Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Carletta Christianson informs us of St. Theresa Catholic School, Kekaha, HI National School of Excellence Award.
The students and teachers at St. Theresa School have reason to be proud of the progress they have made since they began using the Renaissance Lighthouse learning program for math and reading three years ago. The program is a computer based program (which originated in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, incidentally) using accelerated software tools coupled with interactive keyboards. Reading and math preparedness uses lessons and practice tests that gauge a student’s level. The company is only 30 years old and is used in more than a third of the nation’s schools, and in more than 60 countries.
Recently St. Theresa’s, with an enrollment of 80 students, was honored with the program’s national School of Excellence award for the dramatic leaps students made when it came to reading comprehension. They were the first in Hawaii to win the award and only the fifth nationally. According to the school’s ceremony announcement, only a handful of these awards have been given out.
A few examples of the advances that were made:
- a seventh grader reached a 12th grade reading level. He says it takes him away from the problems of life, and is full of things he is interested in;
- the pre-school has seen a 56 percent increase in phonics; early literacy in kindergarten increased 94 percent faster than the national growth rate, while the first grade increased 83 percent faster;
- in one year one 7th grade girl went from a sixth grade reading level to 10th grade level.
The goal of the students was to read 2,000 books during this school year; they actually finished 5,000. The interest that has come through the program, has positively impacted other subjects, even impacting reading for the preschoolers.
Math scores also rose. In grades 3 through 8, 84 percent of the students are now at or above the national math benchmarks. Due to this program, some students will be moving on to algebra two.