Archive for Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Reading program closer to reality

Efforts geared to struggling First-graders

July 12, 2000

Monday night, the Tonganoxie school board took the first step in implementing a new reading program for first-grade students.

Reading Recovery, a one-on-one reading program geared toward the needs of an individual student, will target struggling readers. The goal of the program is to bring first-graders' skills to grade level.

Tammie George, administrative assistant at Tonganoxie Elementary School, described the program as very expensive.

"But this reading program has one of the highest success rates," she said.

Studies have shown, she said, that students who have participated in Reading Recovery in the first grade not only catch up with their grade level in reading skills, but when they reach sixth grade, they are still reading at grade level.

The program would cost at most, about $79,000 for implementation during the first year.

However, of that amount, George said she was fairly confident that the school would qualify for a $25,000 state grant and possibly a $10,000 Ronald McDonald grant.

Richard Erickson, superintendent, said the remaining amount would be funded by the district, with $20,000 coming from the general fund and $10,000 from the in-service fund.

George said that first grade instructor Deniece Wakeman would undergo training at Emporia State University to qualify to serve as a Reading Recovery teacher leader.

The estimated cost of implementing the program for the first year includes $15,300 for training and materials, $41,000 for the teacher's salary, $4,511 in teacher benefits, $6,095 for travel, $2,450 to attend Reading Recovery conferences and for membership in the program, and preparation of facilities, which would include adapting a room with one-way glass, sound system and specified furnishings.

Because Wakeman would be the only Reading Recovery teacher leader in the area, she would be able to train teachers who are in nearby districts. The other districts would pay the Tonganoxie school district for this service.

The board voted unanimously to fund the Reading Recovery program for the first year and to evaluate the program after that.

Erickson said he thought the funding would work out.

"We feel that with the grants we've applied for and with help from Emporia State University and from local contributors that we can fund this program through the first year," Erickson said.

"It's hoped that this program will be very successful and that it will continue for many years."

The school plans to hire a first grade teacher to replace Wakeman.

Following an executive session, the board:

Appointed Don Elston as assistant high school football coach.

Accepted the resignations of Kevin Hoppis, Kay Jones and Deborah Strong. Strong, a junior high assistant principal, has accepted the position of junior high school principal in her hometown of Horton.

Approved the hiring of Bob Potter as evening custodian.

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