PresenceLearning Honors Top Districts for Exemplary Student Progress in Second Annual Awards of Excellence

Students with special needs using online speech therapy from PresenceLearning exceeded national benchmarks for progress during 2014-2015 school year

SAN FRANCISCO, February 23, 2016 – Each day, thousands of students with special needs across 43 states log on to PresenceLearning to receive live, online speech therapy and other special education related services from a large network of fully licensed providers. With consistent access to high-quality remote SLPs, students are progressing toward or achieving their speech therapy goals on their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). To celebrate the successes that school districts are having in meeting students’ needs, PresenceLearning announces the recipients of its 2nd Annual Award of Excellence in recognition of their students’ progress for the 2014-2015 school year.

  • Fossil School District 21j (OR)
  • Stone County School District (MS)
  • Borrego Springs Unified School District (CA)
  • Innovative Education Management (CA)
  • Lake Mills Area School District (WI)
  • North State Charter JPA (CA)
  • Dodge City Unified School District 443 (KS)
  • Ceiba College Preparatory Academy (CA)
  • Los Angeles Unified School District (CA)

Two of these districts, Borrego Springs Unified School District and North State Charter JPA, are second-time PresenceLearning Award of Excellence winners. Each of the award winners will receive a commemorative plaque marking the achievement.

PresenceLearning selected the winners based on two factors:

  • The percentage of students at the district who improved one level or more in spoken language production and spoken language comprehension on the Functional Communication Measures (FCMs) scales during the 2014-15 school year
  • Exemplary partnership between the district and PresenceLearning

The American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA) developed FCMs to describe the different aspects of a patient’s functional communication and swallowing abilities over the course of intervention. The FCM scales are part of ASHA’s National Outcome Measurement System (NOMS) data collection and reporting tool.

“PresenceLearning has been instrumental in the success of our new and innovative Distance Learning Program,” said Brad Sperry, Superintendent of Fossil School District. “The charter school serves approximately 365 distance learning students and some of them need speech-language therapy services, which they receive from PresenceLearning. The students who use online speech therapy have nothing but positive success stories. The rate that students achieve their goals and reach benchmarks so they can exit special education is higher with PresenceLearning than with most brick-and-mortar programs.”

The FCM areas that students in speech therapy most commonly work on include spoken language production, spoken language comprehension and speech sound production. The data PresenceLearning collected across the districts it serves show that students who received online speech therapy beat the national averages set by students who received traditional on-site speech therapy:

  • 66% of telepractice students improved their spoken language production by one level or more compared to 50% of the students in the nationally-normed NOMS data set
  • 69% of telepractice students improved their spoken language comprehension by one level or more during the school year compared to 60% of the students in NOMS data
  • 77% of students improved their speech sound production by one level or more during the school year, compared to 75% of the students in NOMS data

Additionally, the percentage of students receiving online speech therapy who improved these NOMs measurements have increased by 1, 5 and 3% points respectively since the 2013-2014 school year.

“These measurements show that when given access to the right resources, students can and will achieve great things,” said PresenceLearning Co-CEO Clay Whitehead. “The PresenceLearning Award of Excellence not only recognizes the students’ achievements, it applauds the districts’ dedication to serving students – regardless of the obstacles. It is also huge thank you to the teachers, clinicians, administrators and parents who work so hard to see these children succeed.”

About PresenceLearning
PresenceLearning ( is the leading telehealth network of providers of clinical services and assessments to educational organizations. The PresenceLearning care network has provided over one million sessions of live, online speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral interventions and mental health services, diagnostic services and assessments, and early childhood services for children with special needs.