New Albany-Plain Local teachers are working with students in kindergarten through third grade to implement Ohio's new Third-Grade Reading Guarantee, part of Ohio Senate Bill 316 that Gov. John Kasich signed into law this past summer.
This school year, third-graders who do not pass the state's standardized reading test can move into fourth grade "if the principal and student's reading teacher agree that the student is prepared academically for fourth grade" or if "the school provides extra help with reading in fourth grade," according to the state law.
But, starting in the 2013-14 school year, third-graders who fail to read at grade level will not be permitted to advance to fourth grade.
Exemptions are included for "students who are learning English and in special education programs," according to the Ohio Department of Education. All other students will be expected to read at a level "slightly below the actual passing score on the state reading test, the Ohio Achievement Assessment," according to the ODE.
A score of 400 on the current OAA is deemed "proficient," according to the ODE website. The required reading level this year is a score of 390 on the OAA; in 2013-14, it will be 392.
The Third-Grade Reading Guarantee required Ohio public school districts to assess the reading skills of all students in kindergarten to third grade by Sept. 30. Parents were notified if a student was not expected to read at grade level by the end of the year.
Neil Gupta, New Albany-Plain Local's director of teaching and learning, said the district assessed 1,425 students and identified 100 students who may not be reading at grade level by the end of the school year.
District officials took a more personal approach in alerting parents by asking them to attend fall parent-teacher conferences. At the conferences, parents had the opportunity to help develop reading plans for their children.
"We wanted to talk them through it," Gupta said.
At the conferences, he said, the teachers could further explain how reading specialists would work with the students and monitor their progress.
"We know a lot of students should be able to pass with intervention this year," Gupta said. "We are doing everything we can to make sure (the students) are on track."
Reading specialists have been working with the students since the assessments were made. Students in special education programs or those learning English are supported by learning coaches, Gupta said.
"This does not require the same intervention for each student," Gupta said. "We are providing special support to each student."