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EPS LITERACY AND INTERVENTION’S INNOVATIVE S.P.I.R.E. READING PROGRAM RESULTS IN IMPRESSIVE GAINS FOR OHIO SCHOOL DISTRICT

By Abi Mandelbaum
September 16th, 2014

Efficacy Study Highlights Increased Achievement Among Students with Reading and Language Difficulties

GREENVILLE, Wisconsin (Sept. 16, 2014) – An efficacy study released today by EPS Literacy and Intervention, a division of School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB: SCOO), confirms that its S.P.I.R.E.® (Specialized Program Individualizing Reading Excellence) reading intervention program is highly effective for special education students and English Language Learners (ELL) who are identified as nonreaders and struggling readers. The study found that students who received S.P.I.R.E. instruction achieved significant gains in phonics, vocabulary, comprehension and overall reading.

“We are incredibly proud of the results of this study, which confirms that our literacy intervention program is a valuable asset for classrooms and can result in tremendous growth for struggling students,” said Rick Holden, president, EPS. “Working to close the achievement gap by helping facilitate new paths to success is of the utmost importance to us. We are honored to continue collaborating with educators to support them as they incorporate tools that will address all levels of proficiency and propel our youth to new heights in the classroom.”

The study was designed to measure the effectiveness of S.P.I.R.E. with ELL and special education students in elementary, middle and high school who struggle with reading. Five schools across the Whitehall City School District, located in suburban Columbus, Ohio, participated in the study. The district is made up of 43 percent Caucasian, 33 percent African American, 16 percent Hispanic, 7 percent multiracial, 1 percent Asian, and 0.2 percent Native American students, and 79 percent of the student body are eligible for free or reduced lunch programs. Students ranging from grades 2 through 10 were selected to receive S.P.I.R.E. instruction during the 2012-2013 school year. ELL students made gains of approximately 100 points on the Ohio Test of English Language Acquisition, while all students in the study achieved significant gains on the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test, with an average increase of 26 points.

As a member of the staff who was instrumental in incorporating S.P.I.R.E. into Whitehall’s curriculum, Juliet Peoples would recommend the program for any district and praised the support provided by EPS during implementation.

“The level of support and guidance provided by EPS throughout the process was amazing. They were always on site, providing model lessons for teachers and troubleshooting for individual students,” said Peoples. “It was incredibly rewarding to see students who had struggled previously begin to blossom and gain confidence in their reading and comprehension abilities. I would encourage any school district seeking an innovative and effective reading intervention tool to employ the S.P.I.R.E. program and to use it with fidelity, because the results will be there for you.”

Based on the well-established Orton-Gillingham approach to reading instruction, S.P.I.R.E. is an intensive reading intervention designed to bring nonreaders and struggling readers to full literacy upon completion of eight levels of increasingly complex content. S.P.I.R.E.’s comprehensive, intensive and multisensory reading instruction integrates phonological awareness, phonics, spelling, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and handwriting. This approach has proven to be successful for the lowest level readers and nonreaders.

For more information on S.P.I.R.E., and to view the specific results of the study, visit the S.P.I.R.E. page on the EPS website at http://epsbooks.com/SPIRE.

About EPS Literacy and Intervention
EPS Literacy and Intervention provides K–12 blended-media solutions that build core skills and close the achievement gap in reading and math. With powerful instructional tools and high-quality materials, the company’s reading and math intervention solutions are proven to help struggling students. From universal screening to interventions, progress-monitoring to data-driven decision-making, and professional development, EPS offers an integrated approach to effective teaching and learning.

For more information on EPS and its proven programs Wordly Wise 3000®, Academy of READING®, Academy of MATH®, MCI, S.P.I.R.E.®, Path Driver for Reading™, Path Driver for Math™, Explode The Code® and EPS E.P.I.C., visit http://epsbooks.com.

About School Specialty
School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace. The Company designs, develops, and provides educators with the latest and very best school supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Information
Any statements made in this press release about School Specialty’s future financial conditions, results of operations, expectations, plans, or prospects, including the information under the headings “Process Improvement Program Update” and “Financial Outlook”, constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements also include those preceded or followed by the words “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “projects,” “should,” “targets” and/or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are based on School Specialty’s current estimates and assumptions and, as such, involve uncertainty and risk. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements because of a number of factors, including the factors described in Item 1A of School Specialty’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended April 26, 2014, which factors are incorporated herein by reference. Any forward-looking statement in this release speaks only as of the date in which it is made. Except to the extent required under the federal securities laws, School Specialty does not intend to update or revise the forward-looking statements.

About the Author:

Abi Mandelbaum

Abi Mandelbaum is CEO of YouVisit.