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A Pearson Education Technologies Success Story

Pleasure Ridge High School
Louisville, Kentucky
(Pearson Education Technologies' SuccessMaker)

Community Profile
The largest high school in suburban Louisville, Pleasure Ridge Park High School serves over 1,900 students in grades 9-12 as part of the Jefferson County Public Schools.

Challenge and Goals

Improving On-Time Graduation Rates
Pleasure Ridge Park High School Lab Manager Judy Snyder had started using SuccessMaker® as an instructor at one of Jefferson County’s eight vocational high schools. In 1989, approval was given to award academic credit for successfully completing SuccessMaker instruction. When Jefferson County Public Schools dissolved their vocational schools in 1991, the district needed a way to help both their former vocational students and other students struggling in regular classrooms meet graduation requirements. In 1992, Jefferson County set up a computer lab at Pleasure Ridge Park to give students who have failed courses a chance to make up academic credits using SuccessMaker. 

“Many of the students I see in the Pearson Education Technologies lab are really bright students who are underchallenged or have lousy attendance,” said Judy Snyder. For some students, the lab is the only feasible way for them to make up the credits. “An 18 or 19 year old senior who needs to make up freshman English doesn’t want to sit in a class full of freshmen,” Snyder said. “And since summer school and correspondence classes are tuition-based, they aren’t an option for many students.” 

Providing Individual Instruction for At-Risk Students 
Run by Lab Manager Judy Snyder and a full-time instructional aide, the computer lab at Pleasure Ridge Park served 250 students during the 1999-2000 school year. Each student using the lab had failed one or more courses in a regular classroom setting. 

Participating students are scheduled for one hour-long class period each day at the 24-computer lab. They work individually to make up course credits by completing SuccessMaker courses such as Reader’s Workshop, Reading Investigations, Critical Reading Skills, Fundamentals of English, Writing Process and Skills, Algebra Topics, Math Enrichment, GEDR, Science Discovery, and Essentials of Living and Working. According to Judy Snyder, the individual nature of the SuccessMaker coursework has been a big success with students. “If they need help in the lab, we’ll help them one-on-one until they understand it and then we walk away,” said Snyder. 
Students also have the option to drop in during free periods and sign on to any open computer. “We extend an open-door policy to our students, so if they have a substitute teacher or have finished their work early, they can come in and use the lab,” said Snyder. 

Before beginning SuccessMaker instruction, Snyder administers the TABE to assess their skill levels in reading and mathematics. Any students who test at or below the fifth-grade level are given pencil-and-paper reviews before starting the courseware. “It’s important to bring students to a point where they can be successful before starting Pearson Education Technologies instruction,” said Snyder. 

New students also benefit from the individualized instruction. “Students who start in the middle of the semester are often able to make up the instruction they missed using SuccessMaker,” said Judy Snyder. In addition, Pleasure Ridge Park uses the lab for GED classes two nights a week. According to Snyder, “SuccessMaker has been the difference between passing and failing the GED for some students.” 

Remarkable Results

Using SuccessMaker to Graduate on Schedule 
During the fall semester of the 2000-2001 school year, Pleasure Ridge Park awarded 139 half-credits to students who used SuccessMaker to successfully complete freshman and sophomore English, Algebra 1, Geometry 1, Pre-Algebra, and ninth-grade science courses that they had previously failed in a regular classroom setting. The lab also offers credit for a life skills elective. 

To help students graduate on schedule, Judy Snyder often invites them to use the lab during the two nights a week it is open for GED classes. Students who take advantage of this extra time have earned as many as four credits in one year through SuccessMaker instruction. 

According to Snyder, the program is a success with both students and staff. “Most of the students love the Pearson Education Technologies instruction because they can do it on their own. One student made up four half-credits this semester. Without this program, she wouldn’t graduate.” 

Pleasure Ridge Park graduates an average of 400 students per year. Every year, approximately 100 students-one quarter of those graduating-use SuccessMaker to earn at least one of the 21 credits they need to graduate. 

“My counselors love the program,” said Snyder. “It’s been a place to put students who can’t work in a bigger classroom, who are loners, or who don’t like class participation. SuccessMaker has been a real plus for a lot of kids.”

For more information on how Pearson Education Technologies can help you achieve results, visit http://www.pearsonedtech.com or call 888/627-5327; Canada and other international locations: 800/400-6192.

About Pearson Education Technologies
Headquartered in Mesa, Arizona, Pearson Education Technologies is a business of Pearson Education, global leader in integrated educational publishing. Pearson Education is a part of Pearson plc, whose primary operations also include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.
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