NEW VIENNA — Unsatisfactory gains in reading ability among East Clinton’s youngest students have captured the attention of district educators.
East Clinton Local Schools Superintendent Eric Magee reviewed 2014-15 state report card results at the Tuesday night board of education meeting, which was the first session since the cards were released.
Magee previously told the News Journal that while there are positives for the district in the most recent state report card results, the report card category gauging K through 3 literacy improvement is an area needing elevation.
On Tuesday, Magee said East Clinton has about 100 kindergarten through third grade students who aren’t on track, “which is a huge number,” he added.
One thing that might contribute to the situation, he suggested, are children coming to kindergarten at East Clinton are “less ready for kindergarten than [children in] some of the surrounding areas.”
The superintendent followed up that comment by noting preschool had been added this academic year to New Vienna Elementary School — where the board met Tuesday — “so we’re in hopes that does provide some support and benefit.”
“Bottom line is we have to bring those students up to where they need to be, and that’s going to be one of our focuses moving forward,” Magee told board members.
East Clinton Local Schools Board of Education President Linda Compton said at one juncture, “I just wish there were some kind of resources available in the community to take on this issue as a community, to address and provide some support to parents and families.”
East Clinton Director of Instruction Terri Barton is scheduled to speak at the April 19 board meeting at Sabina Elementary to go over ideas being discussed on how to increase K through 3 literacy abilities in the district.
An existing strategy at New Vienna Elementary, said its Principal Jason Jones, is to assign two teachers to work with students who are not on track.
Those teachers work with small groups of children — five or fewer — on specific skills that correlate with what’s going on in the regular classroom, Jones said. For example, if the classroom teaching is on recognizing letters of the alphabet, the small-group teaching reinforces that.
There now is more of a concerted effort to make sure there is not a disconnect between the classroom instruction and the small-group intervention, said the principal.
At the meeting, two New Vienna Elementary fifth-grade students, Jayden Brown and Shyann Boldman, read their contest-winning Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) essays. The fifth-grade DARE graduation at the school was held March 4.
Jones mentioned that the DARE program “has been around for quite a while. And in the age of state testing, we honestly have lost some of these things from our school program.” But, he added, DARE is an example of something that shouldn’t be cut.
In the past, DARE focused strictly on substance abuse, but now it includes lessons about bullying and decision-making, said Jones.
In other EC news:
• New Vienna Elementary kindergarten students will take a field trip to the Newport Aquarium in April to enhance their life sciences instruction.
• The school board accepted a donation of baseball pants and a number of batting helmets.
• The annual PTO Bingo night fundraiser at New Vienna Elementary will be this Saturday, March 12. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; games start at 6 p.m.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.