Certified Learning Welcomed on the High Plains of Texas

Lubbock, Texas sits high on a windy plain, atop what is known as the “Caprock of Texas.” This area is one of the most recently settled areas of the entire United States. Why? One answer is weather. For years, tornadoes, hailstorms, lightning strikes, windstorms, blizzards, unpredictable rains and lack of surface water discouraged all but the very hearty from settling these wide open spaces.  There were no trees, little topography and therefore little protection from the elements. This vast grassland was reportedly named the “Llano Estacado” or “Staked Plains” by the Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado who,  when striking out across its expanse, was reported to have driven stakes along the way so that he could navigate his way back across the seemingly endless plain.

Innovative approaches were the way of the pioneers, who lived in half-dugouts (no trees for wood) and warmed themselves with cow chips, long before coal was available or the area’s vast resources of oil, natural gas and wind were discovered and harnessed.

Today, the area is still a center of innovation and pioneering spirit.  Perhaps this spirit makes it a perfect place to become one of the newest seedbeds of SOI Certified Learning.

White Settlement ISD in Fort Worth and Sweetwater ISD in Sweetwater have led the way in the implementation of Certified Learning in the state of Texas. They are joined by Lubbock-Cooper ISD (whose various campuses have benefited from SOI methods continually since the early 1990s), Slaton ISD Primary and Elementary campuses, Shallowater ISD Intermediate, and Southcrest Christian Primary in implementing Certified Learning.

These Certified Learning campuses have SOI Integrated Practice Protocol (IPP) Learning Labs as part of their interventions. They are joined by Southcrest Elementary and Secondary schools, Sharp Academy, Levelland Christian School, and Trinity Christian Elementary and Secondary schools.

Certified Learning is a classroom instructional system with five integrated elements. These elements are based on the principles of Total Quality Management – continuous measurement of performance, early detection of performance failures, systematic procedures to quickly eliminate the failures detected, documentation of all aspects of the operation (measurement, failure detection, failure remediation, and resultant performance), and evaluation of overall system performance.

Utilizing Certified Learning for Kindergarten

Kindergarten classroom teachers are fully trained and conduct their own Certified Learning programs for one and a half hours every day for each kindergarten and transition first grade class.

Slaton ISD has five full conventional Certified Kindergarten implementations at Stephen F. Austin Primary, the district’s Pre-K campus. Southcrest Christian School has also added Certified Learning for every kindergarten classroom and a transitional first grade class.

Utilizing Certified Learning as an Elementary Intervention

Lubbock-Cooper North Elementary, Lubbock-Cooper West Elementary and Slaton ISD’s Cathelene Thomas Elementary have implemented Certified Learning as an early intervention program at their elementary campuses.  Approximately twenty percent of the students on these campuses in the early grade levels benefit from K–2 Certified Learning as well as older elementary students seen in SOI Integrated Practice Protocol (IPP) Labs.

Utilizing Certified Learning as an Intermediate Intervention

Shallowater ISD, a neighboring district has embarked on a most innovative implementation of Certified Learning at its Intermediate School, grades two, three, and four. Administrators have elected to “certify” that all students in their building have the necessary concepts and abilities to prepare them for middle school. Students with significant gaps in their learning are placed in a Certified Learning level that best represents their true academic achievement levels. Students reacquaint themselves with concepts not fully attained or missed altogether due to various situations and certify – typically with ninety percent accuracy – that they are able to progress to the next academic level required. This successful “No Gap Intervention” strengthens visual skills and increases intrinsic motivation.

Excitement and empowerment are words being used by these teachers as they and their students reap the benefits of being able to “certify” that the individual educational needs of students in their classes are being met and they are reaching their goal of truly leaving no student behind!

This article, written by Renee Anderson, was originally published in our October 2013 newsletter.

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