Oakland, Calif. — Aug. 17, 2009 — Mansfield Independent School District (MISD) in Mansfield, Texas has invested $1.7 million in the Fast ForWord® family of products from Scientific Learning (NASDAQ:SCIL) to help the district’s struggling readers and boost the performance of students already at grade level reading proficiency. Designed to accelerate learning by developing the student brain to process more efficiently, the Fast ForWord educational software was purchased this spring will be used this school year by elementary, intermediate, middle and high school students within Mansfield’s 37 schools.
“If I go to the gym, I get stronger every time I go. That’s what Fast ForWord does, but it challenges your brain,” said Dr. Bob Morrison, MISD superintendent. “Lots of programs are trying to help children, but Fast ForWord builds connectivity from the front brain to the back brain. It’s the connectivity that’s the issue. Therefore, the more you do, the stronger the brain gets.”
The decision to implement the software district-wide was made after a yearlong pilot program at the district’s Alice Ponder Elementary School. Vernon Newsom, Mansfield’s former superintendent, authorized the purchase of the one-site pilot, which delivered Fast ForWord software to the school’s 334 second, third and fourth graders.
By the end of the school year, the elementary students’ average Reading Progress Indicator gain was 1.1 years in 45 days and their performance on the 2008 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) rose by seven points. “That was the largest gain they’ve had in several years,” said Morrison who assumed the position of superintendent in July 2009. “We found that students who were struggling made great gains, and students already at grade level were now reading two to three levels above. With Fast ForWord, along with other changes implemented by the school staff, Alice Ponder Elementary rose from the rank of Academically Acceptable to Recognized.”
Goals for the full-scale implementation of the software differ depending on the grade level. Every elementary student is expected to work on the programs to create a foundation for success. Middle and high school principals will have the flexibility to determine the greatest needs their schools have and use the program accordingly. “Fast ForWord has different levels of exercises, so the school that has had every kid pass the TAKS can implement it differently than the school with struggling kids,” said Morrison.
Full-scale adoption of the Fast ForWord program will commence in the 2009-10 school year. The reading intervention software is being installed this summer, and staff members will receive training in August and early September.
About Scientific Learning Corp.
Scientific Learning creates educational software that accelerates learning by improving the processing efficiency of the brain. Based on more than 30 years of neuroscience and cognitive research, the Fast ForWord® family of products provides struggling readers with computer-delivered exercises that build the cognitive skills required to read and learn effectively. Scientific Learning Reading Assistant™ combines advanced speech recognition technology with scientifically-based courseware to help students strengthen fluency, vocabulary and comprehension to become proficient, life-long readers. The efficacy of the products has been established by more than 550 research studies and publications. For more information, visit www.scientificlearning.com or call toll-free 888-358-0212.