Walsh Jesuit Continues to Challenge Its Students by Keeping the Bar High

Karl Schaefer

Deb Bok
9th Grade Lead English Teacher

Walsh Jesuit High School
Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Deb teaches ninth grade English at Walsh Jesuit; each of her classes consists of students on many different reading levels. Four years ago, her school acquired iPads for each student; subsequently, she began looking for vocabulary programs that were iPad friendly and individualized for each student.

“We didn’t have a tool dedicated to vocabulary beyond starting each class with a word of the day. Sometimes, we had our students write a silly paragraph using them.”

An influx of students with lower rates of literacy has recently factored into classroom planning, and it’s been a challenge for Deb and her department to accommodate these students into Walsh Jesuit’s high-performing curriculum. Deb found Membean in 2013 and tested it with two of her ninth grade honors classes. She loved it—and soon discovered that the costs for Membean could be covered by state grants that support Ohio private schools. Her principal was very much on board with integrating a program that would help college-bounds kids improve both their standardized test scores and their writing. She found out quickly that Membean also works well with kids who have lower rates of literacy.

“In this era where kids don’t read nearly as much as they used to, Membean is a great method for building vocabulary,” says Deb. She really likes that Membean can enrich and differentiate at any level, which lets Deb meet the needs of all her students.

Teachers meeting together

“Memorizing words from a list one week and forgetting them the next is neither effective nor useful. We want to teach our students how to learn and retain those words, and Membean shows them how to do just that.’

“Despite taking students that present more and more challenges in the classroom in recent years, our department’s standardized test scores have seen only minimal declines—Membean is partly to thank for those encouraging results.” Deb and other teachers have also noticed an elevation in the vocabulary used in students’ essays, particularly in sophomores and juniors who have used Membean for more than a year.

Karl Schaefer

“That’s a Membean word! I hear this all the time—and so do the other teachers.”

Deb loves the student reports that Membean provides because they flag issues and allow her to give individualized attention to students who need it. Membean’s automatic creation of and grading for differentiated assessments is also a big time saver for her; simply put, she does not have the time to create a different assessment for each of her students. Other English skills that Deb teaches require extensive teacher-led evaluation, so Membean’s time-saving assessment creation and grading give her more time to do what she needs to do – all to the great benefit of her students. She is happy to have found a program that understands that “One size doesn’t fit all—ever—and Membean gets that.”

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.