Newspaper Article 2018 10 17

Posted by HENSLEY CONE on 10/17/2018

Dr. Cone’s Perspective. October 17, 2018

Having already talked about college, career, and military readiness as well as numeracy, the final component is Literacy. The ability to read is foundational to success in all other subject areas. The average adult in our country reads on a 7th or 8th Grade Level. We expect our graduates to be more than average. We focused our district goal on 3rd Grade because research has clearly stated that students that are reading on grade level at the end of the 3rd Grade have a significantly increased chance of graduating and being successful in whatever endeavor they choose to pursue: The percentage of 3rd Grade students at or above the college and career readiness level (Meets) on STAAR Reading will increase from 31% to 50% by the end of the 2021 school year. There are incremental improvements for each year leading to 2021: 2019- 37% 2020- 44% 2021- 50%.

We had an in-depth discussion of Literacy and its importance at our monthly Board Meeting last night. I would like to elaborate on a few of the things that we are doing across the district to increase Literacy. Foundationally, we have strived to align the English Language Arts Curriculum from K-12. In this process, we have focused on a Balanced Literacy Approach, Gradual Release Model, Use of Mentor Text, and a significant increase in access to reading materials. Reading materials available in our classrooms and libraries have been greatly increased. Through a partnership with Scholastic Books, we continue to offer free books to our youngest readers over Winter and Summer Breaks. In addition, we started a Summer Reading Bus that travels around the school district to give students summer access to reading materials.

We have focused on individual students in need of literacy intervention with time built into the daily schedule. Our teachers have been provided a Literacy Series Professional Learning by our Academic Services Department to improve the implementation of research-based best practices.

Next week, I will discuss Parental Involvement. Specifically, I want to open up a conversation of how we can move beyond the traditional activities that have been customarily done in almost all districts to something that creates a true partnership to help our students achieve beyond our wildest expectations.