Paraprofessionals convert lab into tropics


Grass skirts, sun umbrellas and Hawaiian leis don't make for a typical classroom.

But Study Island isn't a typical classroom.

Two paraprofessionals have transformed Craig Intermediate School's computer lab into a tropical paradise the students seem to enjoy.

"I think they did really good," sixth-grader Robert Baker said. "I like it better than it usually is. It was just kind of bland, a computer lab."

Paraprofessionals Joanne Roberson and Anna Thompson spent two weeks decorating the lab. They finished the project Friday.

"(Students) say it's very warm and inviting," Thompson said. "They say the atmosphere is not as sterile as it used to be."

In the computer lab, and throughout CIS, students use Study Island, an online test-preparation program. The program is organized into progressive assignments covering topics on the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests for grades three to eight.

CIS Principal Don Davidson said the school has been using Study Island for two years and seen success with the program. Students enjoy using it, he said, because it's interactive and they can access the program on the Web anywhere and whenever they would like.

"It's powerful because it's Web-based, and I can tell if they've worked on it over the weekend," Davidson said.

Teachers and administrators can log onto the Study Island page to track students' progress, send messages to students and target areas where students need improvement.

"What's neat about it is kids can challenge themselves and go up and down levels," Davidson said.

All CIS students use the program during class time or during the last period of the day, known as "Interventions." Students can work on subjects teachers have targeted for them.

Since the beginning of the school year, CIS students have answered 79,408 questions, 70 percent of which they completed correctly.

Davidson said he and CIS teachers are pleased with the program. But possible Moffat County School District budget cuts may keep CIS from continuing the program, which costs $2,800 a year.

"I don't want to see Study Island go away," Thompson said. "I see it really helping the kids."

That's why she and Roberson took on the project of decorating the computer lab.

The Study Island company is offering a one-year subscription to the Colorado school that wins a classroom or computer lab decorating contest. The deadline to enter is Thursday.

"I think our chances are good," Davidson said. "It was a school-wide project. It took a lot of effort from the kids, teachers and paraprofessionals. The kids got to participate and they really put their hearts into it."

For more information about Study Island, visit

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