Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality Background and Findings: Four Corners Elementary School “Reading We Advance” Program

, 2011-12
Introduction: The “Leyendo Avanzamos” Program (Reading We Advance) was a collaboration between the Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality (SKCE) and Four Corners Elementary School staff. The program was designed as a 6week intervention program for Hispanic students with limited English proficiency who were significantly below grade level in reading. We targeted students, recommended by classroom teachers, who were at high risk of falling further behind academically and worked to reverse this downward trend by increasing their reading proficiency so they are aligned with their peers who are at grade level. The first program cohort started in September, targeting a group of 14 second grade students who were 1-2 years below grade level. We then targeted 19 first graders who were showing little progress in reading. After that, the program targeted the third cohort of 24 Kindergarten students who showed a significant gap in the basic reading elements such as letter recognition and being able to read an emergent reading level book. Our program is in Spanish. Research demonstrates building literacy skills in a child’s first language is the most effective method to solidify learning and allows them to transfer skills into English as they progress academically. The end result is strong literacy skills in both languages. From September 2011 to May 2012 we worked closely with 79 K-2 students by providing weekly classes and home visits as needed. Each cohort of students attended the 6-week program (with the exception of Kindergarteners who attended a 9-week program). After that, families had the choice to continue the program by attending classes with the next cohort of families for another 6 weeks. As a reference, according to the EDL literacy assessments, it is important to clarify that each grade has several reading levels and measurements to gauge adequate progress. Kindergarten has four reading levels (A, 1, 2, 3), first grade has seven (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16,), and second grade has four (18, 20, 24, 28). By the end of second grade students should be at reading level 28, first grade at level 16, and kindergarten at level 3. Our data is based on the sample of 57 students who showed an attendance of 60% or more. They are considered the active students. At the end of May, all K-2 students and their families had a closure event with certificates, dances, and cultural performances. The event was a big celebration of the hard work, dedication, and partnership among teachers, community organizers, parents, and students. Kindergarten data: At the end of the year, 58% of the 24 active students showed excellent standing by being at or above grade level and 42% at good standing by being one reading level below. Data showed that when only considering the active students, there were no students below our target range of within one level. Of the 24 active students, 100% of the students showed academic progress. First grade data: At the end of the year, 58% of the 19 active students showed excellent standing by being at or above grade level and 32% at good standing by being one reading level below. Data showed that considering just the active students, only 10% of the students were significantly below grade level in reading. This 10% was compromised of students who were already under an individualized educational program (IEP) or in the process of entering one. Of the 19 active students, 100% of the students showed academic progress. Second grade data: At the end of the year, 14% of the 14 active students showed excellent standing by being at or above grade level and 7% at good standing by being one reading level below. 100% of the students in the
1

second grade program were at intensive intervention status because their achievement gaps encompassed more than just reading levels and were actually a complete 1-2 academic year gap. Despite this huge gap we were able to get 21% of the students at or close to grade level (1 reading level below). The other 79% was made up of students who were already under an individualized educational program (IEP), in process of getting into one, or with a behavior personal plan, they were new comers, and so behind on reading levels. Of the 14 active students, 100% of them showed academic progress. Attendance: The attendance is rated according to the number of families who attended more than 60% of the classes (these are the active students) and the students who attended less than 60% (these are the inactive students). 72% of the 79 registered students attended classes regularly and were considered active (57 students). The other 28% (22 students), instead of attending classes, got regular home visits because of scheduling conflicts due to employment inflexibility. Other families dropped out the program because they went to Mexico for a long period of time or family issues. Facilitators from the Coalition catered their home visits to the families’ needs and availability.

Progress Summary by Comparing Pre-Test and Post-Tests
On average, Kindergarteners doubled their initial reading level by the end of the program. First and second graders improved five reading levels on average. There were 57 students.

Summary:
1.

Kindergarten, first, and second grade together, 77% of the 57 active students concluded the
program with good or excellent reading standing.

2. Kindergarten, first grade together, 95% of the 43 active students concluded the program with good or excellent reading standing. 3. Kindergarten grade alone, 100% of the 24 active students concluded the program with good or excellent reading standing. 4. First grade alone, 90% of the 19 active students concluded the program with good or excellent reading standing. 5. Second grade alone, 21% of the 14 active students concluded the program with good or excellent reading standing (due to starting 1-2 years below grade level).

Parent End of the Year Survey Findings
The parents at the conclusion of the program answered the following questions. Here is a summary of the most
common answers: 1. When your child started the course: What did he/she already know about reading? 27 answered surveys Vowels and a couple letters and sounds: 17 = 63% 2. After taking the course: What does your child now know about reading? 27 answered surveys 2

Knows how to read: 15 = 55.6% 3. When your child started the course: What did you as a parent already know about supporting her/him in reading? 24 answered surveys a. I read to my child frequently: 12 = 50% b. I would help my child to homework: 8 = 33.3% c. I knew nothing: 4 = 16.7% 4. After taking the course: What new information have you learned as a parent to support your child in reading? 16 answered surveys (many responses included more than one of the following categories) a. Strategies to make reading more engaging (games, ask questions, flashcards): 11 =68.8% b. Read with expression: 3 = 18.75% 5. What did you like the most about the course? 27 answered surveys (many responses included more than one of the following categories) a. Support of the teachers: 15 = 55.6% b. It gives the parents the tools to be the teachers: 11 = 40.7% 6. What could be improved in the course? 16 answered surveys a. Motivate parents to attend session and participate more: 5 = 31.25% b. The course could be longer or sessions could be more frequent: 5 = 31.25%

CONCLUSION AND FINDINGS:
 The program paid off: By taking into consideration that 77% of the targeted students concluded the intervention program with good or excellent reading standing, we can say that the partnership among teachers, principal, community organizers, and parents really paid off. Kindergarten and first grade showed the more significant gains, and that places them at 100% and 90% respectively. Awareness for teachers: It gave teachers awareness of how their current teaching practices could speed their students’ reading progress or just keep them static in the same reading level. Support at home: Parents realized that the support that they were providing to their children at home was really relevant to their children’s success, even if they did not have the strongest academic foundation; some parents were not literate and they learned to read along with their children. Community support is needed: The community organizers (facilitators from the Coalition) recognized how crucial their participation was as co-instructors during the class, which allowed them to have the knowledge about the families to personalize the follow-up home visits. Clear Expectations: For the students and their families the message was clear: Here is the support for your child to be successful and failure is not an option. Those students on IEP or with behavior challenges were seen as a “work in progress”, but not failure because 100% of the students showed some degree of progress toward their reading standards.

 

3

A differentiated intervention for second graders is urgently needed: It was very clear that second graders need a different intervention other than the 6 weeks because, as it was stated before, their achievement gaps encompassed more than just reading levels and were actually a complete 1-2 academic year gap. This group was made up of students who were already under an individualized educational program (IEP), in process of getting into one. Some of them were just newcomers or with a personal behavior plan, and so behind on reading levels due to family mobility, lack of family’s knowledge of how to support its child at home, or due to inconsistent instructional programs. It is very evident that this group of students and families need more than just a 6-weeks intervention. It is impossible to think that a 6-week program is going to make up all the reading skills that should take place in a 3-year period. As more time passes it is more difficult to catch up to get at grade level: We need to urge parents, teachers, principals and administrators to not wait until the reading gap is so big that it requires an intervention that needs a big investment of resources, time and strategies in order to bring the student at grade reading level. We need to work hard to get and keep kids on grade level in Kinder and first grades. A differentiated special education intervention plan is needed: Besides the regular and differentiated intervention needed for second graders, there is another differentiated intervention needed targeting directly special education students who need a different approach. Perhaps we can pilot an intervention program with the special education department in the district by joining resources, ideas, and strategies in order to better meet students’ needs.

Thinking Ahead: 1. Combine cohorts groups: Perhaps we could combine first and second grades to save resources, time and get a bigger number of participants. 2. Present the program at once to all groups: and give first materials to all the target groups at once. So, the groups who need to wait for their turn can start working right away without waiting and that can represent more gains in children’s reading abilities. It can also save us time and money. 3. Create a network of collaboration among parents by helping each other collaborate on how to work at home with their children. Groups of 2-3 parents can get together on their own schedule to share techniques, ideas and ways to work with their children. 4. Bring Volunteers to the program: Perhaps students’ older siblings to help instructors, parents, and students. 5. Modify the curriculum for Special Education students who are in IEP or with specific behavior needs. 6. Offer tutoring during school hours to those students whose parents lack involvement, are on IEP’s, or are not making progress. 7. Create a differentiated intervention program for second graders; perhaps a 6-month program with frequent home visits and tutoring during school until the students and parent involvement is stabilized and can continue independently with a gradual release of responsibility.

4

Four Corners “Leyendo Avanzamos”: Kindergarten
End of the Year Progress Report

Academic Level at the End of the Year:
24 Active Students

29%

42%

Close to grade level (one level below) At grade level Above grade level

29%

Kindergarten Academic Standing at the End of the Year
120 Pecentaeg of Students 100 80 60 40 20 0 Excellent Standing Good Standing Academic Standing Show Progress

5

Four Corners “Leyendo Avanzamos”: First Grade
End of the Year Progress Report

Academic Level at the End of the Year:
19 Active Students

10% 32%

Close to grade level (one level below) At grade level Below Grade Level (IEP's)

58%

First Grade Academic Standing at the End of the Year
120 Percentage of Students 100 80 60 40 20 0 Excellent Standing Good Standing Work in Progress Show Progress

Academic Standing

6

Four Corners “Leyendo Avanzamos”: Second Grade Intensive Intervention Group
End of the Year Progress Report

Academic Level at the End of the Year:
14 Active Students

7% 14%
Close to grade level (1 level below) At Grade level Below grade level (IEP's or behavior problems)

79%

Academic Standing at the End of the Year
120 100 Percentage of Students 80 60 40 20 0 Excellent Standing Good Standing Work in Progress Show Progress

Academic Standing

7

Four Corners “Leyendo Avanzamos”: Progress Summary

Comparison Chart: EDL Pre & Post Test by Grade
16

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

0 Avg. Pre-Test Score Avg. Post-Test Score

EDL Kindergarten 1.2 3

EDL First Grade 3.4 14.3

EDL Second Grade 5.8 14.8

8

Four Corners Overall Academic Level (K-2)

23%

12%

Above grade level At grade level

35% 30%

Close to grade level Below grade level

Good or Excellent Standing: 77%

9

Four Corners “Leyendo Avanzamos”: Overall Attendance 6 Weeks
Active Students vs. Inactive Students K-2

Attendance of K-2 Students:
79 Registered Students

28%
72%

Active Students: attended more than 60% Inactive Students: Attended less than 60%

10

Students at Good or Excellent Reading Standing
Percentage of Active Students at Good or Excellent Reading Standing 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Overall Kinder + First Grade Grade First Grade Second Grade

11

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful