Three Interesting Articles:
NYTimes.com Article: A Second Report Shows Charter School Students Not Performing as Well as Other Students
NYTimes.com Article: Can For-Profit Schools Pass an Ethics Test?
WSJ.com - To Improve Education, We Need Clinical Trials To Show What Works
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2004
Waukesha, WI and Portland, OR. KC Distance Learning (KCDL), a leading provider of online education for high school students, announced today the formation of iQ Academies. iQ Academies will operate a network of public virtual high schools. The first such school, iQ Academies at Wisconsin, was announced today in Waukesha, WI as a joint effort between KCDL and the Waukesha School District. The school is chartered through the Waukesha District. KC Distance Learning is headquartered in Portland, OR.
Making the announcement was David Schmidt, Superintendent of the Waukesha School District, Heidi Laabs, Interim Director of IQ Academies at Wisconsin, and Keith Oelrich, President and CEO of KCDL.
“We’re very focused on delivering a quality education, but we realize we can’t meet the needs of all students through the traditional high school setting,” said Superintendent Schmidt. “That’s why we’re very excited to be partnering with KC Distance Learning in establishing this new school; they’ve brought a great track record and expertise in delivering quality home education for high school students.”
iQ Academies delivers dynamic interactive virtual learning to students and their families who, for various reasons, need or are seeking a different kind of high school environment. “There are lots of students for whom the traditional high school setting isn’t appropriate. Our mission is to make a quality, public education a possibility for those students. We help students achieve their learning goals and constantly follow their dreams,” said Mr. Oelrich.
iQ Academies has partnered with six diverse curriculum providers, all meeting iQ’s high standards for quality, content and delivery. Together, the curriculum partners have over 140 years experience in delivering distance-learning home education programs. “During that time, our partners have enriched the lives of over 650,000 students in all 50 states”, said Oelrich.
iQ Academies provides students with everything they need to deliver a quality, public education at home. iQ Academies at Wisconsin will provide students with a laptop computer and internet access, a broad online curriculum, support from certified, subject-matter expert teachers, together with a range of school and community support programs. iQ Academies students can select from over 150 courses, including some specialized courses that many traditional high schools are unable to offer. By combining core academics with Fast Traq honors and AP courses, adding a generous dose of foreign language, arts and humanities, and topping off with tech-savvy courses, iQ brings an exciting educational journey home.
“At iQ Academies, your student’s education experience goes beyond the (virtual) classroom. We will provide many school and community program opportunities, including scholarships, job and career counseling and programs, community activities, gatherings and field trips, an Honor Society, and a variety of school clubs,” said Heidi Laabs. “We are truly looking at helping students realize their full potential.”
Media Contact Information: KC Distance Learning, Inc.
Contact: Keith Oelrich, President & CEO
Organization Contact: Media Contact:
Allan Olson, Executive Director Ellen Berg
Northwest Evaluation Association Young & Roehr Group
(503) 624-1951 (503) 222-0626 Ext. 713
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Northwest Evaluation Association Releases Comprehensive 14-State Report on State Education Standards
NWEA report confirms that large variations exist in K-12 standards across the United States.
PORTLAND, ORE., Nov. 24 — The Northwest Evaluation Association, non-profit membership organization , today released the results of a comprehensive, 14-state study that demonstrates there is a profound difference in what’s expected of students across the United States. The nonprofit association set out to determine how students in member districts are doing relative to standards in their states. In addition to answering this question, the NWEA researchers found startling differences in how ‘proficient’ is defined, even within states.
“We weren’t surprised to see differing proficiency levels, other research has shown that. We were surprised, however, to see the degree to which these levels differ,” said Allan Olson, NWEA’s executive director. “We are concerned these major differences could lead to unwarranted consequences for states trying to meet the mandates of NCLB.”
NWEA researchers also showed that state education standards don’t always agree within states from grade to grade, which means a student could exceed a standard in grade three, but not in grade four, where the standard is significantly more difficult. In addition, the researchers showed large subject area inconsistencies from state to state and within states. For example, the standard for math might be higher than most states, while the standard for reading is lower.
The NWEA study goes beyond other studies that have examined state proficiency levels because researchers examined results based on a common measurement scale. That scale enabled researchers to make comparisons among states and within each state across grades or subject areas.
The data are student-specific, and also give a clear picture at the building-level. The study data included 1,000 or more students in each grade from each state. Only those students who took the mandated state test and a second NWEA test within a month were included in the sample.
“We used the same procedural and statistical methodology in each state, and used test data from a common measurement scale, enabling us to provide directly comparable results,” said Director of Research G. Gage Kingsbury. “As a result we were able to add more insight into the questions raised by other researchers on this subject.”
The study evaluated student proficiency standards that have been established by 14 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. The full report is available at http://www.nwea.org/research/statestudy.html.
The Northwest Evaluation Association serves more than 1,100 member districts representing more than 3 million students across the United States. Education, curriculum and assessment experts at NWEA work in partnership with school districts and education policymakers, and provide professional training, consulting services, and ongoing research in assessment and related issues. Formally organized in 1977, the Northwest Evaluation Association is located in Portland, Oregon. More information about the organization is available at http://www.nwea.org.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
How can you immunize your child now against reading difficulty later?
Reading difficulty in the U.S. is an epidemic problem that can have catastrophic consequences. A solution, based on years of comprehensive research, is finally available.
Did you know that despite decades of huge government spending increases on literacy, reading performance has not improved in the last 20 years? In an average fourth grade classroom of 35 kids, 14 of them may already be struggling to keep up with their classmates because they can’t read their text books. As many as 10 million children have trouble treading. Sadly, until now most attempts to help these children prevent this struggle have fallen short.
“Kids who can’t read suffer educationally, socially and emotionally. It can lead to catastrophic consequences later in life. And the worst part of this scenario is that we know how to prevent the problem, but too few parents are aware of the solution,” says Deme Clainos, President and CEO of StudyDog, a new comprehensive learning system designed specifically to help prevent children from becoming struggling readers. “With the right stimulation between the ages of four and six, most children can significantly improve their early reading skills and their chances of becoming successful readers.”
The innovative StudyDog online reading system, which targets kids between kindergarten and second grade, is based on two important sources. In 2000, the National Reading Panel, charged by Congress with consolidating valid research on how children learn to read, issued its report on what constitutes the most effective reading instruction. Second, recent brain research by Yale neuroscientists has shown that with the right stimulation over a period of time at an early age, even children diagnosed with dyslexia can make the necessary connections in the brain to read successfully.
The StudyDog online reading system is sold directly to parents. Unlike pre-packaged software systems, StudyDog uses a patent pending technology and analyzes an individual child’s reading level and skills, then modifies the manner in which the curriculum is administered and presented. The program uses video game-like graphics and compelling storylines to deliver its Five Keys for Reading Success™ in a unique way so that children stick with the program for an extended period – long enough to master the skills being taught.
The StudyDog system has been tested in elementary schools in Washington and Oregon, where participating children showed significant improvement in their reading skills. In the study, every child completing the StudyDog reading program improved reading skills, and in most skill areas every child achieved mastery. In most cases, a child can learn to improve their reading by one full grade level in eight to 12 weeks.
“Engaging children so they are motivated to stick with StudyDog over a period of months without placing an additional burden on parents is a unique advantage,” explains Dean Arrasmith, Ed.D, the company’s chief learning officer. “This occurs not only because the lessons are entertaining, but because the program is personalized for each child.”
Through an initial reading assessment, StudyDog tailors the course so that the instruction is just right for the child’s reading level and skills. Although the online lessons are self-contained and children use them independently, each child also is assigned a StudyDog Reading Specialist to be their advocate, monitoring performance, adapting the course as needed, and giving weekly progress reports to parents and teachers. Children earn prizes as they progress, that can be ordered from an online store and mailed to their home.
“Parents are delighted with StudyDog not only because of its effectiveness, but because it actually fits into their busy lives,” says Clainos. “Because it is online, StudyDog is available any time and any place where there is internet access. Lessons are focused and are brief enough to fit into a tight schedule, taking just 15 minutes to complete each of three to five new lessons per week.”
“This type of reading help cannot be found in CDs and other software,” adds Arrasmith. “StudyDog doesn’t just hand materials to the parents. It maintains the responsibility for teaching each child, engaging them in lessons they can do independently, and assigning a reading specialist. The only other real alternative is a reading tutor, which can be time consuming and cost hundreds of dollars each month.”
By contrast, the StudyDog Reading Essentials program costs just $79.95 per month for beginning readers to prevent later struggles, or $495 for the Reading Rescue program to remediate struggling readers who are currently more than one year behind their grade level. Parents purchase these programs directly from the StudyDog Web site. Because StudyDog and its corporate partners want to help all children succeed, a limited number of StudyDog scholarships are available to low income families. Teachers may submit a simple application on a child’s behalf through the StudyDog Web site, www.studydog.com. “We are fully committed to helping struggling readers at all income levels. We encourage corporations to support our scholarship program and help wipe out illiteracy in the United States one child at a time,” says Clainos.