AEMing for Achievement Grant Success Stories
Teams: Charter School of the Dunes, Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County, East Allen County Schools, Elkhart Community Schools, Goshen Community Schools, Greenwood Community Schools, Jay County Schools, Logansport School Corporation, Manchester Community Schools, Monroe County Community School Corporation, MSD of Wabash County, North Knox School Corporation, Perry Township Schools, School City of Mishawaka, School Town of Munster, Southwest Allen County Schools, Westfield Washington Schools, and Zionsville Community Schools
Discussions around appropriate assistive technology are now routine in Zionsville Community Schools, a third year returning AEM team. This year they completed an Assistive Technology (AT) evaluation for a preschool student who demonstrated difficulty in writing due to cerebral palsy. Based on the results of the evaluation, the Case Conference Committee determined tools to support her writing and overall access to the curriculum setting the student up for success before even entering Kindergarten. The Zionsville team notes this event as a sign of progress in their district accessibility practices and a major win for the student for years to come!
With the requirement to wear masks this school year, there is an added barrier to educators projecting their voice for students to hear. The PATINS Project recommended a fourth grade teacher in East Allen County Schools to use a classroom audio system to increase student access to lessons. By making a simple and easy change to the classroom environment, one of her student’s reports she can “focus and learn and use what she [the teacher] is saying on the test.”
Last year’s North Knox student has received access to curricular text with read aloud software for her entire 6th grade year. The continued efforts to provide Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) is paying off as she shows growth in independent reading skills. Her family is elated about her academic progress and independence!
Westfield Washington has participated in the AEMing for Achievement grant process for multiple years. To gain a better understanding of the impact of their work, they sent a survey to all their high school students. Seventy-five percent of students responded they are interested in technology support for writing. Word prediction, language supports, and speech recognition in writing software allow all students to demonstrate their knowledge at a deeper level.
Teams: Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation, Charter School of the Dunes, East Allen County Schools, Goshen Community Schools, Greenwood Community School Corporation, Logansport Community School Corporation, Manchester Community Schools, Michigan City Area Schools, The Neighborhood Charter Network, North Knox School Corporation, Peru Community Schools, Southern Hancock County Community School Corporation, Westfield-Washington Schools, and Zionsville Community Schools
A fifth grade student, in North Knox School Corporation, who disliked leaving her classroom to have quizzes and tests read aloud. She did not feel singled out because of this, but rather she felt she was inconveniencing the school staff. The AEM team excitedly shared the uPAR results that the student could read on grade level with human audio. Based on the data, the student was provided Snap&Read and after a few months began to comprehend content all the way up to grade 7. The student's mother reports she can access text independently and that she is gaining more confidence. The only concern her mother has is whether or not the district would provide Snap&Read moving forward.
"His eyes lit up and a smile broke out across his face because the playing field was leveled for him. He could access the same materials as his peers in real time. It was powerful for me to witness and life changing academically for him." - EL teacher at Greenwood Middle School commenting on the moment her student discovered his reading assignment was written in Mandarin.
A general education teacher at Logansport Junior High School uses uPAR, Snap&Read, and Co:Writer with all her students. The amazing data from uPAR has "...helped her understand how her students comprehend literature and also how literature needs to be presented to them so they can succeed." Snap&Read and Co:Writer "...helps her students understand and interpret text information and also assists them with synthesizing their own writing..." Her students love Co:Writer!
"I downloaded Snap&Read on my laptop that I use for school. I have found it very useful for mainly my English and occasionally Chemistry class. It has helped me be more organized throughout my school work and gives me more confidence in my writing abilities." - A tenth grade honor student in Greenwood Community Schools
Teams: Charter School of the Dunes, Decatur County Community Schools, Madison-Grant United School Corporation, Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation, Tippecanoe School Corporation, Wabash City Schools, and Zionsville Community Schools
Fourth-grade students in one AEM district have quickly become accustomed to using Snap&Read and Co:Writer. These students report feeling less stressed and having more time to complete their work, especially on eLearning days. They find it easy to turn in assignments virtually with the assistance of Co:Writer. The school staff said, “This is the first year in a long time we are ahead of the game in providing accessible educational materials.” The tools provided by the AEMing for Achievement grant benefitted all students, whether they required services and materials through an IEP or not.
When an AEM team analyzed data from the uPAR tool, they made a significant discovery. A seventh grader demonstrated abilities which surpass her current special education programming. Currently, she is pursuing a Certificate of Completion and demonstrates a below 4th-grade independent reading level. However, when provided with human audio or a text reader, she is able to respond to comprehension questions with 92% accuracy on a grade level informational text. Based on these results, her team is now discussing changes to her programming and a possible re-evaluation. She is being recommended for the higher level resource reading and math classes. Her IEP was updated to include read-aloud accommodations. The AEMing for Achievement grant uncovered this student’s academic potential which is positively affecting her social and emotional success!
Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation began the grant process with a single student in mind. This particular high school student gets headaches, becomes dizzy, and has seizures when reading printed text. Although the school was providing a one-on-one paraprofessional to read aloud text in her honors level classes, this was becoming a potentially harmful effect. The student would ask to do her work in an empty room since she felt she was disrupting her peers. When the student attempted homework, her mother would have to read aloud notes or text for any information she did not recall. With the district-wide rollout of Snap&Read, the student can now remain in class with her peers, has achieved passing grades, gained independence at home, and has had no seizures at school for the second semester.
Teams: Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County, Greencastle Community School Corporation, Hamilton Southeastern Schools, Manchester Community Schools, MSD of Decatur Township, School City of Mishawaka, Shoals Community School Corporation, and Westfield Washington Schools
“Sam” is a 2nd grader who struggled in reading despite the implementation of different strategies. His Case Conference Committee considered placement in the Functional Academics Program, but the Assistive Technology team suggested administering uPAR. The results revealed that “Sam” does struggle with decoding on grade level texts. However, his comprehension, when provided a text reader, is above grade level. Now, he uses Text-To-Speech and Speech-To-Text to access grade-level content. He is an active and independent participant in his learning.
The Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) team developed students’ proficiency in the use of Snap&Read and Co:Writer insofar that students trained adult staff. One of these student-teachers is a 6th grader named “Matthew”. Before exposure to these tools, he had difficulty making the adjustment to his new school and family situation. Afterward, he became engaged, motivated, and re-discovered his confidence. He remarked, “The teachers are always teaching me new things. Now, I got to teach them how to do something. I feel really good!” While his reading level increased so did his grades and eagerness to continue to learn and grow at his new school.
“Derrick” and his classmates attended lunch at a restaurant in the community. When given a paper menu, he became distraught. His teacher noticed escalating behaviors. Quickly, she opened the online menu on her smartphone and launched Snap&Read. After the menu was read aloud, “Derrick” told the waitress his order and enjoyed the rest of the outing.
“Emily”, an honor track student, began having difficulty in AP Government class due to the complexity of the vocabulary. She became frustrated and stopped turning in assignments. Her teacher introduced the simplifying text feature of Snap&Read to the whole class. Now, she can connect the vocabulary to prior knowledge and work past her perceived limitations.