The mission of Advantage Learning is to create, market, and distribute easy-to-use educational materials that make a significant contribution to the development of ELA and vocabulary skills of middle and secondary school students.
  Veterans of over thirty years each in the classroom, Advantage Learning's founders Gary Knuckles and Julia Fromme have collaborated with each other and others since 1997 to produce Word Bank, The Power of Words, a vocabulary development text for students in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District in Santa Maria, California. First as committee members and then as mentor grant recipients, Gary and Julia helped coordinate and support the development and implementation of this campus-wide effort since its inception in 1998.
  Largely in response to Santa Maria High School's first Expected Schoolwide Learning Result (ESLR), which stated that all students would improve their reading comprehension, Word Bank, The Power of Words, was the first collaboratively agreed-upon attempt to address vocabulary and reading comprehension on a schoolwide level. Teachers agreed to use the first fifteen minutes of each first block to implement Word Bank exercises or other reading activities and discovered that the community effort produced significant results on post-tests and standardized testing.
  The professional quality and "user friendliness" of the weekly curriculum and the powerful results from quarterly pre- and post-testing made Word Bank a hit. Several teachers at Santa Maria High School suggested that this curriculum should be made available to other districts or schools that had the similar need of improving student scores in reading and vocabulary. The two other secondary schools in the district began piloting the program on their sites. Most visitors to Santa Maria High School who saw the Word Bank teacher notebook asked how they could get one for their school. Occasionally, a notebook or two disappeared with no explanation. Clearly there was a demand for Word Bank, The Power of Words.
  Thus, Gary and Julia decided to venture forth to produce and market Word Bank, The Power of Words to other interested individuals, departments, schools, or districts. They have been longtime presenters and exhibitors at the California League of Schools conferences and exhibited at the National Middle School Association in 2010.
  To contact either of the authors, e-mail gary@wordbank.cc or julia@wordbank.cc, or call 1-866-WORDBANK (1-866-967-3226).