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Programs introduced at Warm Springs School to improve learning

September 01, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER
  • Seventh-grade students Samantha Walter (left) and Makenah Harrington tried out the new STAR computer program on Wednesday. Assistant principal Lora Puffenberger (back left to right), Reading Interventionist Adriene Derby, Principal Gene Brock and Math Interventionist Sally McCumbee worked with students in the computer lab at Warm Springs Middle School in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
Photo by Trish Rudder,

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- The goal is to help students learn, and Warm Springs Middle School has introduced new programs this school year to make it happen.

Principal Gene Brock said the statewide schools LINKS program is new to Morgan County Schools.

"We are excited, especially for our sixth-graders," Brock said Wednesday.

The program was started "so that every student can have a voice," assistant principal Lora Puffenberger said.

Each student has a mentor at school, and this year LINKS connects them to a related arts teacher, in art, physical education, music or health, Brock said.

"If a child has an interest in music, the student will have a music teacher as their LINKS adviser," Puffenberger said.

Students are assigned a "caring adult that works in the school system," Brock said.

It was introduced as a pilot program at Martinsburg High School in Berkeley County, W.Va., where it was successful, he said.

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The Response to Intervention (RTI) program also is new this year at the middle school. The program identifies students' learning levels and teaches to those levels, Brock said.

The RTI is made up of Tiers 1, 2 and 3 with Tier 1 having the majority of students that are successful in the regular classes. The advanced learners also are in Tier 1, he said.

Tier 2 students will benefit from more-specific interventions designed to meet the individual student's needs, he said.

The Tier 3 students are at a lower learning level, and they will receive intensive instruction or interventions that might be provided in an alternate setting, he said.

This goes hand in hand with the school's new computer lab, where students can learn at individualized levels on 65 computers, Brock said.

Students can take advantage of individualized learning from the Odyssey program in math and language arts, he said.

Teachers assign computer lab learning to help students grasp the subject and to raise them to a higher level, and it offers more challenging work to the Tier 1 students, Brock said.

Another program that is part of the computer lab is techSteps, which helps students learn how to use the computer to enhance learning, he said.

These are examples of 21st-century learning tools that are designed to help students incorporate the new technology available to Morgan County Schools, Brock said.

Warm Springs Middle School math interventionist Sally McCumbee was helping students in the new STAR program in the computer lab Wednesday.

"It sounds like it will really be helpful," she said.

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