The Perrysburg school district is well-positioned to adapt to the state's latest mandate on reading scores because its assessment of students already is so vigorous, the school board heard Monday night.
Kadee Anstadt, executive director of teaching and learning for the district, apprised school board members of the Ohio Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which requires schools to evaluate all students in kindergarten through third grade on reading abilities by Sept. 30. For any student demonstrating a need for extra help, the school has 60 days to enact a plan to provide intervention.
"We are already far exceeding those expectations," Ms. Anstadt said.
Changes include how specific assessments must be in the kind of reading issues a student may have, when the testing must be done, creation of 12-week progress monitoring reports for parents, and that students must be held back in the third grade for up to two years if they do not meet state standards, she said.
The retention mandate is not in effect until the 2013-2014 school year, but the testing begins this year in what Ms. Anstadt described as a "heads up" for school districts.
"This isn't a special education problem, this is a general education problem," she said.
By spring 2014, a third-grader must score a minimum of 392 on the Ohio Achievement Test to be considered "on track" in reading. A proficient score is 400 and a basic score is 385, Ms. Anstadt said.
If those standards were already in place, about a dozen students would have been held back in the third grade based on 2011-2012 results, she said, noting that 75 percent of those students were not on any Individualized Education Program.
That state plans to raise the benchmark score by 2 points each year.
"We are going to need additional training for teachers" to provide reading intervention, Ms. Anstadt said.
The district currently has 12 part-time intervention teachers, some split time between reading and math, and one to two reading specialists in every building. Additional reading staff or tutors may need to be hired to meet the mandate, Superintendent Thomas Hosler said.
Mr. Hosler noted that these new mandates were coming at a time when the state was reducing its funding to school districts.
Board members had questions on whether third-grade students must be retained for an entire grade level or just in reading classes, but Ms. Anstadt said not all parts of the mandate were complete because Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 316 into law only in June.
She said she would be bringing recommendations to the board in the coming months on developing a retention policy.
Contact Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-356-8786.