Contact: Erin Kampelman
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At-Risk Alice High School Students Pass TAKS, Recognized for Success With National Award

ST. LOUIS, Mo., September 22, 2008 -- With the help of educational software, thirty-six 11th graders at Alice High School in Alice, Texas are one step closer to graduation after passing the math and science Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), which they previously failed. In addition to helping them secure a diploma next May, their achievement has earned a national technology award. Alice High School’s achievement will be recognized at an awards ceremony at the school on Tuesday, September 30 at 1:30 p.m.

After 55 10th grade students failed the math and science TAKS assessments at the completion of the 2006-2007 school year, Alice High School Principal Berta Longoria established intensive targeted instruction and practice using educational software to prepare the students for the next assessment. Longoria utilized Orchard Software, which provides targeted instruction aligned to Texas’ state standards and practice in math, science and language arts.

“Through the targeted practice and support of Orchard math and science curriculum, 70 percent of these students passed the TAKS math and 65 percent passed the TAKS science,” said Longoria. “In particular, 20 students in math and 20 in science were predicted to be unsuccessful, but instead, they successfully mastered their TAKS tests.”

From January to May 2008, students spent 50 minutes a day, five days a week using Orchard Software to prepare to take the exam. The TAKS exam is derived from the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), Texas’ state curriculum standards. Orchard’s content is aligned to the TEKS.

Texas is stringent when it comes to grade promotion and testing. Students in grades 3, 5 and 8 must pass the TAKS in some subjects to advance. High school students must pass four exams to graduate.

As a result of the students’ success, Siboney Learning Group, publisher of Orchard Software, named Alice High School to receive the company's Leader in Instructional Technology Award. The Orchard Leader in Instructional Technology Award program recognizes educators across the United States who have embraced technology as a tool for delivering instruction, used it to its fullest potential, and experienced results. Criteria for nomination include regular use of educational technology and improvements in student performance related to its use; commitment of school staff to instructional technology; and educators' passion for their students' success.

Each quarterly honoree in the Orchard program is eligible to be selected as the winner of Orchard's annual Leader in Instructional Technology Award. The school recognized for excellence with this annual award will receive a prize package including an interactive whiteboard and Orchard Software.

About Orchard Software
Orchard is a comprehensive software solution designed to support regular classroom instruction and to help schools meet AYP goals in K-9 math, reading, writing, language arts, and science. Orchard's standards-based assessments, its targeted, motivating instruction, and its qualitative data reporting feature make it the choice of educators in more than 8,000 schools serving over 4 million students across the United States. Visit or call 1-800-351-1404 for information.