Reading this, I realized that Pleasant Elementary Staff is doing and has been doing all these things that define “guarantee” and “promise” for many years. The Ohio Department of Education has recognized Pleasant Elementary as a School of Promise. This designation is given to schools in Ohio who are identified, recognized and highlighted as schools that are making substantial progress in ensuring high achievement for all students. We continue this guarantee effort to give our students the best year after year.
In kindergarten through second grade, students still are learning how to read. Third grade is commonly thought of as a transition year where students are now reading to learn. This means that third-grade students are moving from learning letters, letter sounds and decoding words, to being expected to read and comprehend fact-filled texts. Research has proven that students who don’t meet grade-level reading standards by the conclusion of their third grade year are likely to struggle with reading for the remainder of their school and adult life.
The Ohio Department of Education in 2013-14 school year put in place the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee (TGRG). This program was designed to identify students from kindergarten through third grade who are behind in reading.
The guarantee ensures that struggling readers get the support he or she needs to be able to learn and achieve. The ODE provides policy guidance, instructional tools, and resources regarding the Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Each year a reading diagnostic test is given by Sept. 30 to determine each child’s reading level. If not on-track, we begin a reading improvement and monitoring plan (RIMP). The plan addresses each student’s unique reading problems. It will also outline the services that will be provided and supports available to your family. The goal is that your child is reading by the end of third grade. Except for students with special circumstances, students must meet a minimum score on the state reading test to move on to the fourth grade.
In the 2016-17 school year, our third-graders moved from 32 percent passage in the fall to 70 in the spring, an increase of 38 points in three months. The state average was 63 percent. One-hundred percent of our students moved on to the fourth grade in 2015-16 school year and 99 percent moved on to the fourth grade 2016-17 school year.
Our students are headed in the right direction. Pleasant has an exceptional team of teachers, support staff, PTO, community volunteers and students joining us on this journey. It certainly takes a village.
Testing dates for the fall reading (AIR test) are the week of Oct. 23.
Here are things you can do to help prepare your child for a successful school year are:
• Attendance: It is very important that a positive attendance pattern be established and maintained by all students. Set high standards that your child is at school every day and on time.
• Classwork and homework: Discuss your child’s day every day and be certain to maintain a good line of communication with his/her teachers and principal. Be sure all homework is completed accurately and on time. Don’t wait until the end of the grading period to discover how your child is doing.
• Read at home: One of the most important skills young readers need is vocabulary acquisition. Teachers and principals encourage parents to read aloud with their children to develop vocabulary and reading skills. We encourage parents to spend time each day reading.
• Good nutrition and proper rest: A child running on empty from lack of food and/or sleep, cannot positively succeed. A good night’s rest and good breakfast are important.
• Encourage your child to be confident in his or her own abilities.
A guarantee is to promise or to make a binding agreement. I can guarantee that Pleasant Elementary is right here with you and your child. We are working diligently, providing research-based reading interventions to meet students' specific reading difficulties, and providing enrichment for students who have scored at or above grade level.
Every child matters. Your child matters. Together, we as a school and you as parents who know your child better than anyone, can make a binding agreement. This agreement is one to help your child grow and succeed - both during his or her time at Pleasant and in life! Let’s work together to make this promise a guarantee for the lifelong success of your child.
Local columnist V. Janice Smith is the Pleasant Elementary principal.