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Wayne County Schools’ reading initiative yields Impressive gains

Wayne County Schools’ reading initiative yields Impressive gains

The Wayne County Board of Education were pleased to learn the results of year-end data
regarding the dramatic gains in student reading levels, at a recent monthly meeting.

Chief Academic Officer Brian Dishman shared documentation of assessment results that
validated encouraging improvements to student reading. The district launched a reading initiative for
grades K-3 focusing on five components of reading in January 2015. Through considerable work by the
teachers and students, Wayne County School elementary students are exiting third grade now on the
average, much better readers than national comparisons.

Looking back to August 2015, the class of 2028 entered kindergarten with only 39.8 percent
meeting the “kindergarten ready” level, according to screening, which is required of every incoming
student in Kentucky.

“This is a very big deal,” remarked Wayne County Superintendent Wayne Roberts. “Our staff has
brought students entering kindergarten that were only about one-third ready for school to now being
two-thirds at or above the national average as they exit their third grade year, according to state and
national tests.”

The board of education and administrators are seeing this hard work validated through a
collection of data from at least three different assessments measuring student success in reading.
Dishman will be introducing the P-5 Reading Continuum that provides guidance for planning instruction
that meets students at their point of need in trainings scheduled for this summer. The goal is to bring 95
percent of the students to meet or exceed the national averages in reading, so they can not just “learn
to read, but read to learn” effectively.

Dishman said, “Reaching struggling readers is an ‘individual’ endeavor.”

“Not only is this reading focus helping younger students, but spring assessments at the Wayne
County Middle School show that students exiting seventh and eighth grade have made major gains in
reading during their time at middle school. These students are reading significantly better than their
peers nationally,” added Dishman.

Dishman attributed the district’s significant progress over the last few years to specialized
reading instruction, specific student monitoring systems, and deliberate and purposeful work being
accomplished by the students and staff. Parental guidance, student mentoring initiatives, and
community help through programs like the Imagination Library have also contributed to these positive
results.

“We just can’t say enough about our teachers’ efforts to bring about this breakthrough for our
students. We appreciate their hard work in becoming specialists. We would also like to thank our
principals that have high expectations and curriculum coordinators that share tools and resources to
focus on specialized instructional techniques,” said Roberts.

Curriculum coaches coordinate their efforts to improve reading strategies at their buildings
through guidance from local academic administrators, as well as cadres and organizations like the
Kentucky Reading Project and the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development. These groups and
other specialists have been hired to consult with local teachers.

In many incidents, collaborating with their own colleagues in the same grade or subject area is
the most valuable way for them to enhance their curriculum. Local teachers are very generous in helping
each other share tips for individual learning strategies. What works for one student, does not necessarily
work for every student. Therefore, teachers are becoming more advanced as they have a better
understanding of physical, mental and/or social barriers to learning students might experience.

The good news is that this specialized approach and desire to be the best, has been contagious
amongst Wayne County’s professional staff. Local teachers have become so proficient with their
classroom strategies in the midst of changing student populations, that they are regularly called upon to
share with teachers outside the district. Teachers from other districts leave their schools to make visit so
they can observe successful classroom techniques in action. Local teachers frequently serve as
presenters at conferences and workshops upon invitation.

 

Barron County educators visited Bell Elementary to learn instructional tips
(L-R) 1st grade Teacher Sheyenne Palmore, 1st grade Teacher Stacy Wyatt, and Elementary Speech Teacher Alicia Allen

Barron County teachers chatted with Elementary Amy East

Reading Specialist Jessica Hancock worked with students in small groups while the visitors observed

Students enjoyed playing a visual vowel game to improve their vocabulary with teacher Amy East

Visiting educators took notes on classrooms techniques

Students realize success in reading group

Bobbie Barrier explains the Real Time Information Data Wall (behind her) on every first and second grade students so teachers can monitor student progress

Reading Recovery Specialist shows visitors the packets of books used to teach different reading levels and how they are organized for easy access

Bell Elementary Media Specialist Nell Boils greeted the visiting teachers and shared her library with them

 

February Board of Education Monthly Meeting included a tour of the specialized reading rooms

Principal Derrick Harris shared the exceptional progress teachers have made in his building regarding Professional Learning Communities

(L-R) Board members Whitney Smith and Donna Blevins listened to teacher Bobbie Barrier explain Reading Recovery Program

(L-R) Bell Elementary Reading Specialist Jessica Hancock shared the reading program with Board Members Larry Muse, Jarrod Chriswell, and Donna Blevins

 

 

 





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