Monday, May 30 , 2016, 3:09 am | Overcast 59º

Orcutt Students Still Logged In to Learning Over Winter School Break

Online Compass Learning program gives kids an interactive path to academic growth

By Gina Potthoff, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @ginapotthoff |

Students at Ralph Dunlap Elementary School in Orcutt sat quietly in a darkened computer room, headphones over their ears, faces focused on the screens in front of them, and computer mouse clicks as the only outside noise.

Before winter break earlier this month, students using the Orcutt Union School District’s new online teaching tool had their final computer lab session, but teachers were hopeful that won’t be the last the kids see of the program until classes resume in January.

Many educators sent notes home with their students, encouraging them to access Compass Learning via their home computers or those at the library over winter break.

Compass Learning, which was implemented districtwide last month, creates individual learning folders — or “learning paths” — and assignments for students according to how they score on an online assessment. Three schools were part of a pilot project last school year.

Because of the initial program’s success, students at each of the Orcutt district’s 10 schools now spend 30 minutes twice a week in the computer lab to complete a series of five-minute online activities.

Kathleen Stevenson supervised Ralph Dunlap first-, second- and fifth-graders through their activities and quizzes on a recent morning, answering questions when students got stuck on math or reading problems.

“It’s to offer both intervention and enrichment,” Stevenson said. “It’s interactive. Parents can actually log in, too.”

Ralph Dunlap teacher Jacqueline Plumey said she goes into the program and builds lessons for each student depending on their academic level.

She said she’s already seeing some subtle signs of academic growth in those students who are ahead and also those who have fallen behind.

“This is great, and because they get to do it at home their parents can follow along,” said Plumey, noting that parents can see how their children are scoring. “You get to adjust it to their needs; all different learning levels.”

Plumey, who has taught in the Orcutt district for 17 years, assisted her first- and second-graders as they diligently worked through math problems with a pencil and scratch paper at their side.

In addition to improving knowledge, Plumey said, students also are learning about the importance of computers at a young age.

“Starting from first grade, they get technological skills right away,” she said. “I do see improvement. Kids don’t have concepts of leveling. This is like a video game but with educators. They love the graphics.”

Students are learning and having fun, which is another reason why Plumey was encouraging parents to keep the steady improvement going over break.

“This is the future of education right here,” she said.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.