Silverthorne Elementary test scores show most students behind on reading |

Silverthorne Elementary test scores show most students behind on reading

David and Abasai Guzman give their mother a hug before the first day of school at Silverthorne Elementary on Thursday, Aug. 27.

The majority of Silverthorne Elementary students are at least two grade levels behind in reading performance, according to Summit School District testing data.

At a meeting on Dec. 17, the district’s school board unanimously approved Silverthorne Elementary’s Unified Improvement Plan, which aims to address low reading levels among students. According to iReady testing scores used to inform the plan, 64% of students at the school are two or more years behind in reading.

When broken down by grade level, the scores show that older students are the furthest behind in reading. According to the school’s unified improvement plan, 79% of fifth graders at the school are at least two years behind in reading levels.

“Now this is just one piece of data in the picture of time but it is a picture that shows that we have kids who are just not where they need to be in reading,” said principal Louise Wacaser, who presented the school’s improvement plan at the meeting.

While the iReady data shows that students are behind on reading levels, other data indicates that students are improving. According to Wacaser’s presentation, the number of students with significant reading deficiencies has decreased each year since the 2016-2017 school year.

According to the presentation, data shows that students are making improvements year over year. This is based on the Rach Unit, or RIT level, for fourth and fifth grade students.

“Although we’re seeing growth in areas, which tells us we’re doing some of the right things around our (core support) practices, or the things that all students should be experiencing in the class room, we have seen this piece where our older kids are really far behind,” Wacaser said.

Wacaser said one of the root causes for the older students’ low reading levels is inconsistent instruction. The school has a variety of curriculum tools at its disposal, but the way the school has been implementing them hasn’t been consistent.

She added that the school plans to intervene earlier to help identify students who are behind and provide supports for them so they don’t fall further behind.

“When kids (were) behind, we didn’t have a consistent practice on how to determine what the next steps were,” she said.

Wacaser said the school identified three goals for improving reading levels for students: improving phonics instruction; improving core support, or tier one instruction, at all grade levels; and improving intervention practices by giving students who need more help identified goals.

More specifically, the district plans to focus on students across are schools that are struggling more than others, in order to align with the board’s goal of ensuring equity across the district, Ross Morgan, the district’s data and assessment coordinator said.

“We’ve gone through a pretty deep data dive with all the schools to really hone in on saying ’okay, which students are we seeing that are struggling in some particular area. Let’s identify strategies, let’s identify practices that we can maybe test through the rest of the year,” he said.

The board will be reviewing improvement plans for other schools across the district in February.

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