Maurer said Eastern Elementary now has two reading recovery specialists, who can work with eight students at a time. The students are usually the lowest-performing students in their grade level.
Kelly Tuberty, Western Primary School reading specialist, said the testing data “is a big basis that drives what we do,” identifying which kids need what kind of help, and how often they need it.
Wendi Campbell, Western Intermediate reading specialist, said because interventions begin in kindergarten, a possible retention should not come as a surprise to any parent.”
Tuberty said parents are going to have to get involved in teaching children to read, by reading to and with their children, and by encouraging their children to read.
“We absolutely have to have parent help at this point, when learning to read,” she said.
Western Intermediate School Principal Heather Hendrich has “mixed feelings” about the retention part of the program.
“I think high expectations are good. We’re doing everything we feel we can to promote reading. That retention part is huge,” she said.
Taylor Primary Principal Shannon Richards said she has hired a literacy coach to work with teachers to develop the required 90-minute reading instruction block. The school will use the MCLASS reading assessment to determine each child’s reading level and needs, “so teachers can continue to make informed decisions about adjusting instruction according to the needs of individual students.”
Howard Elementary Principal Jeaniene Garrison said in the Northwestern School Corp., existing before- and after-school tutoring programs will continue, and Title I may move from focusing on some students to a school-wide program to work with all students.
Garrison said while developing the programs, compiling and understanding data and training teachers to use the right strategies is time-consuming, “it is all worth it. We are in a competitive world economy, and making sure our children read at grade level and above is necessary. Our future work force depends on us to meet the mandate.”
At Western, Tuberty said while the state mandate puts more pressure on teachers and children, there have been positive outcomes.
“Our teachers are using data and strategies, and understanding their students better, so their instruction matches what they need.”
• Danielle Rush is the Kokomo Tribune education reporter. She can be reached at 765-454-8585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.