Software for Struggling Learners

Delaware District Launches Reading Intervention To Help with AYP

Seaford School District (SSD) in Delaware is looking to give its adequate yearly progress (AYP) a shot in the arm through the use of a software-based reading intervention. The district has implemented Scientific Learning Corp.'s Fast ForWord educational software in an effort to help its elementary school students achieve AYP and meet state requirements.

While SSD piloted the software in 2005, at the time it was financially unable to purchase the software. However, in December 2009, with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the district was finally able to afford the applications and in spring 2010 began implementation in its four elementary schools, two of which failed to meet state AYP requirements in the 2008-2009 school year.

"We use a variety of intervention programs to help struggling students. The programs are all generally helpful, but none address the foundational cognitive skill sets that are the key to improved critical language and reading skills," said Paula Johnson, director of elementary education for SSD. "Fast ForWord is something every learner can benefit from, including English language learners, special education students, at-risk students, and those who are working below, at, or above grade level."

Johnson and other district leaders have expressed praise for the software's attention to key cognitive factors in literacy acquisition, including memory, attention, processing rate and sequencing.

Seaford School District serves about 3,500 total students in six schools sprewad across 82 square miles in lower Delaware. It has an annual budget of $38 million.

Further information on Fast ForWord, including technical specifications and links to assistance in locating funding, can be found Scientific Learning's site here.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.