[MultiMedia Schools] Success Stories 
Click Here to visit Pearson Digital Learning
A Pearson Digital Learning Success Story

The Charter School of Excellence
Broward County School District
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
(Pearson Digital Learning SuccessMaker)

“Prior to implementing Pearson Digital Learning SuccessMaker in our school, we did not integrate computer technology into the curriculum. Since we have blended SuccessMaker into our academics, students’ test scores have risen along with their desire to learn.”
— Robert Haag, President/Co-Founder, The Charter School of Excellence


  • During the 2001-2002 school year, students in grades 1 and 3 made reading gains of over a year during a nine-month period using Pearson Digital Learning SuccessMaker®.

  • During the 2001-2002 school year, students in grades 1 and 3 made math gains of almost two years during a nine-month period 

School District Profile
The Charter School of Excellence, Inc. is a non-profit corporation located in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida. The school serves students in kindergarten through grade 6, with an enrollment of 250. The Charter School of Excellence is a part of Broward County Schools enrolling 250,000 students. The school population is 53 percent African-American, 35 percent Caucasian, 8 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent Asian, American Indian, and multiracial. The Charter School of Excellence is one of the premier charter schools in the nation. It has been a national leader in promoting strong academics and achievement for all students. Plans are to build a new school in the next two years, equipped with a computer lab and a facilitator to ensure that the computer curriculum is being utilized to its utmost potential.

The challenge at the Charter School of Excellence is to integrate technology into the curriculum and increase basic skills development. One goal is to provide the students with a minimum of eighteen hours of computer time each semester-nine hours devoted to reading, and nine to mathematics. In pursuit of these goals, the school became interested in incorporating the SuccessMaker courseware into the existing curriculum.

Pearson Digital Learning SuccessMaker was implemented at the Charter School of Excellence in 1998 and has yielded successful results every year since. All students at the school are given the opportunity to participate in the program. They use the SuccessMaker courseware five days a week for 30 minutes per session. Courses include Initial Reading, Reader’s Workshop, Reading Adventures, and Math Concepts and Skills.

The program has been effective for several reasons. At the start of the school year, teachers are given two weeks of time devoted to staff development and planning. During those weeks, teachers participate in extensive in-services, two days of which are devoted to SuccessMaker instruction. There are also days dedicated to learning to use data from the SuccessMaker management system to improve and target student instruction. 

At the beginning of the school year, teachers enter classrooms filled with new students of varying academic levels. In order to provide effective instruction, it is necessary to create homogeneous groups based on abilities. Many teachers do not wish to wait for county baseline testing to determine accurate levels in order to begin instruction, so they use SuccessMaker to assess the levels of their students, and then create reading and math groups based on abilities. Teachers also meet with parents early in the school year to discuss goals and the strategies to meet those goals. At that time, students already will have been using SuccessMaker to achieve a baseline score or initial placement level. The score is documented and used to monitor achievement and modify instruction.

SuccessMaker reports are sent home every quarter attached to student progress reports. Parents are encouraged to view the reports and volunteer their input. A final meeting with the parents is set in May to analyze the year’s final results. While it is not yet part of the process, the staff would like to place these reports in the child’s overall Personal Education Plan. “They are a great tool to report growth,” says Robert Haag, president and co-founder of the charter school.

The students benefit from SuccessMaker by receiving enrichment for skills in areas of difficulty and by learning new skills that may otherwise have come at a later time. “The students love to learn on the computer. SuccessMaker offers advantages in targeting the students who have difficulties in fine motor functions and find it challenging to express themselves with paper and pencil. The user-friendly activities boost the students’ self esteem and offer rewarding outcomes that traditional instruction may lack,” says Haag.

Teachers are required to print out monthly reports to monitor the time students are devoting to math and reading. Reports are scrutinized to assess how often students ask for help, see if they are not completing sessions, monitor whether they need to advance to the next level of courseware, and more. An NCS Learn site representative comes in periodically to monitor progress and ensure the curriculum is being utilized effectively. Teachers also use SuccessMaker to address requirements by using printable supplemental worksheets focused directly on state standards. 

“Pearson Digital Learning SuccessMaker is presented in a challenging yet achievable format. The transition from level to level gives children the motivation, satisfaction, and opportunity to do work that they have never seen. Overall, SuccessMaker gives students exposure, practice, and mastery of reading and math skills aligned with Florida’s Sunshine State Standards,” according to Haag.

The Charter School of Excellence has experienced an increase in student achievement every year since its implementation of SuccesssMaker in 1998.


Students in the 1st grade have made reading and math
gains of over a year in a nine-month time frame. 
Students in the 3rd grade made gains of over two years
in reading and math in a nine-month time frame.

According to one teacher’s observation of her class, “Students were given an opportunity to play educational games, but they chose to go to the computers and work on SuccessMaker instead. The students always race to the computers, jumping over the board games.”

The Charter School of Excellence was the first charter school in Florida to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Its leadership and successful implementation of SuccessMaker have been central to building a strong academic program where all students can succeed. Due to the school’s achievements with the product, district administrators examined its programs and recommended SuccessMaker for all the public schools in the district. 

For more information on how Pearson Digital Learning 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 Digital Learning
Headquartered in Mesa, Arizona, Pearson Digital Learning 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.
[MultiMedia Schools]
Success Stories
[Information Today Inc.]
Information Today Home Page
[MultiMedia Schools]
Home Page
[Current Issue]
Copyright © 2002, Information Today Inc. All rights reserved.