Area school districts got a first hand look at the Lexia learning program during an instructional meeting at Skyline. The meeting included a visit to second grade classroom where students are successfully using the program.

Schools participating in the event were Pratt, Cunningham, Attica, Lewis, Bucklin and Fairfield.

Lexia is a personalized learning program that accelerates reading skills development and is designed to meet rigorous state reading standards. This technology-based approach accelerates reading skills development, predicts student’s year-end performance and provides teachers with data-driven action plans to help designate instruction.

Currently, 206 Skyline Elementary students have completed 27,781 Lexia Units, each closing a skill gap or deficiency with 71 percent of students meeting their year-end benchmarks.

The goal is for 100 percent of students to be at-grade or above level.

Skyline Elementary Principal Becca Flowers said the program helps students drill down and discover skills that might have been missed. It is definitely helping to fill in some learning gaps. They have to complete a unit before they can move to the next.

Teachers agree that Lexia is a helpful part of the curriculum. It requires excellent teaching instruction, Flowers said.

The main advantage of the program is that it makes students better readers and improves comprehension.

Lexia is made available through a two-year grant and that will expire July 1, 2015. The district intends to apply for another grant to continue the program.

Second Grade Teacher Darci Poland said her students’ reading competencies have improved greatly at all levels.

Students that do well with comprehension and those that struggle are all improving with the program.

Students are placed in the program based on computer tests that determine the skill level of each student. Students have to put in a certain amount of time on each unit level that focuses on comprehension, spelling rules, sight words and understanding English.

Both Poland and the students love the program. If students are having trouble, she can help solve their problem. When students complete a unit they feel good about themselves.

The improvement in reading competencies is spilling into other areas. The new math program at Skyline requires a lot of reading and comprehension. Lexia is helping the students understand the math reading better.

Kirsten Blankenship, Southwest Elementary Assistant Principal said she wanted the staff to have the opportunity to see the program. They have a good curriculum in place and Lexia would be a good supplement.

They are already using Lexia for English as a Second Language.

“It’s a phenomenal tool and has a lot of value,” Blankenship said.

After viewing the presentation and visiting with the Skyline students participating in the program, Cunningham Principal Bob Stackhouse said it was a worthwhile program and the data proved it does help students.

He said it would be a good addition to their current curriculum. It can help make students more successful in life.

Lexia is used in conjunction with the Governor’s Kansas Reading Initiative. Currently, 296 Kansas Schools are participating in KRI and in one year the percentage of students working at grade level increase from 45 percent to 94 percent on the more rigorous reading standards.

The KRI is a two-year program designed to improve Kansas reading outcomes using educational technology, specifically Core5. It has a budget of up to $6 million in both 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 from the Tobacco Settlement Funds that provides as many as 50,000 k-5 students with free access to Lexia Core5 at no cost to schools in the pilot program as long as they continue to meet minimum program use requirements.

Educational Designs Solutions supports the statewide implementation and recognized Skyline Tuesday for their achievements in the program.

The Department of Children and Family Services manages KRI and The Kansas Cabinet for the children’s Initiatives Fund oversees it.