Study Island embraced by New Jersey schools transitioning to digital education

When the new 2011-12 school year commences, more than 35 percent of New Jersey's public, private and parochial schools will be using Study Island, the Web-based, high impact, low cost standards mastery solution from Archipelago Learning(NASDAQ:ARCL), a leading subscription-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of education products.

Among the most recent districts and public schools to purchase Study Island or expand existing implementations are Long Branch Public Schools, Middle Township Public Schools, Little Silver Public Schools, Rumson School District, and Estell Manor School in Atlantic County.Private and parochial schools are embracing the solution as well, including St. Denis in Manasquan, St. Dominic in Brick, and Rumson Country Day School in Rumson.

“Educators in New Jersey continue to seek innovative ways to increase their effectiveness and improve student outcomes. Awareness and appreciation of Study Island is increasing because our flexible, cost-effective, all-digital supplemental education system resonates with their evolving needs,” said Tim McEwen, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Archipelago Learning.

Roberta Freeman, district administrator for assessment and accountability for Long Branch Public Schools, agrees that Study Island is a popular tool among educators statewide to help students master the content specified in the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. “Across the state, schools have been using Study Island for several years,” she said. “We were hearing about the great results that other districts were having.” When she researched systems for her district, Freeman found only one comparable alternative, but that system did not feature regular standards updates like Study Island does. “We needed a product that would evolve along with us,” she said.

In March 2011, Long Branch Public Schools bought Study Island as part of its standards-based instruction initiative, and for its programs aimed at helping English language learner (ELL) and special education student populations.The district will implement the system in grades 2 through 12 during the new school year, and students will be able to use it to access assignments at home. Freeman noted that during a weeklong professional development event in July, a voluntary workshop on Study Island was packed. “Teachers were willing to come in on their summer vacations to be trained for this,” she said. “As we move forward, it’s exciting to have a system that has everything we are looking for. It’s a perfect fit.”

New Jersey is also home to several districts that have had great success over several years using Study Island with diverse student populations.During the 2005-06 school year, Woodbridge Township School District in Middlesex County implemented Study Island in all of its 16 elementary schools to help students master grade-level academic standards in math and language arts. The district soon expanded the system to its five middle schools. In the 2009-10 school year, Woodbridge further expanded use of Study Island to special education students in its three high schools. In fact, the system is part of the district’s focus on increasing the passing parameters for special needs, ELL, and Academic Support Instruction (ASI) students.

“We look at each of these groups to make correlations between students’ performance on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge, and their performance in Study Island to identify areas for improvement,” said Kimberly B. Hahn, principal at Ross Street School #11 in Woodbridge.

Union City School District was another forerunner in the trend of adopting Study Island, beginning its use in 2006 with one elementary school. The response was so positive the district soon made Study Island available district wide to deliver math, reading and writing instruction to students. At the high school level, use of Study Island was further expanded to support ELL students and students with disabilities. Study Island is also used at all tiers of the district’s Response to Intervention (RtI) program and as part of an after school program. “Study Island supports our state standards beautifully and it’s a perfect fit with what we’re doing in our district,” said Lucy Soovajian, supervisor for academic programs.

The award-winning Study Island supplemental education solution is a single, integrated product that can save schools thousands of dollars annually by eliminating the need to purchase disparate systems for instruction, assessment, planning, and communication.. With supplemental lessons and activities built directly from state and Common Core State Standards, Study Island helps K-12 students master grade-level content and improve their performance on state tests. The online solution also includes customized assessments, engaging games, digital writing portfolios, college and career readiness tools, real-time reporting, productivity tools, a parent notification system, and an extensive professional development module with online video tutorials, lesson plans, and interactive whiteboard resources.