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As with many other schools struggling with budgets and staffing, Henderson Valley School found it a challenge to cater for special needs students – particularly those with more complex needs.
With so many other pressures, it is often difficult to provide these learners with the opportunity for extra reinforcement and support. Most then struggle to access the curriculum and start falling further and further behind.
Henderson Valley School found a solution in Steps (earlier software version) and then StepsWeb. The Steps approach provided a research-based, structured method to literacy learning; together with the individualized approach it offered an appropriate tool for dyslexic and other struggling students. The SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) and Kylie Waugh, Teacher Aide, attended a course and started to implement the program.
The introduction of StepsWeb was a simple process for Henderson Valley School. “I love the fact that you put together the online Essential Core Skills course. Being able to do some, come back and do some more as time presented itself was really helpful.” - Kylie
New to her role at the time, Kylie was encouraged to use StepsWeb with a group of struggling students. She felt comfortable with StepsWeb from the very beginning. “...from a teaching perspective...your program was so easy to use and to understand”.
Now seven years and many students later, Kylie is still using StepsWeb every day “it is just as easy to use. In fact, with the constant improvements and additions added, it's actually easier.”
StepsWeb continues to provide Henderson Valley School with the specialised resources it needs to better address the specific learning needs of its students. StepsWeb’s personalised approach to learning, its range of tools and activities, and its supporting workbooks and hands-on activities provide students with variety through a very engaging and effective platform.
“...the books are super easy to work on with the children, and I love the amount of resources you have available, how new activities or games are added to further improve and help the children's learning...and how I can write and record sentences for my students. I often put their names in the sentences because they get such a buzz having the activity be about them.”
Henderson Valley School has been using StepsWeb for several years now. While the initial purpose was to provide specialised assistance to struggling students, the program is now used across the whole school. “When The Learning Staircase made StepsWeb available for the entire school during the first COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown, our children were unbelievably excited…In fact, most of them didn't stop using StepsWeb when they came back to school in between the lockdowns. Even students that wouldn't do any other schoolwork during lockdowns, did StepsWeb, so it was great for us to know they were doing something.” With an extended license and keen adoption by students, Henderson Valley School is eager to continue using StepsWeb across the school.
StepsWeb is a versatile literacy program that can be used in many ways. There are set courses that children can follow, and the program can easily be customised to meet individual needs or support any aspect of a curriculum.
Detailed diagnostic information keeps teachers informed and identifies learners with particular difficulties, such as reading and spelling accuracy, comprehension and phonic knowledge/skills.
StepsWeb is just as applicable to extension learners. A class teacher can easily manage 30 learners on 30 completely different levels – and StepsWeb continually analyses student performance and creates individualized reinforcement for each learner.
Schools can not only access the online activities, but also thousands of printable worksheets and games. In addition, there are workbooks available to support the structured literacy course and a range of hands-on teaching resources.