Grants Reward Educators Across the Nation for Focus on Increased Student Achievement, Innovative Teaching Practices and Closing the Achievement Gap

AUSTIN, TX — June 22, 2011 — CompassLearning, the leading provider of personalized education technology solutions for grades K–12, today announced the 2011 recipients of the CompassLearning Odyssey® Innovation Grant. The grant program is designed to celebrate outstanding examples of educational excellence through the innovative use of CompassLearning Odyssey in elementary and secondary schools in the U.S.
Grant winners and runners-up were selected in three categories: Closing the Achievement Gap, Innovative Teaching Practices and Increasing Student Achievement. Due to the high volume and quality of the submissions, the grant selection committee chose two winners instead of just one in the Closing the Achievement Gap category and awarded nine additional submissions with an Honorary Mention. Grant winners receive $3,000, runners-up receive $1,000 and honorary mention recipients receive $250.
“The recipients of this grant program celebrate their students’ significant gains in achievement as a result of the differentiated, personalized education that CompassLearning Odyssey provides,” stated Sally M. Reis, Ph.D., grant program chairperson and co-founder of Renzulli Learning, a division of CompassLearning. “These exceptional grant recipients provide skilled, differentiated instruction to close the achievement gap while they save precious time and increase learning to improve student outcomes.”
“The program keeps students focused by creating interactive models that allow students to have fun while they are learning,” said Joseph Hill, principal, General Mitchell Elementary School, a grant winner. “In our lab, there are times when students are simply laughing, counting out loud or reading as the program runs. They love it! They are completely engaged in what they are doing. Our students are now excited about going to the lab and ask to use the program when they have time in school and at home.”

Educators were recognized in each of the three following categories:
Closing the Achievement Gap Recipients
• Pamela Stahlak — Zamorano Fine Arts Academy, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego, CA
Summary: Stahlak, a 4th-grade teacher, challenged her largely disadvantaged and underperforming class to work together to earn a variety of prizes by completing thousands of Odyssey activities. The cooperative nature of the goals motivated students and, in the past school year alone, a single class completed 20,000 activities. Her students have also made impressive gains on the Northwest Evaluation Association ® (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP) assessments.
• Jason Byrd — Cliffside Elementary School, Rutherford County Schools, Rutherfordton, NC
Summary: Cliffside Elementary uses CompassLearning Odyssey to provide targeted support for a subgroup of economically disadvantaged students whose performance on state assessments was preventing the school from making annual yearly progress (AYP). Within 18 months of adopting Odyssey, Cliffside not only made AYP, but the school is now tied with the highest performing school in their district.
Runners Up:
• Nawal Nader-French — St. Vrain Valley School District, Longmont, CO
• Gen Phillips, Joe Kwisz — Anderson Preparatory Academy, Anderson, IN

Innovative Teaching Practices Recipients
• Joseph Hill — General Mitchell Elementary School, West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, West Allis, WI
Summary: General Mitchell Elementary School uses MAP data to create “Individualized Intervention Plans” for all students, then uses CompassLearning Odyssey to provide customized learning paths based on the MAP data. School leaders also encourage students to use Odyssey at home during breaks. As a result, students’ MAP scores between last fall and winter increased, on average, more than 20 points in math and reading.
Runners Up:
• Anthony Tartaglia, Michelle Harris and Ella Musser — Cocalico High School, Cocalico School District, Denver, PA
• Curt Angeli — Gillett Elementary School, Gillett Public Schools, Gillett, WI
• Gail Lee, Ralph Siglin, Steve Turney and Martha Elliott — Oakdale Elementary School, Rock Hill District Three, Rock Hill, SC

Increasing Student Achievement Recipients
• Sheri Fillipi and Toni Ray Christensen — Lewis and Clark Elementary School, South Sioux City Community Schools, South Sioux City, NE
Summary: Lewis and Clark Elementary focuses on analyzing MAP data to target instruction for students in small group or individualized settings. In an eight-week period, during which average growth is 2–4 points, the school saw growth from 9–24 points with second-grade ELL students.

Runners Up:
• Mario Fernandez — Stillwater High School, Stillwater Central School District, Stillwater, NY
• Angela Bibelhauser and Kimberly Hennessy — Hebron Middle School, Bullitt County Public Schools, Shepherdsville, KY
• Tanya Fernando — West Prep, Clark County, Las Vegas, NV

Honorable Mentions:
• Dale Comer — Coon Rapids High School, Anoka-Hennepin School District 11, Coon Rapids, MN
• Dr. Cindy Machado and Debbie Lindemeier — Wilson Elementary School, Miami Public Schools, Miami, OK
• Judi Inabinet and Angie Smith — Burgess Elementary School, Horry County Schools, Myrtle Beach, SC
• Joanelle Williams and Sandra Davis — Young Leaders Academy, Milwaukee, WI
• Tracy Craven, Lynn Hayes and Suzanne Moore — Oakdale Elementary School, Rock Hill District Three, Rock Hill, SC
• Kelly Fraase, Carrie Russell, Kim Frazier, Jen Cullen, Deb Harvey and Lisa Bostrom — Riverton Elementary School, Riverton School District, Riverton, IL
• Cory Tressler — Beaufort County School District, Beaufort, SC
• Paula Manning and Craig Hose — Bridges Community Academy, Tiffin, OH
• Holly Main and Shelda Morell — Highland Pines School, Tuscola Intermediate School District, Caro, MI

Learn more by visiting the CompassLearning Odyssey Innovation Grant information center.

About CompassLearning
CompassLearning, the leading provider of personalized education technology solutions, helps students achieve success through differentiated instruction, formative assessment and response to intervention. CompassLearning offers a portfolio of products, including Odyssey, a complete suite of K–12 digital curriculum that engages, educates and inspires thousands of students everyday. In 2010, CompassLearning acquired Renzulli Learning, a leader in practical classroom differentiation and high levels of student engagement. For more information about CompassLearning, visit

Company Contact:
Kerry Nelson

Press Contact:
Sue Hanson
PR with Panaché

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