PAGES FOR KIDS ABOUT THE ACADEMY PROGRAMS

How we use to access the programs — with our marking and rewards charts.

Why using these programs is important and worthwhile.




PAGES FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS

A starting place for learning more about these programs.

Hardware and software needed to run the programs.

Solutions to common technical problems you may encounter.

How to help kids make best use of this software.

Ideas on how the programs might be made even better.

WHAT ARE THE ACADEMY PROGRAMS?

Written by THRIVE Program Teacher, Tyson Schoeber • Last Updated: 04.29.2017

The Academy of Reading and Academy of Math are online tutoring programs that are used in many schools throughout North America — including about a dozen here in Vancouver.

As part of their individualized learning plans, all THRIVE students are expected to use both programs at school on a regular basis.1 Both programs measure "time-on-task" (i.e. how long students spend actually answering questions) and the kids earn weekly marks that are incorporated into their grades each term.

A FEW BASICS

The earliest versions of the Academy programs were developed in Canada in the 1980s. As technology evolved, they were adapted for use on the Internet. While still based in Ottawa, the company that produces them was purchased by School Specialty several years ago.2 An impressive list of academic research papers and case studies have shown that the use of these programs is able to help children significantly improve their reading and math skills. With these things in mind, it should also be noted that THRIVE is able to provide access to these programs only because of the generosity of several local Rotary Clubs and a handful of private donors.3

HOW THEY WORK

Although they share a common foundation and sport a similar look, the Academy of Reading and Academy of Math are actually quite different programs!

Both offer individualized, highly-structured lessons and the ability to customize the interface to suit each student's age, gender and ethnicity. They both patiently explain new skills and offer a great deal of practice of the material being studied. In addition, it's worth noting that nearly everything students do during their time in either of these programs is recorded and accessible to me (as their teacher). That database is a rich resource that I use often to troubleshoot problems, guide learning and evaluate progress!


NOTES

1.   THRIVE students are also able to use these programs at home through the Internet. If you are interested in this option, this page explains how to get started.

2.   School Specialty is part of Educators Publishing Services, the publisher of a wide range of respected special education and general curriculum resources.

3.   One focus of Rotary's community service is improving LITERACY. To that end, they secured a contract with the publishers of the Academy software that makes somewhat scaled-down versions of the Reading and Math programs available to many children. Over time, THRIVE found need of the more-advanced features in the "full" versions of these programs. Rotary helped us there, too — and provided most of the funding for the purchase of a permanent, school-wide license for the Academy of Reading in 2012! We are currently looking for funding to purchase a similar license for the Academy of Math.