Rural Ohio School Wins Grant for Innovative Cookie Academy Project Designed to Build Student Financial Literacy, Math and Reading Skills

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AutoSkill X-Factor Program Awards More Than $50,000 in Cash, Software and Services to Creative Programs Designed to Raise Student Achievement

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Opening a cookie-baking business. Creating a learning model based on the world of gaming. This year's award winners are demonstrative of the creative ways that educators combine engaging and motivating learning environments with effective intervention solutions to make student achievement soar

Students at Antwerp Local School District in Ohio will become young entrepreneurs this year as they launch a cookie-baking business designed to build their financial literacy, math and reading skills. As recipients of the grand prize in the Second Annual "District Administration" X-Factor Student Achievement Grant, teachers from the rural Ohio school will use a $20,000 cash prize, a one-year subscription to AutoSkill's award-winning reading and math intervention solutions and professional services package to start their innovative "Cookie Academy" and put special needs students in grades K-12 on the path to improved achievement.

Sponsored by AutoSkill International , the grant program challenges educators to demonstrate their "X-Factor" by submitting creative ideas for using the Academy of READING® or the Academy of MATH® from AutoSkill to raise reading and math achievement for at-risk, English language learner, low-income, minority or special education students. The grand-prize winner, two runner-up awards and five honorable mentions are featured in the January 2009 issue of "District Administration" magazine.

The winners were selected by a panel of "District Administration" editors who evaluated the submissions based on practicality, measurable outcomes, speed of implementation and scalability (whether the program is easily replicated at any size of school or district). Literacy advocate John Corcoran, author of "The Teacher Who Couldn't Read," participated as a guest judge to help the editors pare down the top 50 submissions.

"Opening a cookie-baking business. Creating a learning model based on the world of gaming. This year's award winners are demonstrative of the creative ways that educators combine engaging and motivating learning environments with effective intervention solutions to make student achievement soar," said Susan Koch, vice president of marketing, AutoSkill International. "AutoSkill is proud to support this award honoring the innovation of outstanding educators, and we look forward to following the success of their programs over the coming year."

Young learners at the grand-prize-winning Ohio public school will run the "Cookie Academy" with older students serving as "financial counselors." The young business owners will use AutoSkill's Academy of MATH to develop computational fluency and improve their financial literacy, confidence, self-esteem, motivation and ability to focus. With the company's Academy of READING, they will develop fluency in foundation reading skills in a classroom transformed into an interactive computing environment that integrates the AutoSkill programs with interactive whiteboards, projects and wireless tablets. The project will be implemented and documented by the school's Action Research Team - from software implementation to the sale of the first cookie.

"We were impressed by the number of creative entries that we received for this year's awards. Our judges had a difficult task, but agreed that Antwerp Local School District's 'Cookie Academy' reflected the true spirit of the X-Factor Student Achievement Awards," said Judy Faust Hartnett, editor, "District Administration." "We congratulate all of the winners and thank AutoSkill for collaborating with us on this important program recognizing the innovative ideas that educators all around the country use to ensure that all of their students are on the road to academic success."

In addition to the grand prize, two runner-up winners and five honorable mentions were selected. The runner-up awards include a one-year subscription for an unlimited site license of Academy of READING and Academy of MATH, as well as a professional services package from AutoSkill, and went to:

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School, Pa.
Building on the popularity of gaming with young people, the after-school program will use the Academy of READING and the Academy of MATH as part of its "Living and Learning Arcade." The program's 30 to 40 "Arcadians" will monitor their progress in the intervention solutions using a "living avatar" that they create and place in a display-sized maze. As they make progress in the programs, students will be given the opportunity to challenge each other in live and Nintendo Wii fitness activities.

Sulphur Bluff Independent School District, Sulphur Bluff, Texas
This rural district will use the Academy of READING and the Academy of MATH to improve student achievement, targeting its at-risk students, special education population, English language learners and struggling students who need more than teacher lectures to achieve. Students will use the intervention solutions to improve their TAKS scores in reading and math and be rewarded throughout the program with pizza parties and other incentives.

Honorable mentions in this year's grant program go to:

  • Capitol School, District #1, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Portsmouth Public Schools, Portsmouth, Va.
  • Cooperative Educational Services, Regional Education Service Center, Fairfield County, Conn.
  • Yonkers Public Schools, Yonkers, N.Y.
  • Buena Vista City Public Schools, Buena Vista, Va.

To read more about the Second Annual "District Administration" X-Factor Student Achievement Grant and this year's winners, visit http://www.districtadminstration.com.

About "District Administration"
"District Administration" (http://www.districtadministration.com) is produced by Professional Media Group, a magazine and online publisher and conference producer focused on education management. "District Administration" provides regular editorial coverage of presentation technology, IT and AV issues, including networking and facilities design and reaches more than 76,000 senior-level decision-makers in virtually every district in the United States. In addition, Professional Media Group electronically publishes a popular daily e-newsletter - "District Administration Daily."

About AutoSkill International
AutoSkill International delivers award-winning reading and math intervention solutions to close the achievement gap for K-12 students. Based on original neuroscience research and patented methodology, the company's flagship Academy of READING and Academy of MATH software helps educators develop intervention strategies that enable at-risk students to build fluency in the foundation skills of reading and math. Using a brain-based approach that incorporates automaticity, extended practice and motivation, AutoSkill solutions provide a universal mechanism for the development of permanent reading and math foundation skills. Students of all ages in a wide range of learning environments demonstrate significant progress with just 30 minutes of training a day, three to five days per week. For more information, visit http://www.autoskill.com.

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