The students at Charles T. Sewell Elementary in Henderson, Nevada know what is expected of them in terms of achieving success and are more than willing to put forth the effort. With a school motto of “together we can reach the stars,” high goals are set for all students. At Sewell, part of that goal includes completing 75% of the Study Island programs for the students in grades 3-5, before the Criterion Reference Tests, or the CRTs.
Throughout the year teachers such as Flynn Stern create weekly Study Island assessments which target specific standards in math and reading. Then, over the course of the school year, teachers set aside a portion of each day to study the standards using the printable worksheets and the student response systems. At the end of each week, the students take a short quiz and the teachers know immediately whether or not they will need to revisit standards, or if they are ready to move on to the next area of study.
To help keep the kids motivated, every teacher is asked to create a Study Island board at the beginning of the year, and as the students compete topics and earn blue ribbons, they are added to the board. Once a student has completed all the topics for their grade level, the school announces the student's success in the morning ceremony, and he or she is presented with a certificate to the cheers of the entire school. But the work isn’t over yet -- once students finish their grade-level topics, the teachers assign topics from the next grade level. “We love to challenge all of our students and Study Island is a big help,” said Flynn Stern.
With the new challenge comes the need for extra assistance, so approximately every two months Sewell Elementary goes on a Study Island Holiday. For the students who have not finished earning blue ribbons, additional class time is given so that they may catch up. During these holidays, it is not an uncommon sight to see every computer in the school occupied with students working vigorously with the Study Island program. Last year two fifth-grade classrooms that fully implemented Study Island had 95% of the students in those classrooms pass and demonstrate growth on the Criterion Reference Tests.