Dec 1, 2010 7:27 PM by Melissa Hawkes
Saint Mary Parish students are steadily improving their academic performance. School officials are crediting technology embraced by the district a few years ago.
St. Mary Parish Superintendent, Donald Aguillard, said "we really are building the capacity of the brain to be more effective in handling the information."
Beginning in second grade students start coming to a computer lab for about forty minutes a day. Students think they are playing games on the computers, but actually they are doing language exercises.
Second grader, Trey Frederick, said "they tell you what to press and make noises."
Lessons are centered around sounds like this. Students have to pay attention to listen for patterns. A skill that tweaks their brain into performing better.
Teacher Erica Guiberteau said, "There are some kids who started off barely reading at all and now they are excelling at reading. "
The program launched in eight schools in the parish four years ago.
Aguillard said, "back in 2006, St. Mary Parish was a good five points below the state average."
Now the student's academic scores sit five points above the state average, taking them from a struggling school district to a model district for the rest of the state.