Elkhart County schools plan classes to help readers catch up
Posted: 05/17/2013 at 3:00 pm
By: Marlys Weaver-Stoesz
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Waterford third grade teacher Shelley Kauffman (left) works with a student on reading skills on Dec. 9, 2011. Students in area schools, including Waterford, are preparing for the first cycle of the iRead test. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen)
While a few exemptions are available to some disabled and English language learner students, most students need to pass the test to continue on to fourth-grade reading.
Here are a few details on local school system’s scores, with comments from school leaders who responded to inquiries.
BAUGO (89.6 percent passing)
Jimtown Intermediate, the one Baugo school with third-grade students, had 146 students pass the test, with 17 not passing. The percentage passing was slightly up from the first year of the test in 2012.
CONCORD (82.4 percent)
Of Concord’s third-grade students, 281 passed and 60 did not. Concord did see an overall improvement from last year’s initial passing percentage of 79 percent.
“We are pleased to see improvement,” said Bryan Waltz, Concord’s director of elementary curriculum.
Because of a shortfall in the school’s transportation fund, the school corporation is not offering summer school because of not being able to provide busing to and from schools, so it is offering its intervention for students who didn’t pass during the school day. That work started right after Concord received its results from the state. Those students will then re-take the test the last week of school.
ELKHART (76.5 percent)
Of the 1,037 Elkhart students who took the IREAD-3 in March, 793 passed, while 244 did not.
The school system had a bit of an increase in the overall percentage of passing third-graders from 72 percent last year.
Shawn Hannon, Elkhart’s director of student accounting and program evaluation, said that Elkhart will be offering a “reading skills development” course in June for those who didn’t pass the IREAD-3. The class will also be open to second-grade students reading below their grade level.
Hannon noted that because of Elkhart’s transportation fund shortfall, courses will be offered at Osolo Elementary and Pierre Moran Middle School to all students eligible.
FAIRFIELD (91.2 percent)
Fairfield had 134 of its 147 third-grade students pass, with 13 not passing.
Last year, 89.5 percent of Fairfield’s students passed, showing growth between the two years.
“I think that says that a lot of our targeted interventions are working with students,” Fairfield Superintendent Steve Thalheimer said.
Most of the students who did not pass will likely be eligible for an exemption, but he said that teachers are currently doing extra work with students who did not pass and will offer reading summer courses for those students, along with students in first and second grades reading below their grade level.
He also noted that school staff will continue to work with its English language learner students, which for Fairfield is largely the Amish population.
GOSHEN (76.3 percent)
Goshen had 418 students pass the IREAD-3, with 130 students who did not.
MIDDLEBURY (88.5 percent)
Of the 348 Middlebury third-graders who took the test, 308 passed, with 40 not passing. Middlebury saw a slight dip in its percentage of passing students from last year, but Middlebury Superintendent Jane Allen said that of the 40 who did not pass, 18 are not eligible for an exemption. Those students will be given “intense intervention instruction” through classes that start as soon as the school year ends. Teachers will start by diagnosing exactly what those students’ weaknesses are and working from there, she said.
WA-NEE (91.1 percent)
Wa-Nee had 205 of 225 pass the IREAD-3 this spring, with 20 not passing.
Wa-Nee’s overall percentage of students passing the test was consistent with last year, which Jim Bennett, Wa-Nee’s director of curriculum and instruction, said shows that “kids and teachers continued to do a good job, so we were very pleased.”
Most of the students who did not pass are likely eligible for an exemption. Wa-Nee is holding a summer school reading course for those who didn’t pass with a re-test at the end of June.
PENN-HARRIS-MADISON (92.8 percent)
Of its 755 third-graders who took the test, 701 Penn-Harris-Madison students passed and 54 did not.
Complete scores, with breakdowns of how special education, English language learner and students on free or reduced lunch did on the test, are available at the Indiana Department of Education’s website, www.doe.in.gov.