Math can be a tough subject for some elementary students, but at Sunset View Elementary School adding and subtracting may be more understandable with the school's new computer learning center.
Sunset View, a year-round school in the Provo District, recently opened the center as an extension to the regular classroom in partnership with WICAT Computer Systems.Computers are available to students with academic troubles - initially to second-, third- and fourth-graders - said Bryce Porter, computer specialist at Sunset View.
Math will be the focus as well, giving students additional practice to what the teacher teaches them in the classroom. "They get an extension on the computers, each spending half-an-hour a day in the center," he said.
"I think we are going to see a real improvement in the kids. It's an extension of the classroom with the added practice."
The center is located in the school's media center and will accommodate 32 students who can study math, keyboarding skills, reading, language arts and spelling on the system. Testing and word processing can also be done.
"It's phenomenal what they've (WICAT) got to offer," Porter said. "Each grade level has thousands of lessons for students to go through and work on. For the younger grades, there is an auditory human voice that responds."
The learning center program is organized so that teachers can set up the curriculum sequence the way they want, he said. This will augment student learning.
Porter said the school also plans to do some research to see if there are any learning differences between classes that use the computers and those that don't.
Sunset View will serve as a field testing and demonstration site in partnership between the school and WICAT. In return, the school receives one computer free for every four purchased and free updated software until the year 2000.
That will save the school $10,000 to $20,000 a year, Porter said.
"We are thrilled with the partnership with WICAT," said Sunset View Principal Patti Harrington. "They offer state-of-the-art educational software, and we're expecting achievement gains by our students who will be using the program."
A $48,000 grant from the State Office of Education made the partnership possible, she said. The grant calls for primary service to the school's at-risk students (those with academic problems), a business/school partnership, requires volunteers in the center itself and an extension of the school year through intersession time.
The center's ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at 10:30 a.m. May 3 on the front lawn of the school adjacent to the Media Center, 525 S. 16th West. An open house is scheduled that same day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The public is invited.