Scottsdale, Ariz.–Feb. 22, 2007–Pearson Digital Learning (PDL), the leader in proven, comprehensive technologies for preK-12 education, today announced the selection of two National Best Practices Sites for the Waterford Early Learning programs, adaptive computer-based instruction developed by the nonprofit Waterford Institute.

Chosen from the more than 13,000 Waterford installations across the country, the 2007 National Best Practices Site winners are Williams Township School in Whiteville, N.C. and the Scranton Area School District in Scranton, Pa. The honor is presented annually to schools that effectively integrate the award-winning Waterford courseware, teacher guides, student books, and take-home materials with their curriculum; demonstrate strong long-term parental involvement; implement a clear evaluation plan; show measurable results; and present an innovative and replicable implementation.

"All the schools that implement the Waterford Early Learning programs are clearly dedicated to helping each and every student achieve through individualized learning. These schools were chosen as the 2007 Best Practices winners because their implementations and results were exemplary," said Karl Gustafson, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Pearson Digital Learning. "Williams Township School and the Scranton Area School District exemplify innovative instructional models that helped them overcome a variety of significant challenges and that can be replicated by other schools around the county. We are very proud to award them this distinctive honor."

Each 2007 Waterford National Best Practices Site winner will receive a trophy and a trip to the Waterford Best Practices Conference, which will be held Feb. 20-23, 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah. At the conference, the winners will each be featured presenters sharing their success stories with the participants.

Williams Township School

Part of Columbus County Schools, Williams Township School is a rural preK-8 school. Approximately 85 percent of students qualify for the free or reduced meal program. To improve student achievement, the school implemented the Waterford Early Reading Program in November 2004 and Waterford Early Math & Science in January 2005. The programs are used by all students in pre-kindergarten through grade two, and by at-risk and exceptional students in grade three.

Since implementing Waterford, Williams Township School has experienced considerable gains in key areas. Using the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) to collect pre- and post-test scores, kindergarteners using Waterford experienced more than a 20 percent increase in proficiency in word analysis, vocabulary and listening during the 2005-06 school year. In addition, third graders using Waterford jumped from 0 to 50 percent proficient in phonemic awareness. Even older students have benefited from the school´s Waterford implementation. Due to phonological awareness remediation provided in the Waterford Early Reading Program, many students in grades five through seven passed their end-of-year exams for the first time ever.

Scranton Area School District

The urban Scranton Area School District, with a 61 percent poverty rate and large population of English language learners (ELL), began using the Waterford Early Reading Program in 1999 as a pilot in five kindergarten classrooms to help students, particularly those at risk, make gains and improve achievement. Based on the positive response of teachers, principals, students and parents, Scranton expanded its implementation over a two-year period to every kindergarten through second grade classroom in the district. In addition to daily sessions for all kindergarten, first and second grade students, the Waterford program is used extensively by students in ELL, English as a Second Language (ESL), and special education programs.

Since its Waterford implementation began, the Scranton Area School District has seen positive results through a variety of measures. Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS") assessments over the past two years indicate that more than 51 percent of kindergarteners have shown improvement in letter naming fluency and phoneme segmentation fluency, which are key indicators of reading success. Scranton schools have met or exceeded state levels on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) every year and the district has been recognized by Standard & Poor´s as an "outperforming school district" for the past four years. Scranton is one of only 29 school districts, out of 496 districts in Pennsylvania, to have outperformed demographically similar school districts in reading and math proficiency for four consecutive years.

About the Waterford Early Learning Programs

Pearson Digital Learning´s distinguished partner, the nonprofit Waterford Institute, developed the Waterford Early Learning programs. The Waterford Early Reading Program is a comprehensive early reading curriculum designed to help children learn to read through the use of state-of-the-art technology. Based on 10 years of research, the program contains three levels for emergent, beginning, and fluent readers, combining to provide over 300 hours of individualized reading instruction. Waterford Early Math & Science fosters hands-on exploration and inquiry-based learning, giving students a solid foundation in basic math skills and science content as well as creative problem solving. Mirroring the proven approach of the Waterford Early Reading Program, Waterford Early Math & Science offers three levels of full year computer-based curriculum aligned to state and national curriculum standards for early learners.

About Pearson Digital Learning

At Pearson Digital Learning, our mission is to provide innovative, research-based digital learning solutions that elevate the art and science of teaching, and inspire children to reach their greatest potential. Reaching more than 20 million students annually, our products include: the SuccessMaker® Enterprise and NovaNET® educational courseware; the KnowledgeBox® digital learning system; and the ELLIS solutions for English language instruction. Pearson Digital Learning is also the exclusive distributor for the Waterford Early Reading Program and Waterford Early Math & Science, adaptive computer-based instruction developed by the Waterford Institute.

Pearson Digital Learning is part of Pearson Education, the world´s leading integrated education company, which in turn is part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the international media company. More information can be found at: http://www.PearsonDigital.com/.

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