Reynoldsburg News

Third-Grade Reading Guarantee

Summer program aims to get students 'on track'

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The Reynoldsburg school district is working to stay "on track" with the state's Third-Grade Reading Guarantee, inviting 18 students at risk of retention to attend a new Summer Learning Program.

At the end of that program, students who pass the state assessment tests will go on to fourth grade, but those who do not must be retained in third grade, according to a new state law.

The retained students will get another chance to pass the test, however, and some could be promoted to fourth grade during the second semester of school, said Jana Alig, the district's director of accountability and school improvement.

When 512 Reynoldsburg third-graders were tested in mid-May, 471 students met the state benchmark score.

Alig said 23 of the 41 students who did not meet the benchmark are exempted because of special needs or scored high enough when they took the test in the fall to be sent on to fourth grade.

The remaining 18 students have been invited to participate in "a rigorous literacy-focused summer program," beginning July 7, Alig said.

"Mr. Michael Shipton will be coordinating the summer literacy learning at Taylor Road Elementary School," she said.

She said the program runs from 8 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, July 7-Aug. 1 at Taylor Road Elementary, with bus transportation provided to and from the school.

Students receive breakfast, then do literacy activities that include vocabulary exercises, group reading lessons, writing, online reading lessons and physical activities.

"All students who were second- and third-graders and marked as not on track in reading during the 2013-14 school year will be invited to attend," Alig said.

The district began responding to Senate Bill 316, the new Ohio law that requires that third-graders be retained if they don't pass state reading assessments, last September.

Students in kindergarten through third grade were assessed for reading skills and identified as "on track" or "not on track," based on state benchmark scores. Individual reading and monitoring plans were developed for all those students, said Tricia Moore, director of shared services and partnerships.

Moore said all of the 18 students who did not meet the reading benchmark scores in last month's tests had been previously identified as not on track.

"All were receiving personalized intervention to help build their reading skills," she said. "Three or four of those students had already been identified for retention, regardless of their reading scores."

At the conclusion of the summer literacy program, the students will take an approved alternative reading assessment.

"For us, it is the TerraNova reading assessment," Moore said. "That will determine if they can move on to fourth grade."

She said the students who do not score high enough to pass will repeat third grade, with some considerations.

"Any student we believe is ready for some fourth-grade material will be exposed to it, along with fourth-graders, while also building their reading skills toward the benchmark," she said. "Any student that meets the benchmark in the fall administration of the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA) will be considered for promotion to fourth grade in the second semester."

She said all Reynoldsburg students struggling with reading will have a personalized monitoring and intervention plan.

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