In 2006, St. Mary Parish Public School System in rural Louisiana had several schools in Academic Assistance and test scores lagged behind the state average. The high-poverty district has moved from the bottom half to the top quartile in state rankings, increased its District Performance Score from 80.0 (on a scale of 0 to 200) in 2006 to 99.2 (on a scale of 0 to 150) in 2016, and raised its district category from 2 Stars (equivalent to a “D”) to a “B.”
What changed? During the 2006-07 school year, St. Mary Parish began using the Fast ForWord family of products, a neuroscience-based online reading intervention developed by Scientific Learning Corp. (OTC PINK:SCIL).
Fast ForWord products use the principles of neuroplasticity to prepare the brain to read by targeting working memory, attention, and processing speed in the context of language and reading exercises. It provides personalized adaptive practice in grammar, vocabulary, reading, and listening comprehension. Using patented technology, the program “listens” to students as they read aloud, offering support with decoding and pronunciation when they need it.
Since 2006, St. Mary Parish students have achieved steady gains on state tests and the district has made significant progress closing achievement gaps for student subgroups, including students from poverty who comprise nearly 80 percent of the student population.
“Over the years, we’ve changed many programs in our district. Fast ForWord has been the one constant for prevention and intervention because it works and our test scores are proof positive,” said Superintendent Leonard J. Armato. “If you implement Fast ForWord with fidelity, you’ll get results.”
The full St. Mary Parish story is now available in a newly published case study.