Palm Springs USD Rolls Out Instructional Writing Program


Southern California's Palm Springs Unified School District is rolling out an online writing program called MY Access! from Vantage Learning. The rollout will begin in elementary and middle schools in the first year and expand to high schools beginning in the second. The full deployment, expected within three years, will run $800,000.

MY Access! uses Web-based forms that allow students to input assignments. It then checks those assignments against various writing characteristics and scores students on their writing proficiency, style, mechanics, and other factors. It also supports multilingual students and ELL students and is able to deliver feedback and tutoring in multiple languages.

Said Lorri McCune, superintendent of Palm Springs Unified School District: "Writing is one of our most difficult areas to master. Oversized classes at the secondary level make it difficult for teachers to read a large volume of individual student work critically; MY Access! combined with effective professional practices is the solution. With the quick feedback it provides on a one-on-one basis, students reach a higher level of proficiency before they even turn anything into the teacher for review. This program is a natural extension of an educator's expertise."

She added, "Our teachers are looking forward to seeing not only improvement in written communication, but higher levels of achievement in all subjects they cover in their classrooms."

For the implementation, the district will initially deploy 4,000 MY Access! licenses in four middle schools and two elementary schools in the first year of the program, expanding into high schools and additional sites in the second and third years. MY Access! will be introduced into classrooms at the start of the 2008-2009 school year. Vantage will provide training to educators during the summer months.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

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