Antioch school district shares what’s being done to help third graders reading below grade level

Source: California Reading Coalition

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: The email received by the Herald from AUSD Associate Superintendent, Educational Services,  Christine Ibarra, on Thursday, Sept. 30 was missed until, yesterday. She responded to questions sent on Monday, Sept. 27 for the article entitled, “Statewide report shows 76% of Antioch third graders reading below grade level for 2017-18, 2018-19 school years.” While they’ve been added to the article, it’s best they be published separately. Apologies to Ms. Ibarra, district staff and our readers for the oversight. Allen Payton

9/30/21 UPDATE: AUSD Responds – Following are the Herald’s questions and the answers from Associate Superintendent Christine Ibarra:

Q – What is being done to rectify this situation? What ideas, programs, or suggestions have any of the trustees proposed during their terms on the board? Have any been approved and implemented? If so, what are the results? If so or if not, what do you propose be done?

A – AUSD is heavily invested in a computer adaptive instructional program known as iReady.  All students in grades K-8th participate in this research-based program.  This program provides three diagnostic assessments per year and produces individualized placement levels in reading.  The students then engage in a pathway of instruction that is both done within the computerized program itself and supported by intervention prep teachers on campuses with direct instruction that is tailored to the individual levels and needs of each student.  Since this is our third year utilizing this program, we have data that shows significant growth in students’ reading levels and abilities at all grade levels even during distance learning.

Furthermore, AUSD has provided every elementary school with a full-time intervention teacher who works with small groups providing intentional and targeted support in areas of need, specifically in fluency skills and reading comprehension. These intervention teachers utilize a wide array of differentiation strategies and support to ensure their time with student groups is maximized for the greatest impact on student growth and achievement.

In addition, AUSD has an MOU with UC Berkeley’s California Reading and Literacy Project for the 2021-2022 school year.  This partnership provides professional learning for all teachers TK-6th grade specifically focused on developing teachers’ content knowledge and expanding their teaching strategies guided by the state-adopted frameworks, content standards, and the science of reading.

Read 180 is a research-based program being reintroduced to AUSD intended for secondary students who are performing two or more years behind grade level in Reading.

AUSD is also heavily invested in the AVID programming and professional learning community which has provided hundreds of teachers across all grade levels with outstanding workshops focused on critical reading strategies across content areas so that all teachers have tools and supports to support reading levels at any grade level.  This summer alone, we had 50 teachers attend virtually.

The iReady program, Read 180, the AVID program, and the UC Berkeley partnership are Board approved contracts and the intervention teaching positions were board approved via the LCAP and Expanded Learning Opportunities grant.

Q – Since education begins at home, what is being done to work with the parents or guardians of the students reading below grade level to help them?

A – We provided ongoing trainings and support during school closures remotely in both English and Spanish. The parent trainings were not only for technology support efforts but were designed to also increase parents’ capacity to support their students at home and in their academics.  iReady specifically provided parent institutes that were widely attended virtually.  Since returning to in-person learning, we have worked closely with our District English Language Advisory Committees (DELAC) as well as our Parent Advisory Committees (PACs) and Site Councils from all schools across the district to assess what parents need and are interested in engaging in to support their students’ academic achievement.  Most, if not all of our elementary and middle schools, host parent training nights focused on both literacy and mathematics and are working to determine how to continue that effort with COVID-19 protocols in place this year.

Q – For the Hispanic/Latino students, is it a matter of Spanish being the primary language at home? How many ESL students are there in the district, please?

A – AUSD currently serves 2,687 English Learners (EL) and has over 450 students being tested to determine their English Learner status as of today.  Although Spanish is the largest group of English Learners’ population in AUSD, we have over 30 different languages spoken within our EL population.

California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) English Learning Arts AUSD vs Rocketship Delta Prep 2018-19. Source: CAASPP

Q – Have there been any efforts to work with Rocketship Delta Prep to learn what their best practices are which, according to their reports, show significant advancement among their students and in just one school year, and implement them in district schools?

A – The AUSD Educational Services department meets annually with Rocketship and reviews their programming efforts as required. Best practices are shared and exchanged during those meetings.  Since we have not had summative state data results in the last two years, the conversation has not been directly about the improvement of test scores.  In the 2019 CAASPP, AUSD students performed higher in English Language Arts.

Q – On whom does the responsibility lay for this, the board, superintendent, principals, teachers and/or parents?

Are there subject matters being taught in the classroom that aren’t required that take time away from focusing on reading skills?

A – Educating students and ensuring students have all the supports and opportunities they deserve and require is a collective responsibility.  When we can work together to that end, we will see students reach their full potential.

the attachments to this post:

CAASPP ELA AUSD vs Rocketship 2018-19

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