Chandler, Ariz.-based Learning Bridges, a provider of research-based, online K-12 professional development programs proven to increase teacher effectiveness, has been named a SIG Approved External Service Provider by the Michigan Department of Education.

The designation means that any of the persistently lowest achieving schools in Michigan applying for a Federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) may contract with Learning Bridges to assist in meeting their school reform goals.

“Helping students overcome difficult obstacles to learning isn’t something that can be fixed overnight with a new book or software program,” said Sandra K. Darling, Learning Bridges president. “It requires a systemic, research-based approach that combines proven instructional strategies, assessment vehicles, content, and reporting tools all aligned to Michigan standards and assessments. Many schools simply haven’t the time to research and vet the myriad options. We applaud the Michigan Department of Education’s efforts to help its schools and ensure that those most in need of assistance have grant-funded access to proven, comprehensive solutions.”

The Learning Bridges System was named to Michigan’s approved vendor list after a rigorous review process in which the company demonstrated that its unique, patented approach can help schools achieve meaningful, academic improvement through research-based instruction aligned to Michigan standards and assessments.

Based on years of research, the Learning Bridges System analyzes district or state assessment data against identified groups of standards, such as those that are the focus of school improvement plans, or the lowest performing students in specific grades or groups. It then identifies the specific instructional strategies that will make the most difference in student achievement, and delivers customizable professional development proven to significantly increase academic achievement.

According to a 2009 study by McREL (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning), a nonprofit, nonpartisan education research organization, students whose teachers participate in Learning Bridges courses score 13 to 21 percentile points higher than other students on district and state tests. Further, English language learners, and students from diverse cultures or living in poverty whose teachers participate in Learning Bridges courses achieve five to 17 percentile points higher than their counterparts.

The original list of 108 persistently lowest achieving schools based on federal requirements and other SIG information can be found at,1607,7-140-37818_53083-238570–,00.html. In addition,,1607,7-140–242163–,00.html details the August 16, 2010 list of 92 Persistently Lowest Achieving Schools based on 2008-10 state testing data.

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(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.


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