Fewer Colorado students with reading deficiencies
The state’s Department of Education recent legislative report shows that, based on data collected in 2015, fewer students were identified as having significant reading deficiency than the prior year, and the improved results are credited to the READ Act in its third year of implementation.
In 2015, 13.8 percent of all K-3 students in Colorado were identified as having a reading deficiency — about a 3-percent decrease since the READ Act was put into place. It’s the second consecutive year that the percentage of students identified as having a deficiency has declined.
The READ Act helps ensure every student in the state reads at a proficient level by the third grade. Provisions of the policy promote early identification of reading difficulties and quick, effective intervention to close reading gaps.
“We know that early literacy is a key component of academic and professional success,” Rich Crandall, the state’s education commissioner, said in a statement. “By decreasing the number of students identified as at-risk and moving more students toward grade-level proficiency, Colorado can increase student achievement here at home, while also serving as a national model for improving literacy and educational success for all children.”
Overall, each cohort has seen year-to-year improvement since the READ Act was implemented in 2013. The most significant results have occurred between first and second grade. In addition, students who remained in the same school district from first to third grade were more likely to see gains.
The 2013 cohort included 13,145 first-graders who were identified as having a reading deficiency. As of 2015, the cohort saw a 54-percent reduction rate in these deficiencies for those who remained in the same school district.
To learn more about the READ Act or obtain a full report, visit: www.cde.state.co.us/coloradliteracty.
In other state board of education news from its regular monthly meeting, the board unanimously approved staff recommendation for $3 million in early literacy grants to 22 elementary school throughout Colorado.
On top of that, approximately $1 million of the total $4 million allocated for these early literacy grants will also be provided to 22 schools that received these awards last year to ensure sustainability of their programs. These grants may be used to purchase instructional materials, consulting from literacy experts, coaching, professional development and assessment needs.
The state board also directed staff to begin public reporting of three educator effectiveness metrics later this year. Data on all 100 educator effectiveness metrics gathered and analyzed by the state will continue to be provided to districts, while only these three criteria will be publicly reported.
These three metrics will focus on: 1) the increase in educator effectiveness, 2) correlations between educators’ performance evaluation ratings and student performance outcomes and 3) equitable distribution of effective educators.
Finally, rules were adopted for bullying prevention and with it an education grant program. The board adopted the proposed anti-bullying rules created by the legislature in 2011, but rules were not required until funding was available.
Proposition BB authorized funding from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund starting in January 2016. The grant program will allow the Department of Education to award schools and groups of schools one-to-three-year grants to employ evidence-based bullying prevention programs.
Peak School rafting trip
The Peak School, an independent school presently serving sixth through 11th grade, will send 13 9th- and 10th-graders on a six-day long rafting adventure this week as part of its cornerstone Outdoor Education curriculum.
Participating students will depart from Peak on Monday, May 16, and head to Sand Wash, Utah, where they will camp one night and meet up with guides from Adventure Bound Rafting Company. They will then spend the next five days rafting the Desolation Canyon section of the Green River in eastern Utah.
During the trip, students will learn aspects of river safety, how to use precautionary equipment, river etiquette, resource management, and general information pertaining to geology and history of the surrounding area and governing agencies. Peak’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum will also be an emphasis while away on the trip.
Providing students a chance to environmental education fieldwork, the Peak School’s Outdoor Education program is a keystone of the private program’s course of study. The goal of the approach is to offer attendees the opportunity to challenge themselves, work as a team, and to develop leadership skills.
For more information about Peak, visit its website: www.thepeakschool.education.
Compiled by Kevin Fixler
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