Although districts are required to provide students in need with special education and related services such as speech therapy, many face obstacles in doing so. One such school district, Lone Pine Unified (LPUSD), an economically disadvantaged district near the California-Nevada border, found it hard to recruit and retain speech-language pathologists (SLPs) because of its location. To overcome this challenge, LPUSD chose to use online speech therapy through PresenceLearning and is seeing great success.
“Research shows that socioeconomic status is the number one statistic in predicting overall student and school district underachievement, and approximately 70 percent of our students are socioeconomically disadvantaged,” said Dr. Sean A. Cianfarano, Superintendent of LPUSD. “However, with PresenceLearning and our pre-academic early intervention efforts spearheaded by our excellent educators and support staff, we are now beating the odds at LPUSD.”
After the 2013-2014 school year, LPUSD was one of ten districts to receive PresenceLearning’sAward of Excellence. Of the nearly 1,000 schools PresenceLearning served that school year, the award was given to those districts with the highest percentage of students who improved one level or more in spoken language production and spoken language comprehension on the Functional Communication Measures (FCMs) scales during the school year.
Although he was skeptical of its effectiveness when he first moved to the school district in fall 2014, Superintendent Cianfarano was personally won over as he saw how PresenceLearning positively impacted his son Rocco. While enrolled in Pre-K at his previous district, Rocco’s teacher told his family that he was leaving off the first letter and sound of his words, thus indicating that he may need speech therapy. Once enrolled in kindergarten at LPUSD, Rocco started with PresenceLearning and his family found he flourished both in therapy and in the classroom.
“I would not choose a service option for our school district that we, as a family, would not choose for our own child,” said Dr. Cianfarano. “Early literacy is so important for young learners, but if the student cannot speak, it is really hard for them to be literate because it is all tied together. PresenceLearning empowers students to speak, but it’s more than that. It empowers students to be successful.”
PresenceLearning (www.presencelearning.com) is the leading provider of onlinespeech andoccupational therapy,behavioral and mental health services and assessments for K-12 districts and families of children with special needs. PresenceLearning’s nationwide network of online professionals and telehealth providers includes hundreds of highly qualified speech language pathologists (SLPs), occupational therapists (OTs), special education teachers, and behavioral and mental health professionals. Treatment sessions are delivered “anytime anywhere” via live interactive video using the latest in evidence-based practices combined with powerful progress reporting.
By partnering with PresenceLearning, education agencies can fill service gaps related to acute and chronic shortages of special education and related services personnel, reduce high caseloads for onsite personnel, reduce their backlog of assessments, improve student outcomes and improve efficiency. Since 2009, PresenceLearning has delivered more than a million live online therapy sessions to students in public, charter and virtual schools across the U.S. and globally, proving that online delivery of special education and related services is practical, convenient and highly effective.