Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chattahoochee Students Raise Scores After One Year With SRA/McGraw-Hill's Imagine It! Reading and Language Arts Curriculum

PRNewswire/ -- Reading scores are on the rise at the Chattahoochee County Education Center after only one year with SRA/McGraw-Hill's researched-based elementary reading and language arts program Imagine It! On average, scores increased by nearly 12%.

Teachers implemented Imagine It! in Grades K-5 in the fall of 2007. One year later, reading scores on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) rose across the board. Grade 1 increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding reading standards on the CRCT from 78% in 2007 to 91% in 2008. Grade 2 rose from 84% to 90%, and Grade 3 jumped from 71% to 82%. The best results occurred in Grade 4, where scores rose by more than 28%.

Principal Tabitha Walton said Imagine It! works because Chattahoochee educators implement it with fidelity.

"Our teachers focus on accountability, and not just at state testing time," she explained. "They know they are accountable for their students' progress every day. For example, they routinely turn in their benchmark scores so we can focus on what needs to improve or change. I'm also in and out of their classrooms daily so I can provide feedback."

Walton said one of the program's key strengths is its comprehensive nature, which means all components work together and complement each other.

"All the materials are right there in front of you, like Differentiated Instruction," she said. "If teachers want to customize a lesson, they don't have to dig for information and conduct research on their own. The components are right there for them."

One way Chattahoochee teachers provide Differentiated Instruction is through the program's workshops. Walton said workshops are advantageous because they give teachers an opportunity to do two very important things.

"First, they can pre-teach concepts they know students might struggle with. When they introduce the concept again the next day, students are already beginning to understand it. Second, teachers use workshops to target struggling students. Many kids need that extra one-on-one time with the teacher to practice concepts," Walton said. "Differentiated Instruction is very powerful in a workshop. In fact, workshops work so well with our children that we're carrying the concept over into our math program."

Walton said another of the program's key strengths is consistency from grade level to grade level.

"We're really looking forward to students' reading scores in 2009 because they will reflect two solid years with the program," she said. "Overall, we're very pleased with Imagine It! This program will work if you carefully and diligently 'work' it."

About Chattahoochee County Education Center

This Title I school serves nearly 300 students in Grades Pre-K-5: 58% of students are Caucasian, 34% African American, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian, and 6% multicultural. Seventy-five percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. For more information, please visit chattahoochee.k12.ga.us. (http://www.chattahoochee.k12.ga.us/)

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