At a glance
About The Cove School
• Number of students: 150
• Google Apps for Education
• “Blended Device Environment” provides 1:1 for each student
• 100% of students receive special education services
The Cove School needed an AT tool with functionality that could support universal access as well as ensuring it suited the needs of the entire student community while providing a user friendly engagement experience.
Texthelp’s Read&Write for Google Chrome successfully contributed to a true UDL environment at The Cove School by being available to students anywhere and anytime leading to increased collaboration and greater independence and motivation to use the software.
The Cove School
Read&Write successfully contributes to a true UDL environment
The Cove School serves children with complex learning disabilities from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Cove is located in Northbrook, Illinois and serves approximately 150 students from over 50 different districts throughout the Chicago area.
In order to serve the students and meet their complex needs on a daily basis, classroom sizes typically consist of no more than 10 students. The students require intensive remediation that is best provided through an integrated service delivery model. The academic program consistently includes a specialized LD teacher and teaching assistant, along with the support of a speech/language pathologist, social worker, reading specialist, occupational therapist, and assistive technology specialist. Often, the teacher and specialists will co-teach. Other times, the specialists themselves will teach the class or work individually with students in small groups outside of the classroom setting. Cove currently has a staff of over 100 individuals, a nearly two to one ratio of students to teachers. Cove is unique in its approach to the “whole child.” All aspects of learning from academic to social and emotional development are addressed when a child enters Cove. As the name suggests, Cove provides a safe haven or shelter or children who have not been able to find a good fit in other academic settings.
Cove School met the needs of its student body and its 1:1 initiative well and with a highly-developed technical environment, but was experiencing problems with its existing literacy software as it didn’t work on Chromebooks. Given the school’s large variation in student age, there were differing degrees of ability to read and write, but there was no catch-all software that met the assistive technology needs of all students. Cove needed a tool with functionality that could support universal access as well as ensuring it suited the needs of the entire student community while providing a user-friendly engagement experience.
Cove had previously used an industry standard piece of software for ten years that was not available on Chromebooks and had limited functionality within Google Apps for Education. The school tested Texthelp’s Read&Write for Google Chrome in the spring of 2014 with a 30-day trial for teachers, and were happy with the fact the software didn’t take anything away from the student experience. There was an insistence on simplicity, as well as ease of use. The ease of use to open up, log in and have the software working quickly and efficiently made teachers and students want to use it – ‘that is a pretty beautiful thing’, said Mark Fijor, Technology Coordinator at the school. With Chromebooks installed with Read&Write for Google Chrome software, students are logged in with the program ready and waiting to be used as needed.
Where the distribution of digital materials and content to students could be clunky and time consuming, with GAFE and specifically Read&Write for Google Chrome, Cove School reenergized its learning methodologies with the software’s ability to take any PDF or scanned document and have it annotated within a matter of minutes, while keeping it inside Google’s ecosystem. As long as there is readable text within a scanned document, Read&Write for Google has the capability to read the documents. This ability to create evolving documents that were adaptable and very easy to use came in handy when students particularly needed focused learning support.