It all began in a classroom....
KAMICO® Instructional Media, Inc. embarked on a mission in 1988 to develop the most effective instructional and test preparation materials possible and to distribute those materials at prices that made them accessible to all students. Founder and current president Kathy Michael was a classroom teacher when she created the initial instructional and test preparation books and games after finding no products available that met her students' academic needs. Her knowledge of the classroom, children's learning styles, curriculum design and development, and assessment requirements led to the creation of a results-oriented product line that is engaging, challenging, and effective.
Today, KAMICO®'s expansive product line provides educators with the tools to ensure student mastery of state curriculum standards and success on state assessments. These tools are used by educators across the country to assess the academic strengths and weaknesses of students, assist students in mastering curriculum standards determined by their state, build students' test-taking endurance, develop students' test-taking skills, and relieve students' test-taking anxiety. From one Texas classroom, the use of Ms. Michael's materials quickly spread across the state--including through the highly acclaimed Brazosport school district--and then throughout the country as educators who praised these materials shared their students' academic progress and test results with other teachers, principals, and superintendents.
"Once I saw the educator and student needs, I designed the assessment, developmental, and maintenance/retention curriculum. As I created the materials, I used them with my students. While watching the phenomenal academic gains experienced by all students--from disadvantaged and at-risk populations to gifted populations--I began to realize that I had to share my materials with educators across the state and then replicate my methodology for students across the entire country," Ms. Michael states.
Over the past three decades, KAMICO® has grown rapidly to include a staff of talented writers with classroom teaching experience, award-winning illustrators, and expert programmers. This team supports over 350 titles and products with over 23,000 unique high-quality field-tested items.
"As word spread, it became increasingly clear that I could not keep up with the demand for additional curriculum materials. I began to build a staff of fellow educators, artists, programmers, and others who strongly believed in my mission and possessed a driving passion for helping children learn."
Following the overwhelming market acceptance of the company's full suite of books spanning all areas of the curriculum from kindergarten through grade 12, KAMICO® began development of a series of STAAR-aligned and TEKS-based games, activities, and investigations. With each game addressing a specific skill, KAMICO®'s Game Gallery lets educators focus on developing standards in isolation in a fun, rigorous, yet nonthreatening way. The colorful, engaging graphics and challenging game play made these products ideal for every educational situation, including partners, small groups, teams, and entire classes. As educators realized the versatility and efficacy of this product line, its popularity grew so that today it includes over 300 titles—with new ones being added regularly.
"We know that educators' time and resources are precious," says Ms. Michael. "To maximize instruction time, we make sure each of our Game Gallery games is ready to play with all parts included and each comes with clear, concise directions. Students can begin playing right away. The way the games are developed allows for multiple player combinations, so that they can be easily used by groups of various sizes. Also, these games contain supplemental enrichment activities that incorporate critical thinking to extend and enhance student reasoning. The response to Game Galley has been overwhelming, with educators telling us that the games have not only helped their students perform better on STAAR, but that they have also improved student confidence, encouraged collaboration and teamwork, and fostered positive student behavior."
Because of the consistent, driving focus of Ms. Michael and her talented associates, KAMICO® has established a reputation not only for outstanding, integrated curriculum materials, but also for strong customer support, prompt order processing, and immediate product delivery.
"Since many of us are from the classroom, we know how much time can lapse between when a teacher or principal turns in a requisition and when an order is processed through the central office. Therefore, we do everything possible to ship the day we receive an order. Also, we know that most teachers only have access to telephones during short periods between classes or before and after school. When an educator calls with a question or concern, he or she is immediately transferred to a classroom specialist or knowledgeable programmer. Educators are surprised and thrilled to be able to get solid, usable answers fast from experts when they need our help," says Ms. Michael.
KAMICO®'s methodology is based on a three-step cycle: (1) assessing student knowledge, (2) identifying academic skills that have been mastered and those that need additional reinforcement and development, and (3) customizing instruction for individual students, small groups of students, and entire classes of students. Through the years, as schools and school systems have continued to respond to the increasing demands of standards-based reform, KAMICO®'s scientifically based system has been tailored to simplify the work for teachers and administrators.
Today KAMICO® Instructional Media, Inc. leads the industry in standards-based curriculum and standards-based assessment preparation.
"Our mission at KAMICO® is to provide academic support, as well as moral support, to the most important, hardworking, influencers in America—our educators. We will continue to devote our intellectual resources to developing quality materials tuned to curriculum standards being adopted and assessed by states across the country," Ms. Michael says. "Our children are worth nothing less than the absolute best. The benefits we provide them and their educators will be returned to us many times over in benefits to our society. Here at KAMICO®, we are very aware that when we touch the life of a child, we are impacting the future of our country."