California schools interested in how Fast ForWord is working in Picayune

Published 12:40 am Sunday, December 14, 2008

Three representatives of a California school district toured Picayune elementary schools Wednesday to gain a better understanding of how the Fast ForWord program could help their students academically.

Use of Fast ForWord software in the Picayune School District started with only two schools and has since grown to being used district wide due to its success, said Scientific Learning Sr. Account Manager John Edmonds.

Fast ForWord is a computer literacy program that the Picayune School District reports has used to help its students advance in reading level by as much as an average of a year in two month’s time.

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Arturo Ortega, assistant superintendent for California’s Baldwin Park Unified School District, and two other representatives of the district cameto Picayune to learn how the software has been able to acchieve so much success in Picayune’s school district. Ortega said the superintendent of the California school district heard of Picayune’s success from retired Jackson County superintendent Rucks Robinson, a consultant to the Picayune district, and determined his district needed to learn how that success was achieved, resulting in the visit by Ortega and the other two Baldwin Park representatives.

“I chose Picayune because the success story here has been so tremendous,” Robinson said.

There are about 20 schools in the Baldwin Park district, 12 of which are elementary schools, Ortega said. In that district, there are a total of about 17,000 students. Those students could benefit from the use of Fast ForWord the way Picayune’s students have, if the Baldwin Park district decides to use it.

Ortega said his school district has used a portion of the program in the past, but in a different manner. The trip to Picayune gave him and other members of the school district an opportunity to see how it is used differently here. He said what he saw during his trip is a night-and-day difference, compared to how that part of the program has been implemented in California.

The information they gathered during their trip will be taken back for the district to consider.