Changes currently, or soon to be, under way include having students more deeply analyze readings through discussion and writing; improving vocabulary instruction; adding teacher training; and restoring schools' focus on reading, which has been diluted by competing initiatives in math and science.Ms. Peabody's words are frank about current difficulties, and that's the essential foundation for building better future results.
The district also will increase interventions for struggling students by requiring teachers to track their progress and change strategies if they're not working.
“The way instruction is being delivered now, it's at a superficial level,” the school district's literacy director, Lue Peabody, said in an interview, noting the changes are among a handful of recommendations provided by a panel of experts who reviewed the school district's practices last year.
In the same spirit, it's important to note a weakness at the end of the article:
Board member Linda Duncan said, “Our proficiency isn't where it needs to be, ” but praised the district for gains in reducing novice learners and for the changes they'd undertaken.Jefferson County has not reduced novice readers. At the elementary level, novice reading performance increased from 2007 to 2008 and increased again from 2008 to 2009. At the middle school level, the same thing happened. At the high school level, novice reading did decline from 2008 to 2009, but the 2009 level is still higher than in 2007.
Interim Performance Report from the Kentucky Department of Education, and more exactly from the reading trend pages available here.
(Yes, the district's Performance Reports for 2006 and early years showed a higher level of novice performance, but those results are not comparable. The Kentucky Core Content Test assessed different content from 1999 to 2006. It also used a different combination of testing items, was scored on a different scale, and had different cut points for separating novice and apprentice performance than the 2007-2008-2009 assessment. The word "novice" is the same, but the word is the only thing that can be validly compared.)