible and successful: the support we receive from the parents, teachers, and administration. We are fortunate that we have parents who are concerned about their children’s education and who will allow them to participate in a program that will help them improve their math and reading skills. Our teachers are a large part of our success, too. They are willing to allow the students time out of their regular classroom to attend CEI. But without our superintendent, Mr. Bellah, and our principal, Mr. Thomas, none of this would be possible. They have a loving and caring heart for all our students, and they are willing to support whatever will help them become successful students. Youth Development Center Houston, Texas Debra Asberry, Facilitator Emmanuel Taylor is in the fourth grade. He has been in the Youth Development Center, an afterschool program in Houston, for two years. He came to the program as a student struggling in reading, spelling, and comprehension. Since working in the CEI Lab, he has shown great improvement in those areas. Facilitator Debra Asberry says he has worked hard enough and long enough to be advanced to Level II of ELS, which was very hard for him to accomplish during his first year at the YDC. He has made tremendous improvements. Mrs. Asberry thinks Emmanuel is striving to be an all-around better student. Katecia Young is a fourth-grader who has been in the YDC program for three years. Katecia came into the program struggling with reading and spelling. Since working in the CEI lab, she has shown tremendous growth in those areas. Debra says Katecia works very hard in the lab to complete lessons … especially when she comes in early from school. Because of that, she has advanced to Level II this year. She has set her goal to advance to Level III by the end of the year. Debra says that with the way Katecia works, she will get there!

Emmanuel Taylor

Katecia Young



In our own small way, we at CEI have always been concerned about the success of all students, especially those with learning disabilities. To encourage students to stay in school, it has always been our mission “to produce innovative learning solutions that enable people with educational differences to achieve academic, social and professional success.” We not only believe that our programs will accelerate learning and help alleviate this epidemic, we also have proven results to support that belief. CEI knows that human interaction and involvement are necessary to fulfill our mission. That is why we appreciate you, our partners in education. Throughout this issue of SHARE Magazine, you will be introduced to just some of the results created by our partnerships. These results are reflective of students who will not be part of the silent epidemic, but who will become part of the joyous celebration of success.


A recent study by Civic Enterprises described the U.S. high school dropout rate as a “Silent Epidemic” because the majority of the public is unaware of the severity of the problem. Often viewed as an issue that affects mostly young people who are low-income, minority, urban and attending innercity public high schools, the dropout crisis has spread to suburbs, towns and rural areas. In fact, national research now puts the graduation rate between 68 and 71%. In other words, almost 1/3 of all public high school students fail to graduate. The impact has global ramifications.

Every school day, 7,000 U.S. students leave school never to return. 1 of every 2 African-American and Hispanic students fails to graduate from public high school. The dropout rate for students with emotional or behavioral disabilities is 2 times that of general education students. Reading students in the lowest performing quartile are 20 times more likely to dropout than top-performing students. 55% of dropouts said that more needed to be done to help students with learning problems. 3/4 of dropouts said they needed more individualized instruction. 74% of adult dropouts said if they could relive the experience, they would stay in school. Over the course of a lifetime, college graduates earn $1.3 million more than high school dropouts.

SHARE Magazine, Spring/Summer 2010  
SHARE Magazine, Spring/Summer 2010  

Issue 21, Volume 02, Published May 2010, Who's Who 2009-2010