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Rotary Club sponsors computer programme for remedial students

Rotary Club sponsors computer programme for remedial students

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The Georgetown Secondary School will be launching an innovative computer-based remedial programme for 20 First Form students, with the help of the local Rotary Club as well as international donors.{{more}}

On March 4th, the St. Vincent Rotary club presented a sponsorship cheque totaling EC$1,050 to the school, sponsoring five students to use the Computer Assisted Literacy Solution (CALS) programme for one year. In total, Vincentian and American donors contributed EC$4,200 towards the sponsorship of students.

CALS is a Rotary International programme that allows sponsored students to access Autoskill’s Academy of Reading and Academy of Math software for up to a year. Autoskill’s programmes have demonstrated success in increasing reading and math scores in low-performing students, and are designed to raise a child’s literacy or math proficiency by two grade levels in 25 hours of training. This programme is used in a number of Caribbean countries – including as part of a violence prevention programme in Jamaica and in public schools in the Bahamas – as well as to promote adult literacy in Mustique, but the programmes have never been implemented in mainland St. Vincent.

In 2009, Georgetown Secondary School received a grant from the Social Investment Fund to purchase 20 new computers for the creation of a learning resource centre at the school.

“In the past year, the remedial programme at Georgetown Secondary has been utilizing the school’s new computer lab to help struggling students learn to read,” explained Shannon Lincoln, a Peace Corps Volunteer and remedial reading teacher at GSS. “The difference it has made in students’ focus and concentration is remarkable. Students have a strong interest in technology, and combining computers with remedial instruction seems like a natural fit.”

All of the students selected to be sponsored are in Form 1, and all, when initially tested, entered GSS reading at or below a 1st grade reading level.

Young, the Form, English and Remedial teacher for the class, encouraged parents during a recent parent-teacher conference to continue to strive to support their children in all possible ways. She further encouraged them to become more involved as “we, parents and teachers, try to help these students attain literacy.”

Although excited about this opportunity for twenty students, Lincoln hopes to see a day when remedial software will be available to all struggling readers, both at Georgetown Secondary and throughout St. Vincent: “Software like Academy of Reading and Academy of Math has the ability to provide differentiated education in a way that is often impossible in a classroom setting. My hope is that this approach will be embraced and that soon more students will be able to benefit from computer-based remediation.”

The CALS program will be officially launched at the beginning of next term.