October 30, 2008

Classworks Introduces Instructional Model to Help Districts Improve Graduation Rates

Every year, more than half a million students drop out of high school -- one student every 26 seconds. To address this critical challenge, Curriculum Advantage(TM) Inc. today introduces a new, research-based instructional model to help school districts reduce dropout rates; thereby increasing graduation rates. Developed for middle and high schools, the Preparing All Students for Success (PASS) Model is designed to identify struggling students and help every student reach graduation using Classworks(TM) comprehensive K-12 instructional software.

With a goal of prevention rather than recovery, the PASS Model prescribes a plan to engage and support all students, particularly those who struggle to meet grade level proficiency standards. With the PASS Model, educators can easily implement Classworks' standards-based content to provide middle and high school students with individualized instruction and intensive preparation for state tests. The Model provides strategies to identify students who need intervention and to deliver targeted, accelerated instruction to move each student toward proficiency. Additionally, Curriculum Advantage offers professional development courses designed specifically to ensure a successful implementation.

"Nationwide, only about 70 percent of ninth graders make it to graduation four years later," said Melissa Sinunu, chief operations officer for Curriculum Advantage. "In our conversations with teachers and administrators we've been told that not enough is being done to keep students engaged and in school. That's why we created PASS. We incorporated the most effective ways to address the unique needs of middle and high school students, and combined these proven practices with research-based instructional technology to help every student achieve proficiency and graduate."

The comprehensive instructional model includes three levels to address the distinct needs of students in middle school, in transition from middle to high school, and in high school. From grades six to eight, the PASS Model identifies how to deliver standards-based instruction to all students, while providing an accelerated curriculum to move struggling students to grade level proficiency prior to entering high school. After grade eight, the model prescribes a special summer school curriculum focusing on pre-algebra, reading and writing -- key areas where students struggle during the transition to ninth grade -- to prepare students for high school success. At the high school level, the PASS Model focuses on English 1, algebra 1 and geometry, three gateway courses in which success is a strong predictor for staying in school through graduation.

"A key challenge in urban areas like ours is that many students come to high school with real deficits in reading, writing and math," said James Andersen, principal of the Horizonte Instruction and Training Center in the Salt Lake City School District. Horizonte's high school students have worked with Classworks since 2006 to build the reading, language arts and math skills they need to pass the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test (UBSCT). "Anything you can do to prevent students from getting into a situation where they think they don't have the skills to graduate, is beneficial. That's the way to move students forward. If you can use the PASS Model to target instruction to students' needs, build their confidence and create a supportive school climate, you can have a positive impact on graduation."

About Curriculum Advantage

Curriculum Advantage Inc. (www.curriculumadvantage.com) is based in Duluth, Ga. Curriculum Advantage's flagship product is Classworks, a network-based system of K-12 reading and mathematics curriculum and learning tools that currently comprise over 5,000 hours of curriculum. Its activities are correlated to national and state learning standards and state tests, and include prescriptive and summative assessment, remediation and reporting tools. Classworks Language Learner Series, another part of the program, addresses English as Second Language learning with content that focuses on auditory, visual and tactile/kinesthetic components.

"Curriculum Advantage" and "Classworks" are trademarks of Curriculum Advantage Inc. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.