Students at Fair Oaks Ranch and Golden Oak Community Schools got a special gift today from Pardee Homes that will help them stay ahead of the technology curve.
Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund issued grants totaling $5,000 the schools for the expansion of “Smart Classrooms” and an accelerated reading program that are contributing to academic excellence among students.
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Joyce Mason, Vice President of Marketing for Pardee Homes, a subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser, today presented checks from the Foundation to Marie Stump, Fair Oaks Ranch Community School principal, and Gayle Abril, Golden Oak Community School principal.
The presentation ceremony occurred at Golden Oak Community School with students from both campuses in attendance. The schools are located in Pardee Homes communities in the Santa Clarita area of Los Angeles County.
“Weyerhaeuser and Pardee Homes recognize maintaining a high quality of life in our communities means continued support of our educational institutions,” Mason said. “The Smart Classroom project at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School and the Accelerated Reading Program at Golden Oak Community School are highly successful in large part because of dedicated teachers and administrators. We are very happy to contribute to continued achievements in these programs.”
Golden Oak Community School opened in 2008 and is located in Pardee Homes’ planned Golden Valley Ranch master-planned community in Canyon Country. Golden Oak school utilizes a computer-based reading assessment program so instructors can assess a student’s reading ability and set individual reading goals. The Weyerhaeuser grant will help pay for program supplies.
“Academic excellence begins with reading. We believe there is a direct correlation between Golden Oak achieving high state test scores and our Accelerated Reading Program,” Abril said.
Fair Oaks Ranch Community School opened in 2002 and is located in Pardee Homes’ Fair Oaks Ranch master-planned community in Canyon Country. The Weyerhaeuser grant will help pay for a Smart Board – a type of interactive whiteboard proven to improve the learning environment – for one classroom.
“On behalf of both Golden Oak and Fair Oaks schools and the Sulphur Spring School District, we thank Weyerhaeuser and Pardee Homes for their continued support,” Stump said.
The company’s donations have made it possible for students at both schools to keep up with technology advances.
Golden Oak School -
At Golden Oak Community School, the art of learning to read and comprehending what is read, is a highly-regarded skill. This grant would be used to purchase incentives and rewards for students who reach their individualized reading goal. Golden Oak Community School serves 480 students in grades kindergarten through sixth.
Accelerated Reading is a program that combines reading and technology. It begins with each student taking a placement test on the computer which, depending on their score, gives the range of the reading ability of the child. Based on the ability of the student, a reading goal or a number of points they must reach is assigned. Goals look different for each student.
Once a student has taken their placement test and been given a goal, they begin the task of earning points. Students select a book that is within their reading range. All of our books in the library are color coded. These color codes correlate to a reading range. Students know, for example, if they should look for a yellow dot or red dot book. (Color codes are aligned with the same system used in public libraries.)
Students read the book then take a comprehension test on the computer about the book they just finished. To get the points from the book read, a student must answer the questions with 85% accuracy. The 2011/2012 school year is the fourth year that Golden Oak has implemented our Accelerated Reading Program. The school is proud to state it has the highest success rate in the District. School administrators believe this is due to their Reading Celebrations.
When a student reaches their Reading Goal, they are given a “Golden Ticket” that allows them to attend a Pancake Breakfast that is held before school. Should a student go beyond and reach 150% of their goal while maintaining 85% accuracy, they can earn a certificate, medal, pin and trophy. Students receive their awards at an assembly where their parents join them on stage. This has proven to be a very proud moment for the family to share.
Academic success comes in the form of our Academic Performance Index (API) score, which is assigned by the State of California. Golden Oak’s API score is 903, the highest in the Sulphur Springs School District. School administrators believe there is a direct correlation between academic success and the school’s success in its Accelerated Reading Program. At the end of each reading goal period, school officials review the number of students reaching their goal.
This past school year, more than 90% of the students reached their goal. Each period has some variable, but approximately 75% of those students go on to earn the 150% award. This success is tracked not only at a site level but also by the District Office. With all tests being taken on the computer, data is very easily accessible. Officials watch student’s reading ranges shift upwards and track their reading progress during the course of each goal period.
Fair Oaks Ranch School -
Since its opening in 2002, Fair Oaks Ranch School has been in the forefront of technology and providing the best learning opportunities to the technology savvy generation of learners. In addition to Differentiated Reading Time, English Language Development and Standards based instruction, school officials ensure that students are challenged and have exposure to the latest technology that will get them ready for their future educational journey.
Officials believe that student learning is enriched in a Smart Classrooms. This infusion of technology into daily instructional strategies engages students in learning as well as accommodates different learning styles. Smart Classrooms bridge the gap between traditional learning and instruction with advanced technology that our new generation of learners is exposed to, as well as help save the environment.
When Fair Oaks Ranch opened its doors, it was furnished with a total of three Emacs in each classroom (one teacher and two student computers) and a state-of-the-art computer lab with 32 Emacs and access to internet. Due to lack of education funding, the school has not been able to keep up with the advancement of technology in the recent years.
Grants have been a valuable source to purchase laptops and printers. Grants have also provided funding for 3rd-6th grade classrooms to be transformed into Smart Classrooms (Smart Board, instead of regular whiteboard, laptop computers, document camera, projector, and required wiring for each classroom).
Funding will continue the school’s commitment to providing the best educational opportunities to students by maintaining the high expectations and access to the latest technology. Instructors will be able to tap into different learning styles and abilities, engaging students in the learning process, as we provide the traditional standard based instruction. Use of document cameras and interactive smart boards will help reduce the usage of paper in form of work sheets, or Xeroxed material, helping the environment as well as saving money in the long run.
Students in Smart classrooms will be able to participate in various academic competition with students across the continents, go on virtual field trips (due to lack of funding, all field trips have been canceled), learn how to use technology as instructional and learning tool, and be able to take an active role in learning and instruction using the interactive capability of Smart boards. This grant and PTA fundraisers will help with completing the project in K-2 classrooms, and through purchasing wireless airport, which provides wireless access throughout the campus.